Ultimate X-Men vol. 9 & 10
Vol. 9 - The Tempest
As The Tempest begins, we join the X-Men as they find out a killer mas been murdering young mutants. They find this out from Northstar (in his Ultimate Debut) as he lays in a comma after the murder's bullet missed his heart thanks to his super speed and reflexes (though, it sounds like they're not quite fast enough). Marvel Girl is able to pull an image from his mind and after a little research at tattoo parlor, they find out the man is named Nathaniel Essex and he calls himself Sinister. As we see Sinister, we find that he is working for Lord Apocalypse as he needs ten "sacrifices" in order to return and claim his rule. Xavier thinks it's best to send out the older class of X-Men, leaving the "rookies"(Iceman, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Angel and Shadowcat) behind at the school with him. We are in for a surprise, though. As Wolverine and Storm raid Sinister's apartment, they find a dummy dressed in a crazy Apocalypse outfit, suggesting Sinister is a crazy fool. They also find his clippings showing that he is heading to the school, looking for Xavier. It then falls squarely on the shoulders of the "rookies" to stop him. And guess what. They do. Yay! However, once taken into captivity, Sinister is visited by the real Apocalypse, showing he may not be as crazy as we thought. And Storm went all punk as a way of trying to deal with the death of Beast.
It's almost immediately apparent right off the bat how different Brian K Vaughn's writing is from that of Bendis or Millar. As big and flashy and good as they were, Vaughn has a knack for writing characters more than action and it shows. He makes you feel for these characters more than we have so far and that's a great thing to have.
Vol. 10 - Cry Wolf
During some much needed R&R, the X-Men are attacked while at the fair by none other that Mr. Gambit himself. Turns out he's here to "steal" Rogue. As they did with Gambit, turns out the Van Strucker siblings (the weird brother and sister team that need to be in skin contact with each other to make their blast powers work...) want Rogue to work for them and their company, helping mutants. The main reason she should join? They have a suit that stops controls her powers, making it possible for her to experience human touch. Which she does with Gambit. After they reveal she will die if she doesn't join, Gambit turns on them because "this wasn't what he signed on for". He and Rogue take out the Weirdo Siblings and run into Wolverine who is there to rescue Rogue along with the rest of the X-Men. After a smack-down with Gambit, Rogue steps in to stop him, claiming to the team that she is leaving them and going with Gambit because he can offer her more than they can...
Remember when I was telling you how much I loved the first story Gambit was in? Well, this is the reason I quickly came to hate him again. He lost all the new charm and heart that Chuck Austen gave him at the start and became the "I want to love Rogue" crap he is everywhere else. As well written as this story still was, easily my least favorite so far. I'm just glad Gambit dies the next time we see him...
Next Up: Vaughn teams with Stuart Immonen for The Most Dangerous Game