Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate Comics’

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The final story of the Ultimate Marvel Universe continues with the third issue, but just because it’s the last one, does that also mean it’s a good one?  Let’s find out.

Ultimate End #3 gives us the lead up to what happened in issue #2 that led to a fight between the Ultimate Hulk and the Earth 616 Hulk while also showing some of the aftermath of the destruction their fight caused.  The inmates released after the Hulk fight wrecked a prison are starting to run rampant across New York City, and there’s one vigilante in particular who has taken it upon himself to stop them all.  Permanently.

Bendis is seemingly trying to tell two stories at once here.  One going backwards that tries to explain the end of the previous issue, and another going forward that shows the aftermath and gives a preview for what’s happening next.  Unfortunately, the end result is kind of confusing, and worse than that, just not really that interesting.  I also feel like the reason for the beginning of the Hulk fight is pretty weak, and the meeting of two other alternate reality characters that could have been immensely interesting is pretty much over before it even begins.

Bagley’s artwork in this issue is good.  I found no major flaws in it, but he does seem to be much more comfortable drawing books that focus on one single character vs. a book with large groups of characters.  His style has a distinct look to it that can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish who is who in a larger group.  Aside from that, I’m satisfied with the art in the series so far.

Unfortunately, for this being the last story in the Ultimate Universe, I’m a little disappointed so far.  It just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  I’m trying to hope for better as this series begins to near its conclusion, but it’s becoming more difficult to do so with each new issue that comes out.

The Verdict for Ultimate End #3:
3/5 – Meh…

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Secret Wars Journal #3
1872 #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Civil War #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Ghost Racers #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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In this newest run of Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis is really taking his time to flesh out the character of Miles Morales before he ever puts on the Spider-Man costume.  It’s a nice way to really let the audience get to know the person behind the mask.

This issue begins immediately after issue #1 ends, with Miles running down the street after discovering one of his new abilities, something Peter Parker never had.  He encounters a group of street kids who try to take his backpack from him and when Miles tries to fight back, he discovers another new ability, once again something Peter’s Spider-Man never had.  After the manifestation of these new powers, Miles runs to the home of one of his good friends, Ganke, proclaiming that he is a mutant.  Ganke doesn’t believe him and persuades Miles to show him his new tricks.  Miles shows him (it takes a few tries), then tells Ganke that he was bitten by a spider earlier in the day.  Shortly after this, Miles’ father comes into the room and tells his son that they are leaving.  Following this, Miles and his father have a very touching one-on-one conversation in a nearby park which I think is the focal point of this issue because it has the potential to play a major impact on this title and the path it heads down from here.

In this issue, Bendis again demonstrates his uncanny ability to write a very character driven story and give a very human aspect to superhuman people.  So far this is definitely the series with the most character development of all four books in the new Ultimate Comics imprint.  Not only do we focus on Miles and like him, but we also get a heavy dose of Miles’ father and Ganke in this issue, both of whom are sure to have a significant role in this series.  The supporting cast is what really pulls this issue back down to earth and makes it more human and relatable, unfortunately, it also has me really dreading who might possibly die to cause Miles to put on the costume and assume the role of hero.

Another thing that really makes me smile while reading this series are the parallels to the beginning of the original Ultimate Spider-Man run.  When Pichelli draws Miles discovering his wall crawling ability, it is almost a panel for panel recreation of Peter Parker discovering the same ability from the early issues of the first Ultimate Spider-Man run a decade ago.  Pichelli’s artwork also seems to fit the scene that it’s in very well regardless of what that scene may be.  So far there hasn’t been much action in the series, so I’m really anxious to see if the same applies for a scene that is very action oriented.

In short, the creators of this series are really affording the audience the unique opportunity to learn about the person behind the mask, and get to know what he’s like before he becomes a hero.  In addition to that, we’re really getting to know his supporting cast as well, which will lead to stronger stories later on in the series when he may be forced to make important decisions regarding his friends and family.  So far the first two issues of this series have been very well done and I’m very much looking forward to see how the rest of this first story arc plays out.

So far, it seems like what Hickman misses in the Ultimate Hawkeye mini-series, he makes up for with this storyline in the Ultimates.

Issue #2 starts off with more detail regarding the threat that Thor and the E.U.S.S. team Excalibur discovered in the last issue.  Apparently they are a race of human-like beings that have made their home in a dome in Northern Germany.  From what I gather, time and generations are super accelerated inside this dome because they speak as though they’ve been there for several centuries, yet the creation of the dome was depicted in issue #1.  Once Thor and Excalibur break through the dome, they are immediately attacked by its inhabitants, who are referred to as “the Children.”  These Children have some wickedly advanced technology that they use to figure out that most of the intruders are merely augmented humans, who can in turn be killed, that is until they come across Thor.   Instantly they realize there is something different about him, so they send an image to their elders, one of whom recognizes the god of thunder.  This discovery causes the Children to shift their focus to Thor’s home, the realm of Asgard, where all hell breaks loose when they attack.  The rest of the issue centers on Thor and his efforts to protect his home and family.

I’m loving the absolute epic scope of Jonathan Hickman’s story in this series.  It almost feels like reading the original Ultimates title by Mark Millar where you literally had no idea what was coming next.  The writing in this series is so intense that you really do get the impression this new villain is a serious threat to the Ultimates and the world in general.  To add to that seriousness, it’s someone who knows all of the characters in the Ultimate Marvel Universe on a personal level, making this villain all the more dangerous.  It makes me wonder how long they’ve been brewing this storyline because this is a character that has been around for quite some time in the universe.

Something else that I’m really enjoying about this series, and this issue in particular, is the way Thor is portrayed.  In a lot of previous Ultimates stories he has a tendency to come off as very unlikable.  However, so far in this series, he really feels like a character I could get behind and begin to care for because we are seeing what he cares for, and we’re seeing how devastated he feels when his home is under attack.  We also see just what he would do to protect everything that he loves, even to the point of smacking death in the face… literally.

Ribic’s artwork in this issue is once again right on par with the story.  You feel the sense of motion in the action scenes.  It also meshes very well with the epic scope of the story.  There are regular size comic panels that display huge battles stretching way off into the distance.  I’m really hoping we get to see a full page splash of an epic battle in future issues.  I have no doubt it would be amazing.

Overall, this is a great issue, in a great series, which is part of a great Universe of continuity.  I highly recommend this series because it seems like it is starting fresh, and there is really the sense that anything could happen at any moment.  I’m very pleased to say that it’s like reading the old Ultimate universe again because it actually seems like the writers are willing to do things with these characters and put them in situations that would never happen in regular Marvel Universe continuity, and that was the original goal of the Ultimate Marvel line in the first place.

Ultimate Comics: X-Men #1 by Nick Spencer and Paco Medina is the last of the new Ultimate Comics series to debut, and it seems like this time Marvel saved the best for last.

So far in this new Ultimate universe we’ve seen the popular and well known superheroes that everyone roots for (The Ultimates, Hawkeye), we’ve seen the new kid (Miles Morales/Spider-Man), and now we’re being shown the outcasts of the universe, the X-Men and the rest of the mutant world. Yes, you could say that the X-Men and mutants have always been outcasts, dating back to their first appearance in the regular Marvel U almost fifty years ago, but they’ve never been treated like this before. Due to the events of the Ultimatum storyline from 2009, it is now perfectly legal to shoot and kill any mutant, regardless of whether they’ve done anything wrong. On top of that, it’s just been revealed to the general public that mutants are not a product of natural selection as it was originally thought, but rather, they were created by the U.S. Government during the 1950s, which causes widespread rioting throughout many of the nation’s biggest cities. This issue opens with a very powerful scene featuring Karen Grant (formerly known as Jean Grey) that shows how incredibly hateful the world has turned against mutants by this point, then moves to a press conference with (Presidential Aide? I’m not really sure of her title, sorry.) Valerie Cooper, who was introduced during the Ultimate Fallout series, where she is answering some questions regarding the revelation of the manufactured mutants. After this we see some reactions from various characters, including the group that Karen Grant pulled together in the Ultimate X mini-series, about what she said. In the end there are a certain few who decide that they can no longer hide, and feel the need to take action.

Nick Spencer does a nice job of setting everything up in this issue. We really get a sense of the hatred and fear that people feel toward mutants in this world and how dark and foreboding the future looks for them. Effectively, they’ve all been reduced to the status of terrorists because of the actions of one. One minor complaint about the issue, is that it doesn’t feel like a true first issue of a book, but given the circumstances, that was probably unavoidable. There is a lot of backstory that happened before this issue that makes this world the way it is. Where all of the other Ultimate books feel like something new entirely and you can pick them up and read them without having read anything else in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, this book is more a continuation of that past universe. This is the holdover for the fans who have been there for the entire run and know the history of the universe (Ha, that sounds kind of funny).

Medina’s art reflects the general mood that Nick Spencer is trying to produce with the story. Everything is very depressed and almost washed out. There are no bright and flashy colors here. Facial expressions are done well, with much attention to detail paid to the emotions they’re trying to exhibit. You feel the sadness that is there during the first scene, and the outrage of the people in the press conference. You feel the confusion and hurt of the mutants as they’re hearing the news that in reality, they’re nothing special after all.

Overall, I’d say if you could only read one Ultimate Comics book, this is shaping up to be the one to read. However, before you do that, there are a few things you need to know about this universe first if you’re a newcomer. You can find all the information you need to know in three other mini-series that I highly recommend reading before this comic: 1. Ultimatum – As bad as it was, there are some significant plot points there that you’ll need to know, and it just generally sets up this new Ultimate Comics universe; 2. Ultimate X – It will give you the back stories on all of the characters that Karen Grant pulled together, because it seems like they’re going to play a big role in this series; and finally 3. Ultimate Fallout – This will give you the immediate history of what’s going on in this issue. Check those three out, then check this issue out. You won’t regret it.