COMIC REVIEW: Ultimate Comics X-Men #12

Does anyone remember a little TV show called ‘Lost’? The one that piled on questions with very few answers for the majority of its six-years on our screens? I get the exact same impression from Nick Spencer’s 12 issue run of the revamped Ultimate (comics) X-Men.

Except with #12, the end of Nick Spencer’s run, you don’t get any answers or resolutions to any of the plot threads or grand ideas that were thrown out there for the majority of the series so far. It’s enough to make you feel cheated.

In #12 Spencer and co. give another slice of the changing life of the mutants in the Ultimate Universe following the Ultimatum debacle and the big reveal from #1, that the Ultimate Universe’s mutants are man-made genetic experiments. This issue looks at what has happened to Ultimate Havok, aka. Alex Summers, who is in a mental institution, and the mysterious stranger who comes to visit him.

The premise of the series has remained an interesting one, and like all previous issues the vignette in #12 does indeed make you think about the toll the last few years has had on mutants in general, and adds extra scope to the series and the Ultimate Universe.

Unfortunately, after a string of similar stories that were never really resolved, and felt far too short despite their page counts. The big reveal in this issue, and also for the last few issues, has no real impact anymore. Readers can only be teased for so long before they lose interest, especially when the other two Ultimate comics (Spider-man and the Ultimates) are fantastic pieces of work in their own right.

The artwork from Paco Medina has done a good job and continues to do so with this issue. His ability in handling big battles and more personal moments fulfils its remit in translating Spencer’s ideas to the panels. Medina does some incredible splash pages in this issue that gives the comic a widescreen appeal that the Ultimate Universe seems to have made its style from day 1. What weakens the art slightly, in my opinion, is the colouring. The colours, handled by Marte Gracia, are done very thick and overly bright such that the darker elements of the story lose their potency. But that is only a minor niggle that is easily overlooked compared to the far greater problem brought about by Nick Spencer’s teasing vignettes and generally shallow storytelling that continues with #12.

With Ultimate Comics X-Men #13 Brian Wood takes over writing duties from Nick Spencer. For all its many flaws, Spencer has at least achieved one thing with his run on the book: he’s set up a whole world of promise for Mr. Wood to play with (and the series has desperately needed). Here’s hoping he does a better job in the execution.

Rating: 2/5
: Dean Simons

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