These are really, really hard to review individually and even harder to schedule so they’re in order. The events of Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics X-Men fall between issues 3 and 4 of the Cataclysm: Ultimates’ Last Stand, or so I’m led to believe.
This is really why I don’t think that massive crossover events work well, especially when they all come out at different times. If you’re trying to read them chronologically, you have to read the first couple of issues of one book, then stop reading that book entirely for a couple of months while you read a different book, then go back.
So I’m going to completely ignore what’s going on in the regular Cataclysm book and just talk about the events in these three issues. Granted, that might not make a lot of sense in the long run, but hey, I can only play with the hand I’m dealt.
After the fall of Tian, the Ultimate X-Men try to regroup and grieve over their losses. However, we get the “purple skies” event and suddenly, Galactus is there. No, I will not call him Ga-lak-tus. Deal with it. In a panic, Pixie teleports the whole crew to a seemingly empty universe, but it’s not as empty as they thought and suddenly, the Galactus Swarm attacks. Things look dire for the X-Men until Rick Jones in his Captain Marvel guise shows up and evens things a bit, but there are just too many in the swarm and they’re going to die if they can’t figure out how to escape back to Earth. Of course, lots of people die, the whole book is just violence porn, it’s various characters either getting offed, or looking like they’re going to get offed and while I know this is the death throes of the Ultimate universe, it really loses it’s impact after a while.
There’s also a really disturbing thread of immaturity that I utterly hated. You’re in a fight for your life, in a graveyard of your friends, having fun and acting like a kid should not be on the menu. Yes, I’m looking at you Iceman. His antics really did make the sorrow and seriousness of the rest of the story a little less meaningful. Rick Jones wasn’t much better.
Visually, this is a beautiful book. The work of Alvaro Martinez and Jordie Bellaire match the tone of the book perfectly and the covers by Mariusz Siergiejew are beautiful. However, I really feel like these three issues were more of a cash-grab than anything else. Not much really happened. Oh sure, we got the confirmation that Rick Jones was the new Captain Marvel, but most people had figured that out already. I just don’t think that the whole trip to the other universe and the running fight with the Galactus Swarm really means anything in the larger picture. It’s just Marvel saying “go spend some time watching the X-Men getting their asses kicked and pay us $12 for the privilege”. Eh, a meaningless battle really doesn’t impress me, sorry. Maybe it’s because I largely got tired of the whole Ultimate universe a while back and now that they’re ending it, I’m having a hard time being excited by the whole thing, especially since I thought Age of Ultron was such a disappointment.