Current Reviews


Ultimate X-Men #61

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"Magnetic North, Chapter One"

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.50 CAN

After seeing Kitty tear into Bobby as she confronts him with a love letter to Rogue that Bobby accidentally e-mail to her account, we see the book shifts its attention to Emma Frost's school, where we see Alex and Lorna head off to help the local fire department deal with a high-rise blaze. However, we see their efforts at providing help take a disastrous turn and in the end there are multiple deaths that will likely spark even further hatred of mutants.

The book opens with a rather mundane bit of teenage angst as we see Kitty discovers that Bobby is still in contact with Rogue in spite of his assurances that he has let this ship sail. I mean I did find myself smiling at the explanation for how Kitty came to be aware that Bobby was lying to her, as this is exactly the type of goofy mistake that I can see Bobby making. However, the simple fact of the matter is that this book has never really established what exactly is the basis of Kitty's relationship with Bobby, as it seems like their relationship has been on pins and needles right from its first step out of the gate, and as such it's a little difficult to get overly worked up over the idea that their relationship looks to be crumbling apart when the book never offered up any moment where it was established that these two were a happy couple. Still, watching Bobby blunder his way through this relationship does have some entertainment value, as Brian K. Vaughan does seem to have a pretty firm grasp on the mind of the typical teenage boy. Plus this confrontation also results in a cute homage to the classic "no fighting in the war room" line from Dr. Strangelove. There's also an interesting scene transition that gives us a pretty good indication of why there looks to be serious tensions between the Summer brothers, and this connecting element also provides a solid means of dragging Scott and the rest of the X-Men into the shocking plot developments that play out in the second half of this issue. Now I'm going to try my best to keep the events of the second half of the issue a secret, but I will say that Brian K. Vaughan does his best to live up to the reputation that he's established when it comes to his ability to deliver killer cliffhangers, as this story abruptly kicks into high gear, and I'm sure that Magneto fans are going to love the ominous quality of that final page, as it leaves little doubt that he was responsible for the tragic events that played out in the latter half of this issue. In the end the second half of the issue is why I'd label this comic a must read issue for all X-Men fans.

While the cover image is guilty showing the readers a little too much about the story, I can't deny that it's an impressive looking visual, and it's also great to see the Ultimate books are starting to move away from their more generic iconic covers. As for the interior art, Stuart Immonen turns his usual impressive effort, as how can one not smile when one gets a look at Kitty's facial expression and body language when she arrives in the opening pages looking for Bobby. I also found myself smiling at the pose that the character undertakes as she reads Bobby's e-mail. The art also manages to capture the surprise factor when a seemingly ordinary mission goes completely off the rails, and the panic is well conveyed as is the sheer power that is on display. I also have to give the art credit for the final page shot of Magneto, as it's a lovely visual to carry readers into the next issue, though there is a problem with the chess game, as from the pieces on the board it looks like the king was already in check before Magneto took the knight, which can't happen in chess.

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