I have very little experience with the Ultimate Universe. That’s not because I think it’s terrible, in fact there must be some very good stories contained within it. It’s because I’d rather stick to one Marvel Universe if possible. That said, when the All New X-Men find themselves transported to the Ultimate Universe, I’m interested.
All New X-Men 31 begins moments after the adults leave for the reading of Xavier’s last will and testament, with all the kids at the New Xavier School left behind to watch over the base. The comic later moves to a new mutant with a very interesting new power – one that bridges the gaps between dimensions. It’s of little surprise that this type of power is involved, especially considering the well-advertised Ultimate Universe storyline, but the scenes leading up to the All New X-Men’s displacement are very entertaining.
This comic is full of little jokes and character moments that keep it entertaining while still allowing the story to move along. Each of the All New X-men has at least one little moment, whether it’s Beasts terrible attempts to calm the new mutant down, Warren showing some genuine maturity or Jean Grey’s brief yet enlightening conversation with X-23 (despite X-23’s initial resistance). Some may be disappointed by the lack of Iceman unleashing himself (like the solicitation and cover suggest), but I’ve learned not to rely too much on the solicitations for an accurate description.
The art by Mahmud Asrar is good for the most part. It’s a much simpler style than this title is used to, but it captures characters’ emotions quite well. The backgrounds have more than enough detail to expand on the surroundings and characters leave footprints in the snow, something that even Immonen didn’t always remember. When the new mutant’s powers kick in, we get a nice glimpse into several alternate dimensions like the House of M universe and a form of Asgard, both instantly recognizable. Some of the panels look a bit flat, but otherwise there are no noticeable flaws.
On a side note, over the last few weeks I’ve re-read the entire All New X-Men run up till this point, and it holds up very well as a long-form story so far. Battle of the Atom is a bit of a hiccup since a lot of the exposition is repeated between issues, but otherwise the story moves fairly evenly and the character development remains consistent.
The Ultimate Universe storyline is off to a fun start, and who better to throw the All New X-Men into that universe than one of its original founders, Brian Michael Bendis. Now that they’ve experienced a time travel story (which is how this series began in the first place), a space adventure and an alternate universe, they are truly an X-Men team. It’s debatable whether this or Uncanny X-Men is the better X-Men book, but they’ve both been doing very well in both quality and sales numbers. If you’re an X-Men fan who hasn’t given this title a chance yet, what are you waiting for?