Today marked the writing combination of, in my opinion, the two best writers currently penning Ultimate books. Brian Wood and Nathan Edmunson team up to bring us another exciting issue of the teenage drama that is Ultimate Comics: X-Men! Spoilers below.....
end of spoilers
-Kitty and Tony are at a press conference in Utopia announcing to the world that the mutants are basically ending world hunger by "gifting" the sentient seed to the planet. All the other mutants in Utopia appear to be in attendance in the background
-There are some shadowy and presumably governmentally figures watching the broadcast. They are completely appalled and determined to stop this volatile mutant uprising
-Blackheath is jealous that Kitty is getting all the credit apparently. Even though he, Zero and Storm actually created the seeds. Storm and Zero try to explain to him that Kitty is the face of Utopia and that is why she is up there, she's not trying to steal anybody's mojo.
-Awkward lunch on Starks private jet. Jimmy and Stark tag team Kitty to convince her they need to protect Utopia after this announcement. I call it awkward because Stark helped kill Jimmy's dad and they never mention it.
-Jean is telepathically spying on Utopia and is being a total bitch about it, she has no faith in Kitty. Also we learn there are other mutants in Tian, whether they are calling the eternals/celestials "mutants" now, or if they are referring to more traditional mutants that took up the invite to live in Tian is unclear.
-Psylocke, Warpath and Mach Two plot against Kitty because she wants to help the puny humans, they want to smash the puny humans
-Some mercenaries invade utopia, Iron Patriot and the muties make quick work of them. Kitty doesn't want any fighting, she want's her friends to stop and apparently lay down their lives for no reason
-Somebody shoots at kitty as she is phased, it goes through her and hits Starks jet. Tony was bothered they shot at Kitty, but "That's. His. Favorite. Jet!" Apparently Kitty rates below a plane in Starks opinion. He responds by knocking out all the merc's with mini frisbees.
-Understandably so the mutants are pissed. President Captain America Steven Rogers promised they would be safe, he is a big liar. Kitty ask a still conscious merc who sent them, Jimmy threatens to stab him if he doesn't answer. This causes Kitty to blame Jimmy for everything that went wrong. She is working for peace while Jimmy tears at it with his claws. Stark breaks it up and says he won't play baby sitter to these two. He also warns them it will only get worse from here
Whew, I think that was the longest spoiler section I have ever done. I don't know where to begin with this issue because it left me a little confused and with a lot of questions. Wood and Edumunson teaming up on this book was a very exciting idea for for me as I am really enjoying what they are doing individually in the UU. I'm not sure if this issue is trying to set up Jimmy leaving for the UC: Wolverine mini (yay!) that is coming out while still trying to progress Wood's "reservation x" story line but the end result felt a bit jarring at times. The beginning is great, it picks up perfectly from the last issue and even though it has been done to death in Ultimate X-Men, the "shady government/corporation" out to stop the mutants always works in the X-Books. The petty vibes we get from Blackheath, Psylocke, Mach Two and co. are also perfect, with the types of situations these characters are in it is easy to forget that they are mostly 16-19 years old and they are certainly acting their age. Kitty has this magnificent idea to end world hunger, and a lot of characters are more concerned with revenge and their own personal credit in the project, not the fact that this is probably the best way to get humans to accept mutants.
Those scenes aside, this issue loses me a bit. We see Jean in Tian and she seems as if she has resigned herself to the fact that Kitty will fail. If I am missing something please tell me but Jean has always been about helping mutants. I could understand if she felt she was to far away to help, but she seemed to almost be apathetic towards Kitty's situation. Maybe this is just a lead in to a larger story where Wood delves into Jean's psyche and how broken it has become since Ultimatum, it seemed odd for me in this issue. Another scene that left me feeling odd is the meeting on Stark's plane. Tony's struggles with his part in Logan's death have been well documented in the UU, here he finds himself sitting with Logan's son and nothing is said or done about it. I know that it could be my love for Logan's character, but a small scene where maybe Tony pulls Jimmy aside and tells him how brave his father was I think would've made a huge impact in the book and would have had a positive effect later in the issue. I'm referring now to the scene where Utopia is attacked by a group of mercenaries. Tony and the supporting cast start defending the camp immediately, when Kitty hears the commotion she runs out and begs her people to stop fighting. This doesn't make sense to me for a few reasons, the first being that if they did stop fighting the mutants would be killed, secondly Kitty has been shown to be willing to kill to protect mutant kind.
I understand that Kitty has "laid down her gun," but this is an extremely hostile force encroaching on a sovereign nation and using deadly force. If Kitty is not willing to fight to protect her people, why would anybody trust her leadership? This leads me to the final puzzling moment in the issue, Kitty flips out again on Jimmy. I have mentioned before that their relationship seems to change from issue to issue and maybe that is being done on purpose, but not that long ago Kitty was horrified to see a floating gun above Jimmy's head and now she yells at him for simply trying to intimidate a bad guy into giving some information. Her accusation that Jimmy is tearing down everything she has built with his claws felt over the top, when Jimmy has pretty much offered nothing but support to Kitty. This does lead me back to thinking that it could just be teenagers acting as teenagers, but Kitty hasn't fallen victim to these type of outbursts since they left New York. For the most part Kitty has played the role of responsible adult and seeing this childish outburst felt a bit OOC for me. As I mentioned before, this could simply be a story telling device to help Jimmy move along to the UC: Wolverine mini (yay!) slated for March but it just didn't feel right today.
Overall I still felt like this book kept it's stride, if not for a few stumbles today. The art was ranged from very good to great and you couldn't really tell that there was two artists on the book unless you were looking for it. I was definitely left excited for the next issue as well so that is a great sign of any comic imho. Hopefully we get some clarity as to why Kitty is freaking out on Jimmy every third issue and why Jeans says "meh" to the mutants in America soon.