This book was originally solicited for August of 2010. It’s a little bit late. In the case of any book featuring art by Art Adams, however, it’s better late than never. I’ve bought entire issues for the simple fact that they have an Adams cover, so having an entire issue (and to this point, series) done by him is definitely worth my time and money.
Adams’ art is kinetic and fun, detailed, yet cartoony and playfully serious. Among my most memorable X-Men related reading experiences is the “Uncanny X-Men Annual” #9 from 1985. That featured Adams’ work in a story that mixed together the majesty and wonder of Asgard with the inspired and electrifying X-Men and New Mutants. Adams’ visuals are as satisfying now as they were then. He brings an unnatural balance between cartoon and realism, detail and presumption. The end result is a book that, combined with Steigerwald’s colors, is a visual treat.
Jeph Loeb continues to rebuild the Ultimate world from the wreckage left behind by “Ultimatum.” As he has with the previous three issues, he introduces us to a mutant through the voice of one close to that mutant. Over the course of the story, however, Loeb tosses in a few surprises, such as the relationship that mutant has to another one. Also of note, and a fun little subplot certain to blossom into something bigger, is the appearance of a mutant from the early days of the Marvel Universe. This returning character throws a curve into this series and sets the stage for drama in the future.
Yeah, it’s a late comic, but the tardiness doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Whether you’ve chosen the path I have of re-reading the previous issues to re-acclimate yourself with the story to date or you’re jumping in with both feet, this is a comic that has fun being a comic, delivers a good story along the way, and provides you with art quite unlike any other comic on the stands nowadays.
I’ve enjoyed the issues of this series to date, and this issue is certainly no exception. The team being assembled has a quirky combination of characters certain to provide more entertaining developments through character interaction growth as this series continues. Loeb and Adams have given us a book that is loaded with winks and nods, salutes to readers new and old, fans of the Ultimate universe and the 616. More than anything else, this is a comic worth waiting for.