Graphic Novel Review: All-New X-Men: The Ultimate Adventure

All-New X-Men: The Ultimate Adventure

All-New X-Men: The Ultimate Adventure - Credit: Archant

The teenage original X-Men meet their counterparts from the Ultimate Universe...

(Panini Books)

The Ultimate Universe is a world one step removed from our own, where mutants were created by genetic manipulation, superheroes are generally licensed by the government, and the US has withstood tidal waves, catastrophic civil war, the assassination of President Captain America, and an assault by the planet-eating Galactus… It is also a comics imprint on its last legs.

Despite numerous attempts to relaunch the Ultimate brand, the halcyon days of the line’s earliest years, which saw critically acclaimed versions of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers (albeit known here as the Ultimates), are long since over, and this summer it is expected to merge with the original Marvel U as part of the epic Secret Wars crossover event.

But for now, the surviving books, including the only successful title, which stars the teenage Miles Morales as Spidey, are heading towards this inevitable conclusion with all the dignity they can muster. This is perhaps why imprint founding writer Brian Michael Bendis has chosen now for a crossover with the mainstream All-New X-Men title.

While the members of Cyclops’ outlaw band of mutants attend the will reading of the late Charles Xavier, the time-tossed band of original X-Men – Angel, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and new recruit X-23 - now living in the present find themselves thrown into the Ultimate Universe by a dimension-hopping new addition to the Homo Superior race.

Displaced across the world, the teen mutants find themselves face-to-face with alternate versions of people they know, and are forced to come to terms with this vastly different Earth before eventually joining forces with this reality’s X-Men, under the leadership of their Jean Grey.

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The two Jeans link their psychic powers in a bid to find a way home for the dimensionally-displaced team, but reckoned without the involvement of this world’s Doctor Doom…

Miles Morales, as the most high-profile hero from the line, obviously gets more screen-time than anyone else, but that’s to be expected. What is nice though, is that in between the action sequences BMB makes a point of focusing on his characters, with particular attention to the traumas experienced by the Ultimate Jean Grey, and the dark future which the Marvel version is expecting to come to pass…

As a last hurrah for the Ultimate Universe, this is a satisfying look at what it was that made these books so different from their mainstream cousins, and using the All-New X-Men as point-of-view characters is a neat way of highlighting the contrasts between their world and that of their Ultimate counterparts.

There are still a few months to go before the Ultimate line of titles is folded, and one must hope that that it goes out with the bang such a genre-defining and industry-shaping imprint deserves.