Comic Review – “Ultimate X-Men Vol. 4: Hellfire and Brimstone”

Phoenix makes her first Ultimate appearance. Don’t blink, or you might miss it.

General Information

Title: Ultimate X-Men Vol. 4: Hellfire and Brimstone
Author: Mark Millar
Illustrator(s): Andy Kubert, Danny Miki, and Kaare Andrews
Original Publication Date: 2003 reprint of material first published
from 2002-2003
ISBN: 0-7851-1089-5
Cover Price: $12.99US, $21.00 Can
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The X-Men deal with the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, a potential
PR fiasco, and the Hellfire Club.

High Point

The attitude of this Phoenix.

Low Point

The entire Hellfire club arc was dealt with in a single issue. It was
an oversized issue, granted, but it still deserved more room. I
really hope that story isn’t over.

The Scores

This felt original, by virtue of being a relatively eventless
collection. Apart from the last two issues in the set, nothing really
happened. It felt like a filler before another story ark to me. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork was by different artists, and showed a wide
variety in quality. The transition from one artist to another was
jarring to say the least. Some of the art was nice, but some of it
was too small, or large and yet still lacking detail. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The story was bland. As I said above, it felt like a lot of
filler before a very rushed story and conclusion. The plotlines
definitely needed to be redistributed. I give it 3 out of 6.

The characterization was limited. Characters were consistent
with what we’ve seen of them before, but we didn’t learn much that was
new about anyone but Beast. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was strong during the
set-up in the first issue, and then it died until the last issue’s
wrap up, which was weak. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow worked in most cases, because so little was
happening. Everything had a meandering pace to it. I give it 4 out
of 6.

Overall, a lackluster turnout from this team. Well, Mark
Miller only has two more Ultimate X-Men story arks to be
released in trade paperback (Ultimate War, collected in April, and the
current comic storyline) before Brian Michael Bendis takes over for
one story. Let’s hope this is a minor blip. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Ultimate X-Men Vol. 4: Hellfire and Brimstone
receives 25 out of 42.

2 replies on “Comic Review – “Ultimate X-Men Vol. 4: Hellfire and Brimstone””

  1. Not “ark”…
    …story arc! Y’know, like in the curvy geometric figure rather than the really big boat. :)

    Other than that, I won’t have much of a comment until I sit down tonight and read the TPB.

  2. So I read it last night…
    …and it wasn’t half bad. I don’t think it was as good as the previous volumes, but it was still worth the cash.

    I really liked Millar’s take on the Hellfire Club, although like our intrepid reviewer, I thought that story arc was way too short and underdeveloped. Interesting take on the Phoenix Force also, but that had better not be all there is to it.

    The Brotherhood of Mutants I could do without, though. Prosimian? That just doesn’t even make sense, considering the guy looks like an ape and prosimians definitely aren’t apes. Who was the guy with the spiky things for hair and the mottled yellow arms? He was shooting pool in that one scene.

    Other things I liked: this version of Kitty Pryde; the creepy ending scene; Iceman’s stand; Kitty’s mother; and Storm washing dishes (although I don’t really know why).

    Thing I really disliked: the Savage Land excursion of Cyclops and Wolverine. Pointless and boring.

    One complaint about the series as a whole: Why do I feel like Millar has a checklist of classic X-Men stories he wants to “ultimatize” during his run? Let’s see: Magneto? Check. Wolverine’s origin? Check. Proteus? Check. Phoenix? Check. I wish he’d do more with the nearly blank slate the Ultimate line gives him and get away from the original stories more. Let’s see something completely new rather than old stories with a new twist.

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