With Ultimatum finally, mercifully over, the task now falls to the “Requiem” titles to give the ongoing titles their respective funerals. And in the case of the Ultimate X-Men, that’s almost literally.
There’s very little that can be said, at this point. With the majority of the book’s cast killed in – often senselessly, or off-panel, or both – in Ultimatum, the few remaining X-Men gather at the mansion to bury their dead and go their separate ways. The surviving X-Men, for those interested, means Iceman, Shadowcat, Jean and Rogue. Everyone else is literally shown dead, before Jean telekinetically buries them, and Iceman destroys the X-Mansion.
A brief, pointless skirmish with the brotherhood punctuates the issue, as Mystique, Sabretooth and the hilarious “glad he doesn’t have a 616 counterpart” Avengers robot, Assemble, turn up to suggest the X-Men and Brotherhood club together. In light of their role in Ultimatum (particularly the Blob, who was shown EATING the Wasp on-panel, lest we forget) their insistence that it was mainly Magneto’s fault doesn’t remotely ring true. Similarly, if their insistance that “no superhumans will be safe now” were true, I doubt they’d have made it to the X-Mansion in the first place. But let’s be fair. Picking holes in the storytelling of anything related to Ultimatum is like shooting some very large fish in a suspiciously undersized barrel. There are a few things salvageable from this issue.
Captain America’s brief, almost mute appearance, for example, is a nice touch, though it’s not clear why his face isn’t shown. Perhaps there’s more to it, perhaps it’s just an odd piece of draughtsmanship, but either way it feels a bit too deliberate to dismiss. Similarly, Iceman’s reluctance to tear down what’s left of the X-Men makes for a nice moment. Strangely, after Ultimatum went to specific lengths to show Wolverine’s remaining, flesh-covered arm by way of teasing a potential resurrection, this issue shows it stripped down to the bone and even points out that whatever Magneto did destroyed all of the living tissue, meaning definitely no resurrection backdoor for Wolverine here, nuh-uh. We think.
Personally, I was never that attached to Ultimate X-Men, since it never quite found a tone that distinguished it from its 616 incarnation – at least, not positively. This send off shows some decent writing from Coleite and it’s always great to see Mark Brooks on art, but even their fitting coda to the series doesn’t really to address the fact that the Ultimate X-Men never had much of a point, and even though stopping Magneto was, arguably, something the X-Men should’ve done, it’s telling that Coleite doesn’t spend much time addressing the thematics of their failure – only the mechanics of it.