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Ultimate X-Men #38

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2003
By: Cody Dolan



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: David Finch (p), Art Thibert (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The good news is that Bendis finally lets Wolverine rest in this issue. No one shoots at him, no one hits him in the chest with a missile and no one drops him off a building. The bad news for the character is that heís back among people that hate and fear him, and those are the people that are supposed to be his teammates. Wolvie wakes up in the Xavier Institute after Professor X leads him through the memory blocks put in by Weapon X in the hopes of finding out whoís after him. While this jaunt is enlightening enough to let us know whoís after Wolverine we still donít know why and thatís getting to be more than a little frustrating. As far as I can tell, thereís no real reason for these people to want to hurt Logan so badly aside from their blind loyalty to the main Weapon X bad guy, and that makes for weak motivation.

One of the biggest problems I had with Mark Millarís last arc on this book was the much too simple manner in which the X-Men welcomed Wolverine back. This is a character that tried to kill off Cyclops, and yet everyone (including most readers) was ready to forgive and forget this fact. No matter how kind hearted the characters were, I had a hard time believing they would move past the attempted murder so quickly, so Iím glad Bendis addresses this inconsistency. No one trusts Wolverine, and some of them (Jean in particular) out and out hate the character. This is a clear case of Bendis succeeding where Millar failed and thatís yet another reason Iím happy the former has taken over this book.

Iíve just about run out of good things to say about Finchís art, so this time Iíll talk about his page designs. He manages to create tension even when two people are sitting around talking, and thatís quite an accomplishment. During Wolverineís conversation with Prof X the artist zooms in and out on the characters through a series of panels, and itís this closeness that creates a sense of foreboding. We get closer and closer to Wolvie as he talks about the paranoia in the house while Prof Xís calming speech about earning back trust is down in a slow zoom out. This is a little touch, but it works perfectly with the effect Bendis is trying to create. Aside from that, Finchís work continues to be spectacular. Anyone who disagrees with me contention that heíd be perfect on The Ultimates needs to take a look at this depiction of Phoenix in the final few pages. Itís gorgeous and deadly, and you canít wait to see what will happen next, and those are the feelings that art is supposed to engender.

If youíre looking for a lot of action, then this book really isnít for you. Rather than another shoot out, Bendis lets the plot move forward at a brisker pace than normal, and that movement is appreciated. Iím still waiting for the writer to strike a balance between the two, but until then Iíll just enjoy what heís given us: well written stories that rarely disappoint.



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