Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pull List Review: Ultimate Comics X-Men #14

At one point in Ultimate Comics X-Men #14, Kitty Pryde says she's tired of waiting for bad things to happen to her and her friends. And I agree. Kitty told her allies and the readers last issue that she had a plan, that it was time to start fighting back, and when our heroes hit the road I assumed that plan would be under way presently. Instead, we get an issue that mostly comes across as stalling. Brian Wood does a lot of strong characterization in this issue, but very little story beyond that. The only conflict that does arise is dealt with almost too easily, and then almost too predictably, it shows back up at the end and becomes a real problem. Before and in between, we have a dull road trip story that never gets anywhere.

I suppose Wood is setting the stage. He reminds us what the state of the country currently is in the Ultimate Universe, and why Kitty and crew are doing what they're doing. But I didn't need that reminder, and in providing it Wood also finds a feasible excuse to quickly brush aside the most interesting aspect of Nick Spencer's time on the title: the voices Rogue and many other characters seem to hear in their heads, the apparitions of dead loved ones returning to speak to them. Effectively, through Kitty's narration, we are told to forget about that particular detail for now, because there's no time for it. It's a weak move, and not enough new, interesting stuff takes place to fill the space left by removing what has come before. There is an out-of-nowhere romantic spark between Kitty and Johnny that might lead to something further along but, here, feels forced and too brief. Wood is still trying to reshape this series, but I felt like he'd done enough of that in his first issue, and what he should've been doing here was diving head first into those ideas instead of continuing to shuffle and introduce others.

I still have high hopes for the new direction this title seems to be moving in, but this was a lackluster opening to its part in the first event of the newest Ultimate line.

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