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Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 Paperback – April 26, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The economical paperback Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Collection Vol. 1 represents the first year of the mutant team, issues 1-12 plus issue 1/2 that took place between issues 6 and 7. Ultimate X-Men was created as part of Marvel's Ultimate line, which starting with Ultimate Spider-Man "rebooted" popular series from the beginning so newer readers could dive into them without having to learn 40 years of character backstories. (They also use a more dynamic, cinematic style.) In the case of the X-Men, that meant reconfiguring Professor Xavier's opening roster to include Cyclops, a punk Jean Grey, Beast, Ice Man, Colossus, Storm, and a psychopathic secret weapon named Wolverine. In the first of the two six-issue story arcs, The Tomorrow People, we meet the team and their mission to protect the human race against Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, whose desire to establish homo superior's proper place above normal humanity leads the U.S. President to deploy the mutant killing machines, the Sentinels. The second arc, Return to Weapon X sags a little by deemphasizing the team in favor of the government agents behind the Weapon X project. Written by Mark Millar, with pencils mostly by Adam Kubert and Andy Kubert, with assists from Tom Raney and Thomas Derenick. --David Horiuchi

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; Direct Ed edition (April 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785121870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785121879
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I must say I'm surprised at the harsh criticism that is directed at the Ultimate X-Men series and this volume in particular. I was a skeptic when the whole "Ultimate" non-continuity line was announced a few years ago, but at this point Ultimate X-Men is the only X-title I bother with aside from Joss Whedon's excellent Astonishing X-Men series.

Ultimate X-Men is about more than just jettisoning 40 years of continuity and starting over. It's about a fresh start for our favorite characters. The X-Men always worked best as troubled teenagers and hated outcasts, and that part of the characters has been lost in the "real" titles in favor of complicated crossovers and constantly killing (and reviving) classic characters. I'd challenge anyone to drag your reprints off the shelf and re-read X-Men #1 and Giant Sized X-Men #1. The spirit of those two monumental X-Men issues flows through the pages of Ultimate X-Men. Criticizing Millar's writing style or Kubert's art is one thing, but I can't see how any objective reader can challenge this title's spirit or heart.

On to the actual stories collected in this volume:

The Tomorrow People starts much like Giant Sized X-Men #1 did, with the individual X-Men being identified and drafted to Professor X's cause. The team is redefined as a group of teenagers, just as Lee and Kirby's originally intended. This lends the characters some wild energy and emotional volatility that keep even the most mundane situations interesting. The other interesting revamp is casting Magneto and his Brotherhood as terrorists rather than just super-villains. Sure, Magneto has always been a terrorist, but more on a "steal some nukes" scale rather than "bomb government buildings and kill civilians".
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Format: Paperback
This series does get better, but this first volume is seriously flawed. I refer you to the brilliant review written by Brown Rage from 2006 on the Hardcover edition of this book for his great points on the dialog and artwork, and I'll just skip those elements in my own review.

Mr Millar, the writer, seems to have a fundamentally hard time writing likable characters. It is well known that he hates super-hero comics. Yet, apparently to pay the rent, he keeps writing about them, usually in completely over-the-top reincarnations or re-imaginings in which he gets to transform them into jerky versions of themselves.

Take a look at his work in the Ultimates, Civil War, or Wanted, wherein you can see him writing stories that revolve around self-centered and arrogant people acting out.

Which brings us to his re-work of the X-men. The X-men is no sacred cow for me, mess with them all you want. But the book still needs to have some internal logic, and some compelling characters that you care about (beyond the reference to the mainstream incarnations in other books). But in Ultimate X-men, the characters are all asinine, arrogant, mean, stupid, or just plain irrational.

Most troublesome are the irrational characters, and most troublesome of those is Professor X. His actions and motivations are completely inexplicable, and seem to change from page to page. The only compelling and consistent aspect of his "vision" of mutant/human harmony is the incredible wealth he and his students are able to tap into- the only motivation I can see for any of the X-men joining up with him. (This character only gets worse in the second volume, btw.
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Format: Paperback
This graphic novel collects the 12 issues in the first year of Mark Millar's Ultimate X-Men and covers two story arcs: 1) `The Tomorrow People' and 2) `Return to Weapon X'.

In the first story arc, `The Tomorrow People', the world is on the brink of genetic war after the emergence of mutants, humans who possess special abilities due to an activated X-gene in their DNA. In fear of mutantkind, mankind has created Sentinels, giant robots that can identify the mutant gene and are programmed with one directive: identify mutants and terminate them. We are introduced to two opposing mutant groups: the world's most powerful telepath Professor Xavier and his X-Men, who have a vision of a world in which humans and mutants can live together in peace and harmony, and terrorist master of magnetism Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, who believe that mutantkind are the next stage of evolution, and are meant to replace mankind, not live in harmony with them. Magneto wants to bring about the all-out genetic war that he believes will result in mutantkind finally destroying humankind and inheriting the earth that he feels is rightfully theirs, whereas Xavier believes that such an all-out war would inevitably mean the extinction of all, man and mutant. But when the US government discover the whereabouts of Magneto's secret base - the Savage Land - and dispatch a fleet of Sentinels there to kill Magneto and all his followers, the life of every human man, woman and child in America is in danger, because Magneto will respond to this attack with terrible wrath, and determine to kill every non-mutant in America in one stroke. Can Xavier's X-Men stop this genocide, and the madman that is Magneto?
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