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Ultimate X-Men #41

Posted: Monday, January 19, 2004
By: Paul Brian McCoy



“New Mutants, part two”

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

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
In another stand-alone story, a new mutant is introduced, and this time it’s a doozy. Who’s responsible for the disappearances all around young J. and what’s Wolverine going to do about it?

Comments:
Does the kid in this story have a name? Maybe I missed it, but all I saw was his initial “J” on his note to his mom. That’s one of the things that I really liked about this issue, though, and it really is a testament to Bendis’ ability to write believable and sympathetic characters. I don’t even know this kid’s name, but I really feel for him. The horrible nature of his mutant awakening is shockingly abrupt and just plain awful. This book made me sad...but in a good way. You know, that way where you feel like the emotions this piece of supposed entertainment just manipulated out of you is in no way cheap or sugar-coated. This isn’t a dead puppy, or a broken heart (although these are probably in there too), it’s the tragedy of a wasted life. It’s even more moving because J. seems extremely likeable. He’s just incredibly unlucky, if I can put it so simplistically. Calling him unlucky really seems to underplay just how powerful I thought this story was. I don’t want to go into too much detail, in case you haven’t read it yet, but damn, it’s hardcore.

The art by Finch and Thibert, when combined with the storytelling ability of Bendis make this title seem like a whole different book from when Millar was writing. Not to diss Millar. I liked those books. I just like this differently. Sure some of the dialogue can be a little too cute, but it’s not that bad. And visually Finch and Thibert are crafting a very nice-looking, realistic world without getting too “out there”. This makes for a very rewarding payoff when the mutant elements do arrive.

Final Word:
I wasn’t sure about Bendis’ run on this title after the first storyline and was ready to drop the book, but so far the “New Mutants” story is excellent. Old characters are being fleshed out and made more approachable and believable, while new characters are hitting the page running characterization-wise. Damn you Bendis! Now I have to keep reading. At least it doesn’t cost very much and is solid on every front. It’s very much worth my time and attention.



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