Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate Marvel’

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Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley create the final issue ever set within the Ultimate Marvel Universe.  For those of your looking for a big, exciting story to end the universe with, unfortunately, you won’t find it here.  I really had high hopes for this mini-series.  I understand that the creators probably had some really strict guidelines that they were forced to work within, but I think think the Ultimate Universe deserved a better sendoff than what it got here.  This final issue in the series does shed a little more light on how and why these specific characters are here, but ultimately, everything just feels empty.  It almost seems like the only reason this series even existed was to provide a transition for Miles Morales into the regular Marvel Universe, which I guess I can accept… no… sorry, I can’t.  There would have been better and easier ways to accomplish it.  Perhaps even a mini-series dedicated strictly to Miles, rather than what we got that claimed to be the “Ultimate End.”  What was once a great comic universe on par with any of the others sure ended with a whimper.

The Verdict for Ultimate End #5:
2 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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The story of the (supposed) end of the Ultimate Marvel Universe is back for round two, but is it good enough for you to pick up?  Let’s see.

Ultimate End #2 picks up immediately following the ending of the first issue.  The Thor Corps of Battleworld has arrived to warn the heroes against any attempt to try and fix the incursion anomaly.  God king Doom knows that they want to separate the universes again, and he will have no part of it.  The Thors even make a dramatic display of power to illustrate just how serious they are.  Needless to say, the heroes pay little mind to the warning and the two versions of Tony Stark continue to investigate the reality melding anomaly.  Meanwhile, two separate versions of the Hulk have gotten into a fist fight for some unknown reason and are smashing parts of the city in the process.

Bendis’ writing here is on about the same level as it was in issue #1.  Good enough to move the plot along, but nothing really spectacular or earth-shattering.  The banter between the two Starks is still pretty funny, and there’s a touching scene between Earth-616 Peter Parker and Earth-1610 Aunt May and Gwen Stacy (Four year old spoiler alert, Ultimate Peter Parker died), but ultimately the plot doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere.  We get the same basic premise that we did in issue #1 more or less repeated.  These characters from two different universes co-exist now, there’s tension, some get along, some don’t, they’re trying to figure out how to reverse the incursion.  This issue doesn’t really establish anything new that wasn’t already laid out in the last issue.  The only difference now is that we appear to be heading toward a pretty big action sequence.

Bagley’s art is just as good as it’s always been.  It’s hard for me not to like what he does because I’m so familiar with his work in the Ultimate Marvel Universe.  With more than 100 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man to his name, his style essentially defined the look of the Ultimate line.  However, something does seem a little off with his drawings of Earth-616 Peter Parker.  For whatever reason, it just didn’t look right having him on the same page as the Earth-1610 versions of May and Gwen, but I guess that’s to be expected considering the characters are from two different worlds and are supposed to look that way.  I feel like the fight between the Hulks was also a well illustrated action set-piece from this veteran artist.

Overall, the dialogue is pretty well-written, and the artwork is solid, but the story just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Hopefully that’s something that will change over the remaining three issues in this mini-series, because I really would like to see a great bookend story for the Ultimate Marvel Universe.

The Verdict for Ultimate End #2:
3/5 – Meh…

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Ghost Racers #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Secret Wars: Journal #2

East of West, Volume 4: Who Wants War TPB
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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The original architects of the Ultimate Marvel Universe return fifteen years after they started the whole thing to sing its swan song in Ultimate End #1.  Let’s find out just how well they do.

Before we get into this review too deeply, I just wanted to start off by saying that seeing this mini-series and its title is kind of sad for me.  Fifteen years ago, Marvel’s Ultimate line was the main reason that I became a serious comic collector, and over the years this imprint has greatly entertained me with some truly amazing stories.  I stuck with it through the nearly catastrophic Ultimatum storyline, as well as the much more recent Cataclysm event, so it does somewhat tug at my heart strings to see it coming to what seems to be a definite end.

*wipes away nerd tear*

Ok, back to business.  In this mini-series tie-in to Secret Wars, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley set out to tell what is shaping up to be the last story of Earth-1610, otherwise known as the Ultimate Marvel Universe.  The timeline of how this story fits into the larger back drop of the Secret Wars event is a little fuzzy, but due to certain occurrences, it definitely seems to be happening after the incursion event seen in Secret Wars #1.  We see a group of Earth-1610 heroes meeting with their Earth-616 counterparts to discuss how to “fix” the rift in space-time that has been created and allows them to be in the same room with their alternate universe selves.

Bendis writes this issue in his typical comedic fashion.  As the only person to write the character of Ultimate Spider-Man (be it Ultimate Peter Parker, or Miles Morales) for more than a decade, he has perfected the art of smartass dialogue, and the comedic wit is on display in this issue.  He certainly seems to be much more comfortable writing the Ultimate versions of the characters, as their dialogue is more loose and witty than that of the Regular Marvel U heroes here.  And while that (and another artistic aspect that I’ll get into in a moment) make it easier to distinguish which version of a character we’re reading, it doesn’t really keep this story from being a bit confusing.  A little more backstory would have been appreciated.  And as I mentioned in my review for Secret Wars: Battleworld #1, it’s clear that Battleworld is the new status quo, but does no one remember the way things were prior to this point?

Mark Bagley’s art is just as good as it’s always been.  I’m so used to seeing his style in the Ultimate Universe, which makes it a little awkward to see it applied to the Regular Marvel U characters.  Earth-616 Black Widow comes off looking sort of like a short haired version of Earth-1610 Mary Jane in a catsuit, which as fun a notion as that is to entertain, is also slightly distracting from the overall story.  But again, minor nit-picky issues in what was otherwise a solid outing for a near-legendary comic artist.

Now, to what I alluded to earlier, I really appreciate the decision to use a different lettering depending on which version of a character is speaking, otherwise this issue could have been INCREDIBLY confusing to read.  For instance, in this issue when Earth-616 characters are talking, they have the traditional blocky comic all caps lettering, while when Earth-1610 characters are speaking, they have a more modern lettering with upper and lower case letters that has been used in the Ultimate Marvel books for some time.  The difference makes it immediately apparent which version of a hero or villain is talking, and it’s one of the best decisions Marvel made with this event.

To be completely honest, I’m actually right on the fence with this issue.  Parts of it are really confusing, and so far the story is not terribly interesting, but my faith in the creators and the hope that they will give the Ultimate line the ending it deserves is causing me to lean more positive for this one.

The Verdict for Ultimate End #1:
I can dig it

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Planet Hulk #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Old Man Logan #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Where Monsters Dwell #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Wytches #1-#6

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The biggest Marvel event in years continues.  Secret Wars #2 is here.  Can it match the greatness of the series first issue?  Let’s find out.

Before moving on, if you haven’t already read my review for issue #1, go ahead and check it out here:
https://kdubsgeekspot.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/review-secret-wars-1/

As we found out in last week’s debut issue, the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe have collided and shattered one another.  In this week’s issue, we’re introduced to “Battleworld,” which Marvel says will be the new status quo for their comics.  The story here serves as a general introduction and overview of Battleworld, which seems to be ruled over by one of the more famous villains in Marvel’s history… no spoilers from me! 😛 Although if you read issue one, it’s not difficult to figure out which one is seemingly pulling the strings.  The main takeaway from this book is how the law works on this world.  There is a planetary police force composed of several different Thors (totally not kidding), who enforce the rules and do the general bidding of the planet’s supreme ruler.  Disputes are settled in a court, where one of two options is available; a civil conclusion where the offending party is forced to give something up, OR a fight to the death.  Parties who really piss off the planet’s ruler are sent to “The Shield,” which is a wall that separates the civilized nations of Battleworld from some of the more monstrous hordes from Marvel’s past, like the Marvel Zombies, just to name one.  Here, they are exiled to an almost certain death.  The general setup of this world is pretty similar to the world of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Jonathan Hickman’s storytelling brilliance continues in this issue.  He successfully weaves the intricate relationships between nations on Battleworld with what seems to be a long and rich history in only a few short pages.  There’s no question that he has created an immensely interesting setting for this event to take place in, and I’m certain that if the writing on the series continues to be this good for the duration, there’s absolutely no reason why this won’t become an instant modern classic.  There’s really not much more I can say about it.

Esad Ribic’s artwork is also fantastic yet again.  He seems to do his best work on an epic scale such as this.  Watching the story bloom from panel to panel as he draws it is like watching history unfold in front of your eyes.  If I have to pick one thing to complain about, it’s that his style of art often leads some background details in the panels to seem kind of muddy and run together, but realistically, that’s really just me reaching for something.

I really cannot express how much I’m enjoying this series so far, and how excited I am to find out where it’s all going.  If you are not reading this, please do yourself a favor and start.  Hands down, these two issues have been the most fun I’ve had reading comics in a long time.  I’m just sad that issue #3 isn’t scheduled to come out for another three weeks.

The Verdict for Secret Wars #2:
Must have Moar!!!

Upcoming reviews:
Mad Max: Fury Road
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Secret Wars: Battleworld #1
Ultimate End (Battleworld Imprint) #1
Wytches #1-#6

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.