Overview

Ultimate X-Men #71

Review

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Ultimate X-Men #71

Credits

  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Ben Oliver
  • Inks: Jonathan Glapion
  • Colors: Jason Keith
  • Story Title: Phoenix? Part 3
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 14, 2006

Lilandra Neramani encounters Jean Grey’s psychic dark side while the X-Men battle the Brotherhood. Also, Ultimate Nightcrawler is…a bigot?!

Robert Kirkman’s modernization of the Phoenix mythos has been able to do what the latest X-Men film failed to: combine Claremont’s classic concept with a more down-to-earth scenario involving some duplicitous dealings from none other than Professor Xavier. In the final installment of the story, Jean Grey, after spending all too long with the questions, pokes, and prods of the Church of Shi’ar Enlightenment, gets very angry and things spiral to an eerie and foreboding head. Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men along with their newest member, the mysterious Magician, take out the Brotherhood who attacked Emma Frost’s Academy of Tomorrow during a dance…for no apparent reason. After the action simmers down, the back-story involving Nightcrawler’s homophobia takes its next natural step.

Kirkman picked up the writing chores of this Ultimate book after some skilled and perhaps more well-known within the field creators; but his style has only added to the grandiose aura of the X-Men’s newest collection of adventures. With his clear characterization and voice, all of the people he writes are distinct individuals. Nightcrawler is a confused youth trapped by his religion, Colossus is a proud homosexual man, and Iceman and Rogue are young lovers with little care for tomorrow and no worries for today—except Rogue’s current situation wherein she is clearly sharing a body with everyone’s favorite Cajun. Finally, Jean Grey is…well…she’s crazy. Several of the reasons for her current lack of mental solidity are given away in this issue which has been built up, seemingly, to meticulously set the stage for bigger and more exciting things.

Right now, Ben Oliver’s pencils fit well with the stories, which recently have been more psychological and less adventure oriented. The lines are fine and simple so as to make the characters seem almost real. Blob’s comical fatness hasn’t been done better in awhile and the blank looks on the Madrox clones are almost enough to scare a man. Though this simple style may work well on the people that inhabit the tales, one complaint can and should be noted. The backgrounds suffer. They are sparse at best and where a city scene would greatly add to the overall feel of the story, we are graced with blank space.

All things said, however, "Phoenix?" has been an interesting story with an exciting ending, drawn well, if a bit sparsely at times. In addition, the dangling plot lines planted throughout Kirkman’s run are enough to keep me salivating for more, and, I would assume, any serious X or Ultimate-fan.

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