Review: Ultimate X-Men #99 – Spoilers!

January 6, 2009

Ultimate X-Men #99

(**)

I don’t know what to make of this. This series ends next issue. What is its coup de grace? Unnecessary Ultimatum crap! Seriously, this stuff doesn’t mean anything! Hell, they couldn’t even get the death count right last issue (They forgot to mention Beast’s second death)! Having said all that, I’m a sad panda. Coleite only had four issues of freedom and you know what? They were good. He could have had a terrific run on this series. I mean, Ultimate X-Men hasn’t been great, but I enjoyed it. Oh well, I guess my wallet is happy. So for you Ultimatum completionists out there, let me spoil things to save you money.

-Stryker causes havoc (The word not the mutant).

-Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Rogue and Wraith (Guardian, Vindicator, whatever) arrive to save the day.

-Big fight (I didn’t have to tell you that did I?) and Madrox gets Sabretooth back into Magneto’s crew.

-Juggernaut gets hit in the eye (Through that visor thing) with a poison dart and dies (Again? Kind of? Juggernaut could totally come back in Ultimatum) after being touched by Rogue.

-Rogues goes wild! She “kills” a bunch of Sentinel dudes. Stryker is all “Ha Ha! You murderer! You mutants are monsters!”


Bruce Castle Presents: Hulk Gives Spider-Man an Ultimatum!

December 1, 2008

Hulk #8

Hulk #8 (****)

I have so much fun reading this comic. Art Adams and Frank Cho kill this book. And Loeb’s writing is exactly what it’s supposed to be, enjoyable. I still think this is his way of poking fun at what he dislikes about comics. So the Red Hulk is called Rulk right? And so many haters including a friend of mind say “So is green Hulk Grulk?” Check out the recap of this issue, “Mr. Fixit (Fulk? Grulk?)”. C’mon guys the silliness is intentional.

Ms. Marvel punches Fixit and takes out the power!

Pretty Lady, Sheet Face, and S-Man fight green Hulk!

But what about the Wendigos?

“The Lady Liberators. For when you absolutely, positively have to liberate the @#$% outta something.”

Abe on Mount Rushmore is collateral damage!

Tigra, Spider-Woman, Storm, Black Widow, Invisible Woman, and Hellcat join the party! Cho draws more pretty women! Oh yeah!

Ultimate Spider-Man #128

Ultimate Spider-Man #128 (****)

Ok, this was pretty cool. I still think this arc was a little weak, but it ended nicely. So this issue begins the way the first one in the arc did. Cool. Aunt May has a giant Dirty Harry gun?! Really? Aunt May also has heart problems. Do I smell an Ultimate One More Day? We get more video game nonsense. Which is what this arc was really about I guess. That’s a big part of what’s crappy about this arc. So I guess Gwen Stacy is “alive” again? And this issue ends the same as the first one in the arc, but with a big twist. Will this be in Ultimatum or just the Spider-Man tie-ins?

Ultimate X-Men #98

Ultimate X-Men #98 (****)

An Ultimatum tie-in! And a bunch of stuff happens! In one issue, William Stryker is introduced, reluctant about fighting mutants, and by the end he kills one. Am I the only one who’s disappointed when Ultimate characters are the exact same as their 616 counterparts? I guess Kurt and Allison did “die”? So Rogue is kind of evil now? Don’t do drugs kids. The identity of Ultimate Vindicator is revealed! Ultimate Juggernaut is alive and it’s no big deal? Wasn’t he last seen as dead in that annual or am I forgetting something? Sabretooth and Juggie are not in the best strip club in the world. Those girls aren’t even topless! Oh but it does give an excuse to see Rogue half naked. Vindicator is already the Guardian? I told you a lot happened in this issue. Oh and again, Mark Brooks draws really pretty pictures.


Bruce Castle Presents: Ultimatum Is Almost Here!

November 4, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 (*****)

This was the best issue of Ultimate Spider-Man in a long time. This series has been a bit disappointing lately with the new Venom arc, but this was a refreshing return to greatness. I’m sad that Mark Brooks wasn’t providing the art. I actually thought that Brooks would have made a better replacement for Bagley. Lafuente does a decent job though. He has a super cartoony style that mostly works well here due to the large quantity of laughs. That’s right folks! USM is hilarious again! That’s what was so great about this issue. It wasn’t the action or the new Ultimate character (It’s a villain. I won’t give away any more. It will remain a mystery until you read it), it was the high-dose of laughter and those oh so lovable teen moments. Peter and MJ talk about sex (There I spoiled something, happy?)! Hey! What did this have to do with Ultimatum? Unless that new villain is the reason, I have no idea why this was an Ultimatum tie-in. Oh and I loved that moment when the girl dressed as 616 Spider-Woman screams “Embrace change! Embrace change!” So awesome!

Ultimate Captain America Annual #1

Ultimate Captain America Annual #1 (***1/2)

I don’t know, but I think Ultimatum might actually be pretty cool. First off, this is such an awesome teaser.

C’mon! How can you not be excited after seeing that!? Anyway, this wasn’t really a Captain America comic. It was really about Black Panther. It’s pretty much his origin and then it explains how he got to Ultimates 3 and such. I don’t know if Loeb just had to get his bearings or if it really was intentional that most of Ultimates 3 seemed so off. At first, it was like Loeb had never read an Ultimates book, but in the last installment of Ultimates 3 and again in this issue, you can tell the man knows his stuff. Continuity is thrown at us in a totally accessible way. I rarely get to see Marko Djurdjevic on interiors, but he provides some stunning work here. There is also a new Ultimate character and the usual Loeb humor (Fury uses a Hulk cutout shooting target. Ha!). This comic is mostly about explanation, but it does plant some seeds that I’m sure we’ll see pop up like daisies soon.


Bruce Castle Presents: Take Two Ultimates And Call Me In The Morning

September 13, 2008

Ultimate Origins #4 (**1/2)

Well, it pulled out of that downward spiral. In fact, this issue was even better than last. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough for me to recommend. This issue’s “reveal” was particularly lackluster. Ultimatum is coming, I get it. Stop talking about something big happening and actually show it please. Butch Guice’s art has been mediocre at times, but after looking at this issue, you can see that the man has talent. His renderings are probably the most impressive ingredient in Ultimate Origins. Sadly, this series has turned out to be a moderate retelling of well-known origins with an ultimate twist. Is that really worth your money?

Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual#1 (****)

Ah, another “people from a warped future come to the present” story. Isn’t that kind of boring now? Yes, but it can still be fun when done well. This comes from two Heroes writers, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite. They’re both fairly new to comics, but they’ve already become quite proficient. As I mentioned, this is one of those future yarns. We get to have some fun discovering what’s happened to all our favorite characters. Don’t worry. We still get to see plenty of the current ultimate heroes. They’re drawn wonderfully by Mark Brooks and Dan Panosian. Panosian is a name I’m not familiar with. I found his art to be quite pleasing though. He has a cartoonish style that I’m very fond of. Some more good news is that this issue may actually contain a clue as to what will occur in Ultimatum. Whether it does or not, this was an extremely entertaining read.


Bruce Castle Presents: Wolverine Goes Beserk!

August 31, 2008

X-Force #6 (****)

If you’ve read one issue of X-Force, you can probably tell if it’s for you or not. Every single issue has been either crappy or really good depending on your opinion. I happen to fall into the really good category. I enjoy the fun and the gore along with the continuity junk. I’m conflicted when it comes to Crain’s art. He does a pretty good job here though. There are even a few moments of (dark) greatness. Overall, this was a promising first arc. I’m pleased that Mike Choi (I really dug his Uncanny X-Men work) will handle the art chores in the upcoming issues and it looks like Kyle and Yost will provide many dark, violent, continuity-filled stories for years to come.

Ultimate X-Men #97 (****)

This is the end of Heroes writer Aron Coleite’s first arc on Ultimate X-Men. I was quite pleased with it. I really enjoyed Coleite’s jam-packed storytelling. There is still some room for improvement, but he’s still adjusting. Like the rest of this arc, this issue contains some pretty crazy stuff. I also enjoyed seeing Mark Brooks’ art. Oh, I just have to write about this: SLIGHT SPOILER!!! Colossus lifts Wolverine over his head and rips off his leg! Does that remind you of a certain unfinished Ultimate mini-series? In fact, listen to what Wolverine says about it, “The Hulk tore me in half once. You shoulda seen what I did to him. It was epic.” END SPOILER!!!! How can you not laugh at that? Anyway, if this title continues after Ultimatum, it looks like Coleite could have a pretty impressive run.


Bruce Castle Presents: Event Books?

July 28, 2008

New Avengers #43 (***): I know this event! Everybody seems to love these. If you’ve followed my reviews at all you’ll know I’m not too hip to them. This one was pretty good though. It’s still all a bit too simple and predictable for an event that should be startling and intricate, oh well. The art is fairly average with a few moments of excellence. There are some well staged action sequences in the beginning half of the book. We get some Skrully information in the second half. It isn’t anything mind blowing or even incredible, but it certainly isn’t bad. It’s entertaining.

Large Cover of Uncanny X-Men #500 (DODSON VARIANT)

Uncanny X-Men #500 (*****): What the heck is Manifest Destiny? I’m not usually big on covers but man these are pretty! I apologize for posting all of these but I love them! Terry Dodson, Michael Turner, and a wraparound by Alex Ross and another one by Greg Land? WOW! My favorite (and Matt Fraction’s) is the Terry Dodson one. The art is astounding inside the book as well. Land and Dodson are both doing the art inside. I was a bit intrigued as to how that was going to work out, and the way it does is some pages are done by Land and some are done by Dodson. Hopefully this will keep the book monthly by having two artists on it. Both of these artists, as many great artists are, usually aren’t monthly (especially Dodson). Enough gushing about the art! How is the writing? The writing on Uncanny has been a bit lackluster on Brubaker’s run, but thanks to Fraction this is a well-written book now. It’s exactly what an issue 500 and a great comic in general should be. It’s an amalgam of old and new comics that takes ideas we’ve seen before and gives them a new fresh twist. There are a few things in here that really got me excited and did I mention the art rules?

Ultimate X-Men #96 (****): This is a long March On Ultimatum! I’m still really liking Aron Coleite on this book. He’s really giving me my money’s worth. He packs so much into each issue. He doesn’t excel at it like Morrison, but then who is on Morrison’s level? Mark Brooks isn’t on this issue which is sad, but the art is still decent enough. I’m thoroughly enjoying this rollercoaster of an arc and I encourage all of you to give Ultimate X-Men another chance if you bailed on it during a few of those shaky arcs.


Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

July 5, 2008

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.


Review: Ultimate X-Men #95

June 19, 2008

SPOILERS!!!

Well I loved last issue and this one is still really good. I read an interview with Aron Coleite and he said he would try to pack as much as we could into each issue. He is doing pretty good so far.

We start off with a look at Cyclops’ early days much like last issues look at Colossus. We get a look at Dazzler, Angel, Rogue, and Nightcrawler and how they look and act with “Banshee” in their system. Colossus gets some more drugs and the dealer is mysterious. Cyclops takes some drugs, or does he? Jean is looking for who else is drugged up. It’s Wolverine? Oh no! Well, with his past, who knows what he was doing. We see the Alpha Flight again. Sasquatch is Rahne Sinclair?! What a twist! Of course she is naked when she depowers.

Jubilee tries to see who is under Vindicator’s mask and he breaks her fingers! “You don’t need your fingers to cast your fireworks.” What a dick! The druggy X-Men crash the Alpha Flight pad. Oh, Angel looks like a bird now. Rogue looks kind of like Mimic because she has other people’s powers going all the time now. Dazzler rides a light tiger into battle with a sword and a shield, and Nightcrawler can now shoot stuff at people. They fight.

Rogue absorbs Vindicator and she is shocked at who he is! Who could he be? Cyclops notices the battle is going poorly for his friends so he shoots up too. After a quick flashback, Cyclops is now super powered now. He flies and he blew up his visor. Cyclops checks up on Colossus who was looking for his boyfriend. Oh no! Did Northstar OD!!!??

So yeah I fun with this issue. I don’t think it is as good as the last one but oh well. It is still some good storytelling and I am still loving the Mark Brooks art!

3 stars


Review: Ultimate X-Men #94

June 12, 2008

New writer, Aron Coleite! New Artist, Mark Brooks! JUMPING ON POINT!!! I don’t know what it is, but all of a sudden, Ultimate X-Men is fun again. Maybe it’s because, for the most part, Kirkman ended his atrocious run on a high note… and then this new creative team comes around and pitches a story I can really sink my teeth into. I think what I like best about this new “status quo” is that all the classic Ultimate X-Men are back in book as main characters. Cool guys like Nightcrawler and Beast. Anyway, this issue opens with a look at Colossus’s childhood: All he ever wanted was to be a Super Hero.

Now, he’s living on a farm with his dad, milking cows when all of a sudden his origin story shows up in the form of the Russian mobster, Anatol Spichkin (whose true plot significance shall be revealed later in the book). Jeez, what a way to find out you’re bulletproof, huh? Too bad the cow had to die. Fast forward to the present:

Good Lord, Logan! Firestar can’t be more than 15, ya’ perv! Will this joke ever get old? Whatever, it still makes me laugh every time he does it. Also, Aron displays some tight continuity here. Liz only just joined the X-Men and she’s already on the baseball team. I approve.

Love me some Ultimate Nightcrawler. His actions and hate speech succinctly reveals what’s wrong with most of the fervently religious peoples: hypocritical intolerance. Speaking of…

Maybe Wolvie’ll hit on some of that underage Jubilee action. Heh heh heh. Anyway, back on topic (that topic being homoerotic super hero teams or teams that are named “Alpha Flight”), these guys look ludicrous! But in a good way! What the hell is Guardian wearing? Those red bulb thingies look like police lights… RED LIGHT SPECIAL! So, Alpha Flight shows up and Wolver-Douche is immediately like, “Ah, my bad, I screwed these guys over once and now they’re back to take their revenge… I think.” Although a plausible explanation (who hasn’t he screwed over?), Guardian quickly attempts to explain that they are NOT in fact hear for Logan—TOO LATE!

I mean, crazy canucklehead attacks, you gotta respond with force, right? Wrong! That love tap is enough to start the mother of all splash page brawls, initiated by the ever hot-headed Cyclops. I wish 616 Cyclops was this badass… well, he is when Joss is writing him. Le sigh.

100 pages of fight scene later…

Aurora is looking FIERCE right here, noe-whut-a’m-sang?!

Surprisingly, (its Alpha Flight, if they manage to successfully dress themselves in the morning I’m surprised) AF kicks the SHIT out of the X-Men. Badasses that they are, they retreat to their flying spaceship and make jokes at the X-Men’s expense. Hah, my kind of douche-baggery. Well, Colossus isn’t laughing.

…too bad the rest of the X-Men are unconscious at the time. Later, Cyclops tries to calm the visibly upset Peter. Shit, they did just kidnap his boyfriend. Nuh-uh, the big C ain’t having it. And you know what? He’s EFFing A right! If it was Jean, they’d probably even call the Ultimates and the fricking Lametastic Four! Word, bro! Gay discrimination, yo! Okay, let’s go kick some Canadian ass… oh snap, the Alpha Flighters are gods now? Drug addicts, anyway.

Alpha Flight is on drugs… Colossus calls discrimination on his fellow X-Men… when did this turn into an after school special?!? I’m loving it! And if that wasn’t enough issues for our teenaged titans to deal with, Jean decides to take moral matters in hand.

Cyclops serves it up fresh.

Have we learned nothing from the terrible example Xavier set? Well, no, and thank God, because then how the crap would the plot move forward?

Colossus is an addict. Hmm. This whole time. For 94 issues. Hmm. Justifications and misplaced righteous indignation behind the link.

It might be offensive to say, but I’m saying it anyway. Jean Grey is a #####. Again, I approve.

Which brings us to the next plot beat (there’ve been so many! Bendis should be taking notes), Cyclops grows a pair. And then Petey is like, “Dude, welcome to the party!”

Ugh, is that Ultimate Beak? At least Brooks makes him look cool… pfft!

Lots of poking fun, but I really did enjoy this issue. I feel like finally, X-Men can be good again. Let’s hope Aron and the writers that eventually take over after this can build on the good feelings established in this arc.

Crap, I really hope Ultimate FF is the book that gets axed after Ultimatum and not this one.


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