Page 45 Review by Stephen
In the wake of a big rift in X-MEN BATTLE OF THE ATOM, Professor Kitty Pryde has swept up the original teenage X-Men who've travelled through time and brought them to Cyclops' splinter-cell school which he's housed in Canada's abandoned Weapon X facility. "Facility" being a clinical euphemism for the mutant torture chamber which gave Wolverine the most comprehensive dental filling in world history.
Here's young Eva Bell introducing Bobbie Drake AKA Iceman to his room.
"This is yours."
"It looks like a renovated prison cell."
"That's just because it is a renovated prison cell. But, some flowers, some posters
"It'll look like I'm a prisoner with connections."
This is what Bendis does best: dead-pan exchanges as witty as you could want. It's always been his quiet conversations that have done it for me, and Bobbie Drake is his speak-before-you-think foil - like Brian's Peter Parker but with minimal self-awareness. Drawn by Stuart Immonen, he is a cute as cute can be.
No offence to anyone else, but I miss Stuart when he's gone. He's an artist of many styles, and for this title he's chosen clean yet supple, smooth and warm. The five look like teenagers - okay, twenty-one-year-olds who work out - and his variation-on-a-theme new costume designs are colourful, contemporary and chic but also functionally padded for combat like Bryan Hitch's for the original four ULTIMATES books. His women have great hair stylists and again look their age but first and foremost they are women like Terry Moore's (STRANGERS IN PARADISE, ECHO, RACHEL RISING): attractive individuals rather than colourfully clad sex objects.
The cover is attributed to Brandon Peterson but quite clearly it's Stuart and it's a mighty composition: a right-angle triangle with its feet firmly on the ground bottom-left. I also wonder about four later pages which hark back to GOD LOVES, MAN KILLS: surely those too are by Brent Anderson? No credit.
Anyway, as I say, the original X-Men have been whisked away from Wolverine and his Jean Grey School For Dictatorial Growling And Grudges and are now settling in with those who were once on the other side of the mutant fence. Well, "settling in" might be putting it a little strongly. Hugs will prove problematic. Here's young, science-prodigy Hank McCoy and
"I put together the communication system, Henry. If you have any questions
"It's - it's nice."
"It's a clean signal. It can't be traced here."
"Circular coded? Nice. So
Do you mind if I --?"
"Be my guest."
"I mean, it's not like you didn't do a good job."
"It's - it's cute."
"Nice. Nice and cute."
"The thing is, Magneto, it was not so long ago you were trying to kill me/us in a murderous rage
"So it's very strange to be standing here talking to you like this."
"I understood the unspoken subtext of the conversation."
What you could really do with now is a screaming emergency.
Cue emergency: saved by the yell.