Ultimate X-Men (2024) #1 Review

Joe Meola ‘25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Ultimate X-Men #1 Cover Art by Peach Momoko, Image via Marvel Comics

This Article Contains Spoilers for Ultimate X-Men (2024) #1

Content Warning: Bullying, Depression, and Suicide

Marvel’s new Ultimate Universe is still going strong! After successful debut issues of Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Black Panther, Ultimate X-Men marks the third ongoing series in this bold new take on the Marvel Comics library of characters. 

Written and illustrated by Japanese comic creator Peach Momoko, this new take on the X-Men does not revolve around popular faces like Wolverine, Storm, Professor X, or Cyclops, but rather on a somewhat lesser-known character who is still beloved by hardcore X-Men fans: Hisako Ichiki, better known as Armor.

Image via Marvel Comics

The issue opens with Hisako returning to her middle school for graduation following a recent leave of absence due to depression. At graduation, a girl hands her a boy’s second button, meaning he has a crush on her, but the boy is nowhere to be found. The button contains a note telling Hisako to meet the button’s mysterious owner at the temple behind the school. Despite thinking that this message is a prank, Hisako goes to the temple anyway, where she is greeted by a shadowy figure—who most likely is meant to be the Ultimate version of X-Men villain the Shadow King. This stranger hands her a charm shaped like a human encased in a suit of armor before talking about Hisako’s friend Tsubasa, who had originally gifted her that charm. 

Image via Marvel Comics

Tsubasa and Hisako were incredibly close, yet Hisako did not respond well to Tsubasa’s pleas for help when being bullied, and he eventually killed himself. The shadowy stranger implies that he was also friends with Tsubasa, and that his and Hisako’s shared ignorance of their friend’s plight caused his death. Furthermore, it is revealed that Tsubasa’s death triggered Hisako’s depressive episode, resulting in her prolonged absence from school.

The figure vanishes, and Hisako is met by an apparition of Tsubasa hanging in midair. She bikes away as fast as she can and is nearly hit by a speeding car. However, as the car is about to hit her, she is protected by a large suit of armor that surrounds her, which resembles the armor depicted in the charm given to her by the shadowy figure.

Image via Marvel Comics

The next morning, Hisako returns to the temple to retrieve her diploma that she dropped there, and she is met again by the stranger, who asks Hisako to join him. She refuses, and he attacks her. However, Hisako is protected by her armor. As the armor crushes the shadowy man, he tells Hisako that his “curse is already in motion,” and that someone she knows will be the first victim. 

Image via Marvel Comics


Then, Hisako receives a phone call telling her that Tsubasa’s coach, who had been bullying him, hung himself.

Like stated previously, this series largely does not focus on a cast of popular X-Men characters. In fact, while this series is set to feature an ensemble cast, there is only one principal character in this first issue, while the rest of the cast will be introduced over time across at least the next three issues. 

Ultimate X-Men #4 Cover Art by Peach Momoko, Featuring (Top to Bottom) Natsu (Series Original Character), Armor, Nico Minoru, Maystorm (Series Original Character), and Rogue. Image via Marvel Comics

Another important detail to make note of is that mutants—the subclass of humanity that the X-Men typically belong to—are not mentioned at all in this issue. Only time will tell if mutants even exist in this new version of the Ultimate Universe, as it is highly possible that the main cast’s powers are magical in nature. For example, it appears that Hisako’s powers are coming from the charm that Tsubasa gave her, and it has been revealed that another main character in the series will be Nico Minoru, a character from the Runaways comics who is famously a magic user and not a mutant.

Image via Marvel Comics


It’s clear that this series is going to be a bit of a slower burn than the likes of Ultimate Spider-Man or Ultimate Black Panther, as much less actually occurs in this issue than in the first issues of those series. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth noting in case you were looking for a more fast-paced and action-packed X-Men story. 

Like the previous two “Ultimate” ongoing series, the art in this issue is an incredibly strong point, and that alone is worth the cost of admission. While one could argue that this is the weakest of the three Ultimate books story-wise, the exact opposite is true of its art. Momoko utilizes a manga-esque art style reminiscent of that of renowned mangakas like Junji Ito. This, coupled with watercolor-style coloration, makes this comic stand out from any other American comic book currently on stands. 

This is absolutely a series worth checking out. Ultimate X-Men offers a truly fresh take on the X-Men that fans will regret missing.

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