The Penultimate issue in the O5’s unintentional trip to the Ultimate Universe is here. Now that Jean Grey has tracked down her teammates through Cerebro, it’s time to collect everyone and team up with the Ultimate X-Men to rescue Beast from Ultimate Dr. Doom. In addition to reviewing this issue, I’ll also discuss my thoughts on Marvel’s announcements regarding Secret Wars and its aftermath. But first, let’s review All New X-Men 35.
This issue kicks off with the two X-Men teams battling Dr. Doom’s many doombots in Latveria in a huge action scene beautifully captured by Mahmud Asrar. The scope of the battle rivals a major comic event, yet it focuses on individual characters better than most events and thus shows a better sense of progress. Asrar’s art remains good through the full comic, not only capturing characters’ emotions but showcasing the various environments. While being chemically brainwashed by Doom, Beast once again maps out the X-Men timeline in a page that rivals Stuart Immonen’s similar pages, updated with more recent events including Xavier’s will and Cyclops travelling to space. When Iceman runs out of ice energy in Atlanta, he appears appropriately tired. While I miss Immonen in this series, Asrar is a welcome replacement.
Brian Michael Bendis’s writing is also good. There’s a great balance of humorous banter and dramatic moments. The awkward meeting between Angel and Ultimate Kitty Pryde is amusing, and the fact that the two different Icemen annoy each other is perfect. Both Beast and X-23 have their own dramatic moments; Beast is obviously distressing the idea of helping Doom with anything, and after discovering that the Ultimate mutants were created in labs, Laura nears her breaking point. While her dialogue is a bit wordy, the sentiment behind her words perfectly fits her character, and Bendis seems to be improving on her voice with time.
This is a great comic about a group of teenagers lost in another dimension and trying to find their way home. The story is good, especially regarding Doom’s interest in meeting other Dooms, but the character focus is what makes this story arc really work. The fact that they’re crossing over with a Universe that’s about to combine with their own makes this arc mean more than what we previously thought. If you’re an X-Men fan who hasn’t checked this series out yet, you really should – this and Uncanny X-Men are really the only two major X-titles with any direction right now.
Regarding Marvel’s announcement, it seems to be worth discussing in a comic where 616 and Ultimate characters cross over. For those who aren’t aware, Marvel pretty much confirmed that Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars is moving towards combining the main Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe, likely among others to form a single universe. The Ultimate Universe was pretty much ruined by Ultimatum and from what I’ve heard, only Miles Morales is worth reading these days. I’ve read comments that compare this to DC’s Infinite Crisis, but having not read that I shouldn’t say much else on that subject.
No matter how Secret Wars turns out, this cover is awesome.
I’m both interested and a bit nervous about this idea. This could be a way to fix some of the bigger mistakes Marvel has made over the years, most notably Ultimatum and One More Day. The result could make for a fascinating new universe that still retains much of 616’s continuity while bringing something fresh and easy for new readers. On the other hand, they could easily go overboard and bring back too many characters whose deaths still bring a lot of meaning. I’m also a bit worried that we’ll have too many duplicate characters running around, or that they’ll replace too many 616 characters with inferior ones from other universes.
I’m not sure if I’ll read Secret Wars while it’s coming out or not, but I’m certainly interested in what it could bring. I also really hope that after this new Universe shows up, they’ll take a short break from event comics because this thing is supposed to be company-wide, with every single title tying in at one point or another. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.