REVIEW: Ultimate Comics: X-Men #16

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The world of Ultimate Comics is in turmoil, as Kitty Pryde and her group of X-Men have finally made it to the Southwest, where they hope to take out source of the Sentinels, with the help of none other than Nick Fury as the next big event in the Ultimate Comics universe, “United We Stand” kicks off with Major Spoilers reporting in with Kitty and crew!

ULTIMATE COMICS: X-MEN #16
Writer: Brian Wood
Pencilers: Carlo Barberi with Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Dave Johnson
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Ultimate Comics: X-Men Kitty Pryde, Jimmy Hudson, Bobby Drake and Rogue have gone into the Southwest to pursue the remnants of Stryker’s Sentinel fleet in an attempt to help improve the view of mutants in eyes of the country. When they reached their destination they found a true patriot waiting for them, none other than Nick Fury!

NICK FURY AND HIS HOWLING X-MEN

Where the last issue left off with the revelation that Nick Fury was ready to help Kitty and the X-Men, and Ultimate Comics: X-Men #16 picks up in a conversation between Kitty and her team. The interaction between Kitty and Nick is great, as Nick calmly explains that he spent twenty years putting revolutionary groups like the ones they’re about to start OUT of business during his work in black ops. The beauty of this series has been seeing Kitty Pryde really take on a leadership role, paralleling her development in the 616 universe. This is really the era of Kitty Pryde right now, and over the past year when I’ve been trying to learn the Marvel universe she’s quickly become one of my favorite Marvel characters. Nick Fury recognizes Kitty’s abilities as well, and their teamwork in this issue really stuck out. Brian Wood’s decision to put these characters with each other was a great decision.

One of the reasons I respect Robert Heinlein as a writer is how convincingly he could write a situation as if he had lived it himself. No matter what he wrote, his characters seemed so realistic in their dialogue and how they responded to unrealistic situations that they made even the most unbelievable circumstance feel like something Heinlein had seen and was just corroborating to the reader. That’s how this issue feels most of the time–Kitty and Nick Fury going off to kill a Sentinel to make a statement to their prospective mutant army, Rogue walking through the bunker and wistfully watching the couples, and then meeting up with someone who looks to be an Ultimate Quentin Quire.

ARTISTIC LICENSE

I recently read through the first 15 issues of this series in one sitting, catching up with back issues at my local comic store. I loved the art throughout, but now that I’m slowing down and paying closer attention to it for review purposes I’m not as pleased. It’s still good comic book art, but it is far from great. Nick Fury doesn’t look much like the Samuel L. Jackson we’re used to seeing in the Ultimate universe, and while there are certainly some really nice moments artistically (I loved the detail for Husk’s altered form) there was a surprising lack of detail in most of the backgrounds. It seemed to me that the artists may have been struggling to meet deadlines on this issue, so hopefully that will be improved upon.

BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD ISSUE AND A GOOD JUMPING ON POINT

I started investigating both the Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men when a mysterious Ultimate universe event starting creeping into my Ultimate Spider-Man, and I’ve really enjoyed Ultimate Comics: X-Men. Kitty Pryde is a fantastic character, and Brian Wood is writing her as well as anyone is right now (and considering Jason Aaron’s writing her in Wolverine and the X-Men, that’s high praise indeed). You don’t really need to know what has been happening in this title to appreciate this issue; there’s a very brief synopsis on the first page of this issue that provides all the background anyone would need. The writing is great, but the art has a few struggles, overall putting this issue at a well-above-average 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆