Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Jackson Guice
Well, it's about time Ultimate Origins started. Only took three issues. They could have taken those last two or three pages about Wolverine being the first mutant in the first issue, slapped it at the start of this issue and I'd be singing the Ultimate Origins series as the big ticket summer event this year, that's how much I enjoyed this issue.
Coming in with low expectations and expecting to see Magneto and Xavier just drinking tea and repeating stuff from the early Ultimate X-Men series probably helped make this issue appear better than it was, but, as of this writing, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens next month in this event.
For one, this issue actually told me something new about these characters. Apparently, Magneto's mother was a geneticist of some kind and was working on Wolverine with the Canadian government. We're not told how Magneto, and every other mutant, got their powers, but I imagine they implanted something from Wolverine in either Magneto or his mother to cause him to become a mutant.
When Magneto found out about Wolverine and what they were doing to him, he, expectedly, set him free after killing everyone at the facility, including his own mother. We don't find out what happens to Logan or Erik after this, but they both end up going their separate ways.
From here, we flash forward a bit to when Erik first meets Xavier and we see a throwback to the old 616 Magneto's first appearance where he had pyschic powers. Seems Ultimate Magneto's mind is impenetrable to Xavier's telepathic powers, even without the funky metal helmet. I'm not sure how this works with what's been shown of his need for the helmet to block out Xavier n Ultimate X-Men (maybe he learns how to break Magneto's defenses over time?), but I found this to be an interesting change and something worthy of the Ultimate Origins label.
From here, we see the budding friendship between Xavier and Magneto and their setting up of camp in the Savage Land with several other non-descript mutants (I couldn't make them out and they weren't named).
If that was all that happened, I don't think it would be something worth gushing over, but Bendis finally busts out the Ultimate Watcher with that creepy HAL-like lantern thing that showed up in storage in previous issues. While we still get no answers as to what it is or what its purpose is, we see it present for Magneto's creation of his Savage Land citadel and, later, with dozens of the lantern-like objects showing up all over the present day Ultimate Universe, specifically at locations such as Spider-Man's home, in front of the Avengers, etc.
Is it a 'bad' thing? Is it sentient? Is it some villain's weapon? I'm going on the assumption that it only activates for key events, like Captain America's 'birth' or Magneto's mutant agenda stepping up, but why is it showing up everywhere in the present day? Sadly, I think the answer is that Loeb is about to irrevocably destroy these characters, but I'm hoping Bendis will answer this by the end of this mini-series.
Verdict - Must Read. Skip the first two issues, they have nothing new or interesting to offer. This event starts here and it's well worth picking up.