Writer: Mark Millar
Artists: David Finch (p), Art Thibert (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens with Magneto laying out his rather horrific master plan which will have him using the device created by Forge to effective wipe the human race off the face of the planet. The book then looks in on the infirmary, where we see the injured Cyclops has somehow escaped the notice of Magneto & the members of the Brotherhood, and when Scott wakes up we see he's rather pleased to discover himself in the heart of Magneto's hidden base. As he takes a member of the hospital staff hostage, we look back in on Magneto as he's ready to play with his new toy, but as he builds up the electromagnetic storm that will presumably kill every human on the planet, we see Cyclops arrives to interrupt this process. We then see Scott was able to make contact with the rest of his team, as when it looks like Scott is about to get his head handed to him, the X-Men arrive to pull his fat out of the fire. What follows is a fairly exciting battle, with the highlight reel moment coming when Wolverine decapitates Sabretooth. However, while the X-Men make every effort to stop Magneto, we see they are no match for his power, and the issue ends with Magneto using his doomsday device to trigger a devastating attack that could very well end all life on America's east coast.
If not for the other titles in the Ultimate line I would be fully convinced that Mark Millar would actually follow through on the "big" threat that Magneto dishes out on the final page. However, the way it stands now it's rather difficult to imagine the Ultimate universe being dealt such a grievous blow, and as such the question then becomes how are the X-Men going to stop Magneto's attack after it's already seemingly been set into motion. To this end Mark Millar has laid some groundwork, as we have learned that Forge isn't 100% behind the complete obliteration of the human race, and if any one would be able to pull the plug on the doomsday plan that Magneto is messing about with it would have to be Forge. However, I will give Mark Millar full marks making things look downright hopeless, as the second to last page makes it quite clear that Magneto's attack is already in motion, and unless Forge can whip up a time machine I honestly couldn't tell you how Mark Millar plans on having the X-Men save the day. Now I do have to wonder why the X-Men wasted their time battling Magneto's minions when their energies should've been focused on destroying the machine, but I will concede that we did see Kitty's backdoor attempt at accomplishing this goal was foiled, so perhaps the machine was designed with the X-Men's attacks in mind.
My main problem with this arc is that Magneto himself is a rather one-note villain, and his big plan to kill every single living thing on the planet, except for the various mutants he's gathered together, is such an extreme act that Mark Millar needed to do more than deliver a little exchange between two doctors where they discuss their grievances with Magneto's plan. I mean Magneto's plan is going to kill the wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, siblings of every mutant he's brought to this colony, and the best scene Mark Millar could come up with is "we're going too far", and there's "nothing you can do about it now". I mean since these two doctors seem to be in the loop when it comes to Magneto's plan to wipe out the human race, I think it's safe to assume it's public knowledge among the community, and yet Mark Millar quickly skips past this rather important detail. I mean surely there has to be more that a single doctor & Forge who have doubts about Magneto's rather extreme course of action, but the rest of the mutant population might as well be mindless sheep for all the fuss they make. I mean I'm sure even the most devoted cult follower would balk at a plan that involved the murder of every single person who wasn't a member of their little cult.
David Finch is becoming a fairly regular presence on this book, and since it seems like this book is coming out every other week I imagine he's penciled in as this book other regular artist. Now David Finch's style is a pretty close match for the work of Adam Kubert, so the two can quite easily pass the baton back & forth even in the middle of an arc without being too disruptive. I will say that David Finch's work manages to put a little more detail on the page, as exterior shots of Magneto's floating base are quite impressive, as is the big impact shot where the X-Men make their rather dramatic arrival into Magneto's base. The action that follows this arrival is also quite impressive, as Iceman's ice bridges are a fun little background visual, and one has to love the raw power displayed in Scott's optic blasts, and Storm's lightening bolts. There's also a nice little shot in this issue that I'm sure will have Wolverine fans quite happy, as it's about time Wolverine used his claws on Sabretooth to deliver this type of attack. I also have to credit the coloring work on this issue, as Scott's optic blasts & Storm's lightening bolts are fine examples of what a good colorist can bring to a book. There's also a pretty impressive shot of Cyclops that acts as this issue's cover visual.
Truth be told I'm a little unimpressed with the one-note nature of Magneto as a villain, as unlike his Marvel counterpart there's no complexity to the character. Instead of a good man driven to a life of villainy, what we have is basically a lunatic with a super-powerful doomsday weapon. Now I will concede that it does make it easier to tell who the villain of the piece is when Magneto's big master plan boils down to the wholesale slaughter of pretty much every living thing on the planet, but since Mark Millar has the story playing out on such a grandiose scale it is rather difficult to get too worked up, as simple logic states that the big attack that plays out in the final pages won't be nearly as devastating as Magneto claims. There's also some odd little moments that the story doesn't really bother to explain, such as how Cyclops was able to contact the X-Men without being detected, and how the X-Men were able to arrive right at the doorstep of Magneto's base without raising any alarms.
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