Ultimate X-Men #66


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Ultimate X-Men #66


  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Tom Raney
  • Inks: Scott Hanna
  • Colors: Gina Going-Raney
  • Story Title: Date Night, Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Jan 11, 2006

A new creative team takes over as the X-Men are coming off a particularly trying chapter in their collective young lives.

This issue is quite possibly the most well-developed piece of compressed storytelling I’ve read in recent years. There is just so much going on in these pages that it would be exhaustive to cover them all. The way the story is developed, it should be terribly confusing…but it isn’t. There are no less than seven different subplots developing here: Storm and Wolverine go play pool at a bar; Cyclops and Jean go to the movies; Kitty goes to the city to hang out and fight crime with Spidey; Nightcrawler and Colossus visit Dazzler in the hospital; Xavier has a dinner meeting with Lilandra of the Shi’ar (Ultimate debut); Iceman and Rogue stay at the mansion alone; and there is a new mystery character who finds himself in quite a predicament. Each of these little stories, while basically presented in snippets of time, offer some new and exciting angles for the characters.

Despite all that is going on, Kirkman handles each situation deftly with just the right touch of minimalism. The transition/incorporation of other Ultimate events and past storylines is very smooth. In particular, Iceman and Rogue develop a burgeoning physical relationship. Rogue possessing deadly life-draining powers kept her from such an experience with anyone before, but Kirkman builds a bond for her based on the happenings of the Ultimate X-Men Annual #1. Also noteworthy is Jean’s and Scott’s trip to the movies. Jean is acting a little more aggressive than usual toward the man she loves, which harkens to the somewhat ominous cover of the book.

The art on this book is lacking. One panel, Tom Raney has clean, even stunning linework and the next, his anatomy (usually the arms or face) is just off. Rogue and Bobby in particular look like pre-adolescents in spots and developed teens in others. Scott Hanna and Gina Going-Raney bring worthy performances to the table, but they can only overcome so much. Raney doesn’t make the story unreadable by any stretch, but he certainly makes the visuals more distracting than they should be.

Art aside, this really is one of the best issues of Ultimate X-Men in a long time…and this is coming from a guy that enjoyed the majority of Vaughan’s and Bendis’ (and parts of Millar’s) runs on the title. What stands out most is that Kirkman manages to bring such a diverse cast together to form an interesting and coherent story. There are multiple incorporations of little things that could potentially become big stories for the book. Based on the quality of writing in this issue, I’ll be around to see them.

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