Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ultimate X #2 - Painful Nostalgia


A couple months ago I gave my review for the debut issue of Ultimate X, the comic by Jeph Loeb that was supposed to reinvigorate the Ultimate line by telling bold new stories about what is happening to the mutants after Ultimatum. The premise is good, but in a nutshell the execution smells worse than mule shit, elephant shit, horse shit, dog shit, cat shit, and pretty much every other form of shit on this planet combined. Scientists would have to formulate a whole new strain of shit to match how much Ultimate X sucks. It's not only an affront to people who used to like the Ultimate universe. It's akin to sending a hitman to the readers still in the hospital after Ultimatum and so they can anally rape them to add to the humiliation for ever having followed this series.

So if I hated Ultimate X so much, why did I read issue 2? Plain and simple, it was the only comic outside the pitiful X-men Forever series that offered a chance at a decent Jean Grey story. The preview art from months ago hinted that this supposed new character, Karen Grant, was actually Jean Grey in disguise. Loeb tried to make it out to be some big mystery, as if her secret was the only thing keeping the holy grail from being found. Problem is, from the first few pages a brain damaged retard could have figured out that Karen was Jean. If that was the entire premise of the issue then this comic wouldn't qualify as being worthy of toilet paper. Luckily, there was more to it. Unluckily, it was every bit as pitiful as the first issue.

Now I'm a sucker for Jean Grey stories. She's one of my favorite characters and I've always had an affinity for Ultimate Jean Grey. She was a lot edgier and outgoing than her 616 counterpart. It was ironic how she was one of the few Ultimatum survivors when in 616, the writers seem to look for ways to kill her. I sincerely wanted to see a fresh story of her that wouldn't make me sick to my stomach the way X-men Forever did (which sadly is the only other ongoing series where Jean is still alive). It started off promising, but it went down faster than the stock market.

Here's the premise. Jean changed her name, changed her appearance, got a job at a mall, used her telepathy to change everyone's perceptions to make them think she had been there for three years when it had only been three months, and tried to live a normal life. Only she wasn't the same Jean Grey from the pages of Ultimate. She was a new Emo Jean Grey, one who dressed goth and was painfully reserved, a complete departure from what made her Ultimate counterpart appealing. To add to the clusterfuck, the narration was done by her boyfriend Dave, who is basically a mall cop. While Dave tries to come off as some open character with a touch of depth, he ends up coming off as some creepy stalker for Jean/Karen. He talks about early on how he kept asking her out 10 times before she said yes and how she seldom opened up. He comes off less a caring boyfriend and more a stalker. He's some character, one best left for dead. And wouldn't you know it? He got killed near the end by Sabretooth. Normally, I would hate to throw any further death into the Ultimate series after Ultimatum, but this guy needed it. He was too lame to keep alive.

In addition, remember how the first Ultimate X issue basically plagiarized the entire Superman Origins story for Jimmy Hudson? This issue took it a step further. It plagerized a story that came out LESS THAN A YEAR AGO. To make matters worse it came from the same damn series. Here's what happened. Mystique shows up and confronts Jean, telling her she should join her and Sabretooth. A fight ensues and Mystique and Sabretooth are beaten back. Want to know what happened in Ultimatum X-men Requiem that came out in August 2009? The same damn thing! Mystique and Sabretooth show up and try to recruit her. Part of the reason for Ultimatum was to add originality to the Ultimate universe again. But they use the same plot points from less than a year ago! What's that say about this series? They seem to be putting the same effort into it as Homer Simpson does in trying to lose weight.

Even worse? The art didn't offer any redeeming value like the first issue. Art Adams is supposedly an artistic genius in this area and he drew Jean Grey/Karen Grant like she was 13 fucking years old. In the comics it is well established that Ultimate Jean is 20. If this comic were actually decent then that may be forgivable, but the Ultimate series has earned no such leeway. I'm usually willing to cut Art Adams some slack, but now he deserves every bit the same scorn as Jeph Loeb.

It ends predictably enough. Jean meets up with Jimmy and that's about it. There's nothing new or fresh to be taken from this issue. As someone who has always had a special appreciation for Jean Grey, it usually takes a lot to get me to hate a comic with her as the main focus. Chris Claremont succeed with X-men Forever and I never thought that bombastic butchering of her character could be topped. Jeph Loeb, it seems, has matched Claremont blow for blow. It's a fucking Greek tragedy of godlike proportions.

Ultimate X #2 is another solemn reminder of how hard the series I once loved so much has fallen. Every book reeks of the stench left by Ultimatum. Even the most solid series like Ultimate Spider-Man can't get beyond the painful aftermath that basically killed an entire line. It doesn't matter of Hemmingway himself came back from the dead and wrote these books. Without the characters that made Ultimate great, the whole line is nothing more than cannon fodder laced with superhuman shit.

Earlier this week I posed a question to Tom Brevoort, Marvel's Vice President Executive Editor. I asked:

What would you say to all the fans of Ultimate who were seriously turned off by seeing so many beloved Marvel characters be horribly killed in Ultimatum?

His response is here:

Sorry about that. But most of those characters are still alive and active in the main Marvel Universe, so you can always follow them there. But if you just don't care for it, and aren't getting the same pleasure out of following the Ultimate books, then it's all right to stop buying them.

You hear that? It's basically saying "Sorry, you'll have to settle for 616 where those characters are still alive." Excuse me, but wasn't the whole point of Ultimate to create a fresh alternative from 616? Now that they killed off all the characters they're sending readers back to 616 where they weren't pleased with to begin with? Maybe I'm slow, but that logic would give Spock from Star Trek an brain stroke. He and Marvel seem to be okay with permanently handicapping a series. They're okay with taking away appeal and just churning out rehashes of plots so unoriginal it could be scientifically categorized as symptoms of insanity. Either they don't give a damn about the Ultimate universe anymore or they've just plain given up.

Ultimate X #2 gets a pitiful 0 out of 5. There's no redeeming value, not even from the art. Ultimate Marvel is becoming more pitiful with each passing month. It makes about as much sense to buy this comic as it does to stick your head in a microwave while sodomizing yourself with a salad fork. The sooner this entire line gets canceled, the better.

4 comments:

  1. great review i hate this new persona of jean "karen grant"

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  2. I agree. Jean Grey may as well have died in Ultimatum. This Karen Grant is a fucking joke. She's a shitty emo version of Jean that has absolutely none of the personality her predecessor did. Fuck Ultimatum and everything it did to the characters! Nuff said.

    Jack

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  3. i like this new alias that the ultimate jean is using, she is in a different place since mutants are to be shot on sight and most of her friends are dead, im not saying stay karen grant forever but it adds some depth to an already amazing character!

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  4. No it doesn't. It royally fucks her up. What's so deep about being an emo douchebag? Fuck it. This isn't Jean Grey. This is the Jean Grey that only a stoned monkey would come up with. It's shit! So she sees her friends get killed. Now she's Karen fucking Grant. Fuck her and fuck the whole premise of this motherfucking book.

    Jack

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