Return to Weapon X

May 13th, 2005
This entry is part [part not set] of 2 in the series Ultimate X-Men

Back to the land of superheroes in tights for us, since I picked up the second volume of this series for a measly 4 bucks at Target (this is the first time I’ve ever seen a graphic novel that was staple-bound rather than flat-spine bound, which I’m sure accounts for its value). The art is changed slightly, with Adam Kubert taking over entirely (both he and his brother Andy did work on volume 1), but I didn’t mind the change too much since the style is kept largely the same, if not quite as dynamic. This volume deals with Xavier and his crew’s abduction and involuntary enlistment in a re-imagined Weapon X program, now administered as a sub-branch of an apparently chronically underfunded S.H.I.E.L.D., using mutants to do the dirty work when “regular” agents might not be able to. Speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D., we get to have some fun with Nick Fury in this one, as his mechanically enabled abilities are cut on and off by the second based on what accounting will and will not allow to be expensed. We get to see the X-Men *not* having fun, dealing with their imprisonment and increasingly ethically challenged missions under Weapon X’s sadistic commander Wraith (shadowed by Sabertooth, whose look didn’t really do it for me), and the introduction of a completely non-English speaking but very well depicted Nightcrawler. Hard choices for Marvel Girl in particular in this one, perhaps foreshadowing a future slide? Although the title implies it, Wolverine’s role is not especially central in this volume but, like in the first, it’s crucial for its resolution. One suspects that Millar et alia are trying not to focus overly much on the character many people feel is most compelling of the original X-men, but can’t help using him to resolve the hairy messes that make up their plots. He’s just too badass to not be used. If The Tomorrow People worked for you, go ahead and pick this one up. More gritty X-goodness.

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