Overview

Ultimate X-Men #54

Review

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Ultimate X-Men #54

Credits

  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Stuart Immonen
  • Inks: Wade von Grawbadger w/Scott Koblish
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: Longshot - Part 1 (of 3)
  • Price: $2.25
  • Release Date: Jan 5, 2005

The mutant Longshot makes his Ultimate debut, and the X-team assembles to get him out of harm’s way.

On a small jungle island off the shores of Genosha, a young mutant is hunted on camera ala The Running Man. His captor and game show "host," the obese albino, Mojo, does it not so much out of hatred for mutants, but for ratings. The X-Men catch wind of this via the internet and decide something must be done about it. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Storm are nowhere to be seen as a result of Rogue… going rogue with Gambit.

In a very short time, Brian K. Vaughan has managed to make some impressive progress with Ultimate X-Men. For starters, he has the uncanny (pun intended) ability to incorporate an immense cast of characters within the confines of only twenty-two pages without making it seem forced. He’s brought in new members and villains and used them in interesting and (slightly) fresh ways as well. But perhaps most notably, he has just about made me forget that a likewise extraordinary duo of fellows by the surnames of Millar and Bendis used to write this book… simply because he’s done it better than they.

As usual, the Vaughan brand of dialogue is crisp, quick, witty and often informative in a general sense. We get an insightful look at this incarnation of Colossus as a possibly cavalier, no-nonsense go-getter who questions authority. Even more discerning is the look at this Charles Xavier. We’ve seen his strength of will before, but his unflinching leadership qualities have been passed over until his little confrontation with Colossus. It’s quite refreshing because he was starting to look more like a colleague of the X-Men than a mentor for awhile.

Stuart Immonen is a gifted storyteller, and his style mixes well with the previous artists of the book (the Kuberts specifically). There were a few instances where he did not quite seem up to his usual standards with the pencils, but the impeccable storytelling ability is always there. As on Ultimate Fantastic Four, he is inked by Wade von Grawbadger (with Scott Koblish… whatever that means), and the two of them compliment each other quite well. And, as always, a competent colorist bears the burden of going unnoticed, which is what Ponsor does with his mostly dark contribution.

The slick pacing of this book brings a lot to the table and does so satisfyingly. We have thus far seen little of Longshot (which is a name he hasn’t even been dubbed yet), but we get a sense that he is a formidable youngster who survives this twisted game of Mojo’s on more than some degree of luck. It will be interesting indeed to see where his future status in this book leads. If not for Astonishing, this would be the X-book of the moment… especially due to Wolverine’s merciful absence.

-Kert McAfee

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