Ultimate X-Men #50 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Cry Wolf Part One

Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciled by: Andy Kubert
Inked by: Danny Miki
Colored by: Justin Ponsor
Lettered by: Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Remember those stories when the X-Men used to take it easy and just play baseball with one another? Well, sadly, I don’t. Never really read X-Men beyond this Ultimate title. However, the idea of that always appealed to me. I imagine those stories would read a lot like this issue. And that’s a good thing.

Vaughan plays against type this time by not making this anniversary issue a slam bang action blowout introducing Ultimate Maggot to the fold (oh, but sweet God, I hope that day is coming), but rather embraces a rather quiet, “let’s all hang out and chat” approach. And that’s a good thing too.

He also brings Gambit back to the Ultimate X title after his first appearance during Austen’s arc way back in the day. But he uses him very sparingly this issue. And that’s”¦well, you get the idea.

The issues highlights, in reverse order, are Dazzler and Colossus’s interaction (“We’d scrape”); Storm and Wolverine’s all too brief debate on who is exploiting who, mutants or humans, and is either acceptable; Gambit handing Wolverine his head (metaphorically) and blowing up a Ferris Wheel real good like; and, hands down the best moment, Nightcrawler and Angel severely abusing their Danger Room privileges while Professor X smiles knowingly and let’s them. That scene in particular makes the issue a winner for me.

Sadly, it is not all wine and roses this issue. The Iceman/Rogue/Kitty love triangle is moving entirely too quick to get me invested in it. The petty squabble was a nice bit of teen angst, but if this is a long term plot arc, I am going to need a bit before meat on its bones before I buy it.

The Cyclops/Jean Grey scene might have been intended as touching but came across as weirdly creepy. Not sure what Vaughan was going for in it, but it does not connect for me in any case.

Typically, I like the book so much more when Kubert is on art, (even more so than Finc’s stint) and this issue is no exception. He does a great job and it just “feels” more like Ultimate X-Men to see when his pencils are between the covers. The out-of-control Ferris Wheel splash page and Nightcrawler and Angel’s Pirate Adventure are worth noting in particular.

Since Vaughan started on this book with the Sinister arc, I have been digging it something fierce. And if any writer can make me enjoy the book more than I was when Bendis was writing it, well, that’s pretty damn good.