Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate Fallout’

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.

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I know I’m a little behind on this one, but I thought what better for my first post than the beginning… er… new beginning of the Ultimate Marvel Universe.

Ultimate Fallout begins almost immediately following the events in the Death of Spider-Man storyline that took place in Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates.  The mini-series gives just enough history to clue new readers in on the 300+ issues of continuity that led up to this point, without being overly detailed for those who have been here all along.  It ties up the previous chapter of the Ultimate Marvel Universe quite nicely, while simultaneously priming fans for the forthcoming volume.  It is a great jumping on point for anyone ready to begin reading Ultimate Marvel stories.

The series’ first issue begins with many characters’ reactions to the death of Peter Parker, including many wonderful little moments showing how he touched so many lives as the teenage hero, Spider-Man.  One particularly touching scene takes place between Aunt May and a young girl in the masses outside the church for Peter’s funeral.  Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, the original and longest running creative team for Ultimate Spider-Man, do a fantastic job in this issue and seemingly miss no one when it comes to showing how all the major characters in the Ultimate Marvel Universe deal with Peter’s death in their own individual ways.  J. Jonah Jameson tries to put his feelings down in words, Kitty Pryde takes her frustration and sadness out on some would be thieves, and Mary Jane tries to gather evidence on who she thinks is responsible.  The issue ends with one of the most prominent characters in the universe confessing to Aunt May that he feels responsible for her nephew’s death.

It only picks up from there.  Though little on action, the series more than makes up for it in plot and setup for what is to come.  In the earlier issues, we’re treated to some more mourning from some of the universe’s more periphery characters, which indicates to me that they may have a larger role in the Ultimate Marvel stories that follow Fallout.  We also see Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, in some backroom dealings that involved his brother before him, which could have big consequences for his future as a hero.  As always, Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., is lurking just behind the scenes with everything, including an effort to re-purpose a major player from the Ultimates’ past.

The real gem of this mini-series is the fourth issue, which introduces the audience to the person that steps up to fill the red and blue tights as the new Ultimate Spider-Man.  This is definitely one of the more comical moments of the series, as it is quite obvious he is still getting used to fighting super-powered villains, while still trying to retain the same trademark wit of his predecessor.  We aren’t given any backstory or even a name for this new character, but I’m sure that will come when the next Ultimate Spider-Man series debuts soon.  This issue also brings back another hero/villain (yes, you read that right) from the past, whose intentions are not yet made clear.  The final twist from this issue is the realization that a very big secret kept by the U.S. Government for a very long time is about to be made public, and it’s one that could shake the Ultimate Universe to the core.

The final two issues in this six-part mini-series are used as set up for what comes next in this universe, showing who is really pulling the strings, and giving just a hint of what their intentions are.  We also find out who the members of the new X-Men team are going to be and where they are setting up their new base of operations, as well as which member of the Ultimates won’t be coming back to work.  The final pages of the series come back to what started it all when the audience is shown how Nick Fury feels about the death of Peter Parker.

Overall, I think Ultimate Fallout was done very well.  Much better than how the Ultimate Marvel Universe was treated following the devastating events of the Ultimatum story arc from a few years ago, which saw the deconstruction of two major superhero teams as well as the deaths of many important characters.  Not to mention massive destruction all over the world, with very little focus on the aftermath and implications of such an event.  Fallout goes completely in the opposite direction.  As I said previously, it’s a great bridge between what has come before and what is yet to come with this still very young version of Marvel’s heroes.  I really like that all of the writers (or “architects” as Marvel refers to them), are the ones that are going to be writing the comics in the Ultimate series that follow, Bendis on the new Ultimate Spider-Man, Jonathan Hickman on the new Ultimates and Ultimate Hawkeye, and Nick Spencer on the new Ultimate X-Men series.  I think it’s a great way to introduce readers to the style of these writers and get a feel for how they write these characters in small doses before they’re completely immersed in it with the four upcoming series, which I am very much looking forward too.