Ultimate X-Men #74


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Ultimate X-Men #74


  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Tom Raney
  • Inks: Scott Hanna
  • Colors: Gina Going
  • Story Title: Magical: Conclusion
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 13, 2006

Magician has nearly all the X-Men cornered, but Jean Grey, possessing the power of a mythical entity called the Phoenix, has come to her friends’ aid.

It turns out that Magician wasn’t as innocent as he led on. Sure, his reality-bending powers are new to him, and he has been able to harness them very effectively in favor of his new team, but those same powers somehow wanted him to be an X-Man. Then, backed into a corner by those who don’t trust his powers or intentions, Magician turned on his team. At first it appeared as though the X-Men were in desperate trouble, but resident powerhouse/crazy person Jean Grey--with her newfound powers of the Phoenix--arrives just in time for a smackdown. And with a scene reminiscent of X-Men 3: The Last Stand’s finale climax, Wolverine ends the fight.

Robert Kirkman started his run so well. His ability to balance several storylines at once was engaging in the "Date Night" arc--first issue especially. Since then the quality of writing on this book has degraded to the point that it is almost unreadable. At first the stories were just kind of getting boring, but with this issue there were two scenes, including the aforementioned Wolverine/Last Stand scene that seemed like they were cribbed. The Magician, with his inability to control his reality-altering powers that basically made him power-mad, harkened to Scarlet Witch’s recent problems with controlling reality-altering Chaos Magic (as seen in fan favorite--Avengers: Disassembled [yes, that’s sarcasm], and later House of M). And the sudden recent developments in Nightcrawler’s fractured psyche are the proverbial "nail in the coffin" for me as far as picking up this title in the future.

If there is one bright spot in this book right now, it is the art. Tom Raney is credited this issue with doing the breakdowns, and Scott Hanna the finishes. From the appearance of the final product, it doesn’t really affect the book much to know this. Raney’s influence on art can typically be spotted in human anatomy and facial expressions. Hanna (and Gina Going, who has been providing colors since Raney’s run began) does well to let those influences shine through, thus keeping uniformity to the book’s appearance even when the story fails it.

Robert Kirkman is better than this--much better. Unfortunately, for now he seems better suited for his creator-owned work (like the brilliant Walking Dead) than playing in someone else’s sandbox. As much as I wanted to stick around for #75 and the introduction of Ultimate Cable (and potentially Ultimate X-Force?), this issue makes me feel as though my $3 would be better spent elsewhere each month.

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