In an interview with our own News Editor, Kiel Phegley, Jeph Loeb says that this issue is “an entry point designed to get you hooked.” What he doesn’t say is that the bait on the hook is Art Adams drawing this issue. Adams turns in phenomenally detailed yet buoyantly composed art as only Arthur Adams can deliver it. His characters are instantly real yet cartoony — full of life, and not afraid to live it.
Loeb does a great job of pouring a sturdy foundation here. Whether the Ultimate Universe was your favorite slice of Marvel’s publishing plan, or if you’re trying this issue because it’s a #1 and you only have passing knowledge of the Marvel characters from movies, or if you’re a lapsed fan who saw Adams back on art, so you figured you’d be back on reading — this book has something for you. It’s not the greatest single comic book ever, but it is a great comic book. This is the archetypical comic story that some readers will one day point back to and say, “That was the single greatest issue I ever read.”
The characters used here are instantly familiar, yet elusive to longtime Ultimate and regular Marvel comics readers. James Hudson is here, with his wife Heather. Kitty Pryde makes an appearance too. For me, the combination of Loeb’s ability to craft a story to the strengths of his artist, the mysterious combination of powers wielded by Jimmy Hudson, and Arthur Adams’ art is more than enough to come back next month. In the interim, I guarantee I’ll pick this book up again.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe is a very unsettled place right now, filled with tension and uncertainty. Loeb didn’t clue us in to what the “X” in the title stood for, save to say if we think this book is just about mutants then we are sorely mistaken. For now, I think the “X” is code for “eXcelsior!,” as this issue hearkens back to the early days of Marvel Comics when anything could — and did — happen. This book is set up with Jimmy Hudson being our central character, set to make a journey through who knows what. This creative team seems poised to make it exciting, and I’m ready to join them.