X-Men Blue 4 takes place sometime after the previous issue, while also catching up on the backup story from X-Men Blue 1. The bulk of the issue shows the original 5 tracking down Jimmy Hudson, Wolverine’s son from the Ultimate Universe, who’s somehow ended up in their Colorado. The search leads to a quick yet fun battle between Jimmy and the team, where Jimmy shows some resistance to Jean’s telepathy and enough ferocity to almost kill Iceman, but he doesn’t fare as well against Jean’s telekinesis or Ice Hulk.
Writer Cullen Bunn does a good job with what’s in this comic. The interaction between different X-Men team members shows a good balance of fun banter and minor conflict. The sheriff they work with while tracking Jimmy down offers some great insight as to what’s going on and adds a bit of normalcy to an otherwise strange group. Since Cyclops didn’t travel with the other four to the Ultimate Universe way back, he also offers the perfect opportunity to explain their previous encounter with Jimmy. Personally I didn’t get much of an impression for Jimmy either way when I read of him in Brian Michael Bendis’s All-New X-Men run, and I’m not getting much of an impression here. I’ll give him this much though – his presence does lead to the reveal of a villain group that, as far as my research can tell, is also from the Ultimate Universe. They look like they could be interesting foil for the O5.
Julian Lopez’s art is great. There’s a good balance between a slight cartoon feel with characters and a more realistic look with the environments. The environments are well detailed, whether it’s the X-Men’s tech filled jet, the snowy forest with trees barren of leaves, or the bar filled with patrons and a variety of bottles on the shelves behind the counter. Facial expressions convey emotions very well, like Jimmy’s fury when he first shows up in a mostly feral state, Jean’s awkward glance when Iceman’s hulk form is weirding her out, and Cyclops’s confused look when Angel mentions where they met Jimmy. The one panel flashback to the Ultimate Universe story arc kind of mimics Mahmud Asrar’s art quite (he drew that story arc) and includes several of the other characters involved in the battle against Ultimate Doctor Doom. Irma Kniivila’s colouring is also great. The white environment and dark skies are balanced out with smooth shading, the colourful outfits on the team and great use of lighting and shadows during the fight.
My thoughts on adding Jimmy to the team are a bit mixed and I didn’t care much about him either way, but this is otherwise a great comic. The original 5 keep coming back together for a reason, and Bunn writes them very well. The potential villains at the end of this issue could be an interesting longer conflict. Because of the focus on a character I don’t care much about, I didn’t enjoy this issue as much as the previous three, but I still enjoyed it. X-Men Blue is worth recommending to X-Men fans, especially fans of the original 5.