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New X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 1

New X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 1 back

Grant Morrison & Igor Kordey Ethan Van Sciver, Frank Quitely, Leinil Francis Yu


Page 45 Review by David Hart

We thought they were all out of print, so summoned in their digest modes! Oh no, all three back in stock so here’s David Hart with an opening ceremony of his own which is just genius!

Deep within South America, a baldy headed woman with a more than passing resemblance to Professor X reactivates a hidden Sentinel project. Bearing in mind she really really hates mutants, this spells genocide, ‘splosions and large metallic objects flying into skyscrapers. After numerous deaths and resurrections, Scott and Jean find themselves further apart than ever before; Prof. X doesn’t seem quite himself and has taken to carrying a gun; teenagers can’t spend their pocket money fast enough on the latest mutant fashions and pop music; outside the school gates, meanwhile, the mob begins to howl…

Like the rest of Morrison’s recent work, NEW X-MEN dances to a choppy, syncopated rhythm, shifting scene and viewpoint in creating a world soaked in corporatism, media trends, fear, loathing and good old fashioned sex. What makes this a spangly great book, however, are the spangly great moments; this is how a the best-selling superhero comic should be done: hip and flip, so pop it hurts. Cyclops, preparing to hit the insurers with another claim on a top-notch airplane reassures his passengers: “Relax. I’ve survived more jet aircraft crashes than any other mutant.” Rather than digging out Magneto for a “Charles, are our are dreams so very different?” scene, the X-Men’s eternal bête noire gets dispatched in a single panel, martyred as a mutant Che Guevara, his face on a t-shirt becoming the latest meme. Dominatrix school teacher Emma Frost sets out her lesson plan:

“I propose we spend today’s telepathy period hacking into the minds of some of our favourite screen idols. A gold star to the first girl to discover the awful truth about Tom and Nicole.”

Ideas fly out at a rate of knots and the comic reeks of the now. Where Morrison’s JLA saw him tangle with the monolithic icons of the DC Universe and reinvent them as latter-day saints, here he gets to play with the pop idols and sex symbols of the Marvel sandpit. Most of the art in this volume is by Frank Quitely and bears the familiar hallmarks of his work: fantastic choreography and a real sense of heft and gravity combined with the odd distorted limb and the unfortunate fact the females could also go under the nom de heroine of Giraffe Neck Woman. On very few occasions, the book reads like a Fisher Price version of THE INVISIBLES (especially when the Beast says stuff like “I feel like a Hindu sex god”), but mostly it’s the best superhero book on the stands by a country mile, wired to the present and ready to play. Leave your coat at the door and dance to the new.
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