By Loeb & Adams
Go on then, let's do a superhero book. Must be all that Avengers success.
If there's one comic artist who'll make you sit up and take notice then it's Arthur Adams, whose phenomenally detailed and utterly brilliant artwork are an absolute joy to take in. He recently teamed up with Jeff Loeb to bring us Ultimate X: Origins (or Ultimate Comics X: Origins, depending where on the book you're reading).
It's all set in the alternative Marvel Universe that gave birth to the re-imagining of the Avengers as the Ultimates, the highly successful (critically, artistically and financially) series that acted as a template for the Avengers movie, including a Nick Fury illustrated to look like Samuel L Jackson long before any casting had taken place. The whole Ultimate universe is a little grittier, a little bloodier, and a lot more likely for the status quo to change, so generally the creators get to do things here that they can't do in the regular Marvel Universe.
Ultimate X follows on from the Ultimatum storyline where many of the heroes were wiped out. All mutants are now required by law to hand themselves in despite the sacrifices they've made in the past, and the book opens with a young mutant involved in a reckless piece of racing that sees him crashing his car and his mangled body slowly put itself back together again. He later receives a visit and learns that his father isn't who he thought he was, throwing his whole life off kilter. What follows is a series of chapters where we're introduced to new characters with similar secrets who are slowly added to form a small band of misfits. The only oddity here is the Utimate Universe's version of the Hulk, who feels a little bit of an afterthought, but I'm sure the idea is to set the ball rolling with this opening series and then let someone else roll with the results should it be deemed a success.
Is it a success, though? Well, it's a nicely done multi-character piece, it weaves in the familiar with the new, and it's got page after page, panel after panel, of the seriously sensational artwork, so even if it never goes beyond these few chapters it's a wonderfully presented self-contained book that you can't help but enjoy. Without these two creators at the helm it may well end up a different kettle of fish, but that's not really a concern here. It's a good read and worth the money for the artwork alone.
And if you enjoyed that: Look out for Modern Masters: Arthur Adams