This collects the first two trade paperbacks or first twelve issues of Grant Morrison’s soft reboot of the X-Men franchise, often called New X-Men, from 2001. There is also the X-Men annual 2001 which, whilst you could technically leave out, should probably have been part of the series.
This is a fun romp and is a great place for new readers to come on board from any of the film franchises or the cartoons. It is a self-contained story so you could stop reading after this volume but it does continue if you are hooked.
It really doesn’t deserve the term Ultimate as it isn’t hardback or oversize and there are a mere eight pages of lacklustre bonus art as extras. The cover is barely thicker than the pages and will certainly show signs of wear very quickly. The paper is glossy and the images are crisp and clear.
The art is good, if traditional, and five separate artists contribute just to the drawing. What is unusual is the annual is designed in landscape format unlike every other previous Marvel comic which came in portrait. When you open it all up it is like you are reading one of the old “Giant Size” X-Men comics from the sixties. Or an issue of 2000AD. Whist this is a gimmick and adds nothing to the form or function of the piece, save for inconveniencing you as you have to turn it sideways, bravo for trying something different.