Sunday, March 20, 2005

ULTIMATE X-MEN #57

In hindsight, I should have figured out what was up when Kurt's group teleport didn't work. Longshot's luck only works when his cause is just.

For all of the mixing and matching of classic X story arcs going on here, I remain most impressed -- or perhaps most horrified -- with the way Mojo has taken on a new relevance in our current age. Xavier speaks the truth when he mutters about how reality TV shows us as we are -- vain, petty, ugly in thought and deed. That we don't even blink at programming like Who's My Daddy and go to the movies to see video of drunken teenagers on spring break makes Mojo less surprising as an antagonist than he was back in the days when 'reality tv' meant Ripley's Believe it Or Not, Real People, Candid Camera, or That's Incredible. He's more effectively creepy now because what he's doing is so much closer to the realm of the possible than, say, when The Running Man came out. Mojo's is an ultimatization that barely needs to be touched up to work in the less-fantastic (than the main Marvel universe) Ultimateverse.

The big reveal of Longshot being a murderer and a bigot was well done -- who would you believe, Spiral (the attacker) or Longshot (the one on the run) -- and it never felt staged that it was the 'B-team' of mutants who found him. Jean, as currently written, would have sussed him out in a nanosecond; she's gone from slumming skank to her normal main-universe self over the course of twenty issues and cracked Spiral like a peanut.

As for the rest, Warren's been such a non-entity since his arrival that any plot is good plot for him, even if Alison does sort of come out of nowhere. And the usual shrug about Piotr -- apparently his sexual orientation isn't known beyond the team telepaths -- who gets the Random Spotlit Panel of Meaningful Loneliness. If they'd have been consistent about his age, I'd know whether or not to root for a return of Jean-Paul Beaubier.

Stuart Immonen's art is growing on me, which is good because he's got the gig as the permanent penciler for the series after what feels like an endless stream of try-outs and fill-ins.

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