Review by: Nick Fovargue

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Avg Rating: 4.1
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WRITER: Jeph Loeb
PENCILS: Arthur Adams
COLORED BY: Christian Lichtner
COVER BY: Arthur Adams

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

Unlike the other “Ultimate Comics” re-launches this is the one title that seems like a fresh start in a new direction. I say it seems like a new direction because two issues in it is still unclear just what the series direction actually is. Each issue has given an origin and introduction to one character who will presumably make up the main cast of the series. If the rest of the opening arc continues this way it could be some time before we see more of the intent here than just the obvious premise of a group of young mutants banding together in an increasingly hostile world.

In this issue we are introduced to Karen through the narration of her boyfriend. For a long time I we get is that the boyfriend has a big crush on her and she is a bit distant, and that she gets dressed telekinetically. We learn that Karen works at the local mall and boyfriend is the clichéd security guard. This is a bit confusing because Karen is drawn to resemble a high school sophomore and boyfriend looks to be creeping up on middle age.

Inevitably, Karen secrets are revealed, one is her being a mutant and the other is her true identity. I won’t spoil her identity but it is pretty obvious by about page three. The results of Karen’s secrets being outed are arbitrary, tragic and not terribly convincing but they do serve to push Karen out of the safe life she has created and into the story of this series, or I am assuming it does once a story actually gets started. If that summary sounds a bit underwhelming for the plot of a second issue of a new series to you, you have it about right. This is all kind of unremarkable but what it is not is bad, which makes it quite a bit better than I think most of us would have expected.

I am not familiar with Arthur Adams but the art here is extremely good looking, if a little too Manga-influenced for my tastes. However if this is a style of art that appeals to you then you might want to follow the series for the art alone. That said I do have two nits to pick with the art. The first is the depiction of the age of the main female characters which seems needlessly and artificially child-like. The second nit is the opening sequence which needlessly overly sexualizes Karen. In fact one panel shows Karen from behind and in possession of breasts that seems impossible to exist on her very slight frame. Neither of these issues is uncommon in superhero comics but when you put them together it just seems creepy to me.

I firmly believe that I only picked up the first issue of this series is because I am a sucker for X-Men and for first issues and too my surprise it turned out to be … not bad. Considering what Loeb has been up to lately I am still amazed I picked this up but now two issues in I am sticking to it at least for now.

Story: 2 - Average
Art: 3 - Good

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