Jean Grey has left Tian and made her way to Utopia. Mach Two and Psylocke probe Shola and Warpath after finding out they met and made a deal with Jimmy Hudson. Tension builds and it seems Jean Grey may be at Utopia for other reasons.
This is one of those issues where I don't know what to talk about first because I found myself enthralled with it all. This book has gone through quite a few artists in the past year: Paco Medina, Carlo Barberi, and now, Mahmud Asrar. All three of these artists have pretty distinct styles and lucky for the reader, all three of these artists are fantastic. Juan Vlasco is still inking this book, so there is a bit a familiarity to longtime readers, but everything else about this book, art wise, is fantastic. Asrar's art reminds me a lot of Becky Cloonan's work on DEMO here. It was a slight anime feel, but mature at the same time. The art tells the story, but it doesn't distract from it. Jordie Bellaire's colors add to the distinct style. Bellaire works more with minimalism here. The shadow edges are hard, and when character's are accessing their memories, Bellaire's color palette shifts towards tones of somewhere in between purple and pink. I found it to be a very cool choice.
I love Jean's role in this issue. I really enjoy what writer Brian Wood is doing with her character. She has heavy attachment to Tian and Zorn and Xorn, and while the reader may assume what she's doing there, it's still completely unsure whether or not she's in Utopia to help or to destroy it.
What I found most appealing about this issue is that I feel like I don't know who to side with now. I was a big fan of what Kitty was doing, in prior issues, but now that Jimmy has stated his plans and Mach Two has as well, and we have Jean Grey there, I feel like I'm being a bit torn between characters. I love this.
The ending is completely out of left field. I like where it's going, but the focus, on the last two pages, completely changes. We are treated to this wonderful story about in-fighting and who truly leads the mutants, and then, all of the sudden, it's General Ross and a small army going to raid on Utopia. Don't get me wrong. I like that idea for a story, but it didn't fit with the rest of the issue.
There's a reason I keep calling ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN my favorite book in the Ultimate line: It's awesome. Brian Wood came off the heels of some great storytelling from Jonathon Hickman (in ULTIMATES) and created his own story, which I somehow found to be more interesting. I love the build-up and the in-fighting here. It's brewing up to something that I'm sure will be spectacular.
Overall, I highly recommend this isue.