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Ultimate X-Men #54

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"The Most Dangerous Game, Chapter One"

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.25 U.S. / $3.25 CAN

Plot:
As Kitty uncovers a web-broadcast of a Genoshan television show where mutants are hunted down and killed for the enjoyment of the viewing audience, we see the current contestant is an incredibly lucky mutant by the name of Longshot. As the X-Men debate what role they should play in this troubling situation, we see there is a clear division among the team about what steps should be taken, and this tension acts to split the team into two.

Comments:
When I first started collecting the Uncanny X-Men, Longshot had just become a member of the team, and the character quickly became one of my favourite members of the team, as his good luck gimmick struck me as a cool idea, and I rather enjoyed the fact that he's was so naive about the world. Now I wasn't quite so enamoured with the whole Mojoverse aspect of his origin as it verged from outright confusing, to downright goofy (e.g. X-Babies), but in the end I still consider Longshot to be a fun character, and I was rather pleased to learn that the character was going to be introduced in the Ultimate Universe. After reading this opening chapter I have to say I'm quite happy with what I see, as Brian K. Vaughan has come up with a more grounded back story for the Ultimate Longshot, while keeping most of the elements that made him such an engaging character. I also rather enjoyed how the writing managed to bring the idea of reality television into the mix, as we see the mutant hating island of Genosha has found a novel method of getting rid of the mutants that have been sentenced to die on death row. There's also a lovely conversation between the producers of this "hunt and kill an evil mutant" television sensation, as they discuss the idea that the viewers at home are going to become tired of their show if the hunted mutant continues to survive. The issue also offers up a great bit of character interaction among the X-Men as the team discusses what to do about this troubling situation, and Brian K. Vaughan does a lovely job of introducing tension into the mix, with Colossus emerging from the background to reveal he has a opinion on the matter.

Stuart Immonen's work is a bit looser on this issue than I'm come to expect from him, but since he's got his normal inker working with him, I guess this is a deliberate decision on his part. Now the lack of background detailing is a bit troubling, but truth be told, the art still holds up quite nicely, as the character interaction benefits from a wide range of facial expressions from Colossus' display of anger, to Mojo's sad expression when he come to realize that he's going to have to kill off his favourite contestant. I also had to smile at Kitty's face when she notices Jean and Scott are "braining" again, and the final panel of the issue does a nice job of selling Colossus' agreement with the plan. There's also some nice work on the book's action sequences, from the opening sequence which does an effectively subtle job of introducing us to Longshot mutant gift, to the equally enjoyable scene where Warren gets to plan the role of sinister villain.



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