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Ultimate X-Men #38

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



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

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
After Charles Xavier helps Logan sift through his memories for a clue regarding the identity of the group that has been hunting him, we see the truth has Xavier placing a call to Nick Fury, who is prepared to offer up his services, provided the X-Men remain on the sidelines while he does so. However, the last page makes it clear one member of the X-Men is not willing to simply sit back and let this problem be swept under the carpet.

Comments:
A rather dramatic shift in tone as we move from the high energy, action-packed, guest-star filled earlier chapters to a rather subdue affair set at the Xavier Academy. Now the final page of this issue are sure to get fans talking as it's a fairly explosive display of power, and it also makes the emergence of a rather ominous form that I'm sure will leave numerous fans quite excited. Now I could point out the Mark Millar already played this card during his run, but frankly I wasn't all that pleased with the explanation he gave about the display being largely a smoke and mirrors show, so here's hoping Brain Michael Bendis has something up his sleeve that has a little more impact. If nothing else it would appear that this display of power has resulted in numerous deaths, and while I guess one could argue that it was self-defense, the simple overwhelming nature of the attack would seem the suggest that no thought was even considered when it came to perhaps sparing the lives of these people. In fact one could argue that these agents were in the process of running away when Jean made her attack which invalidates the argument that it was self-defense. This issue does offer up an explanation for who these people are, and why they are gunning for Wolverine which is a welcome touch, and it's also nice the see the situation between Wolverine and Jean Grey wasn't ignored, as simply because Cyclops wants to turn the other cheek, doesn't mean that Jean has to follow his example.

As for the art, the level of detail in David Finch's work is enough to have me overlooking his rather stiff presentation of the more emotional scenes, as it's hard to complain about the lack of emotions on the characters faces when it obvious the artist has made a considerable effort on each and every panel. There's also a wonderful visual representation of the confusion of Logan's scattered memories during that double page spread where we receive the various panels that reveal where the woman lead the group dogging Logan's heels is from. The final page display of power is also well handled, as the quiet little moment leading up to the big reveal shot does a wonderful job of setting us up for the big show. I do wish the cover image hadn't decided to reveal the big surprise though, as the one time the cover actually has something to do with the story inside, is the very same issue that would benefited from a less revealing cover image.

Final Word:
The move back to Xavier Academy does firmly cement this story in the X-Universe, but frankly I had rather been enjoying our haphazard tour of the Ultimate Universe, and as such the return to the familiar confines of the school left me somewhat disappointed. Than again I'm sure fans of this series will be pleased to see the X-Men, and the various subplots that were left on the back-burners are finally making an appearance in this series, with the scene between Wolverine and Jean Grey being a particularly effective scene. There's also a nice moment between Xavier and Wolverine, that is nicely followed up by a classic example of why I'm willing to let Brian Michael Bendis get away with a slower writing style that most, as his conversation between Xavier and Nick Fury is a wonderful display of back and forth interaction between two rather stubborn personalities. However, the moment that is sure to get everyone talking is the scene that plays out in the final pages, as it's not only a devastating display of power, but there's seemingly little reason for an attack of this severity.



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