Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Joshua Hale Failkov
We’ve known for a while now that Marvel is killing off the Ultimates line of comics with a big six issue miniseries called Cataclysm. No book in this line is more representative of why this line should be rebooted than The Ultimates. Ultimate Comics Ultimates started out as such a great book offering up a level of gritty realism still mixed with traditional super hero tropes and a sprinkling of sci-fi thrown in. The formula was great but it was inevitable that this many ingredients in a recipe would eventually get muddy, and they have been muddy for several issues.
This issue of Ultimate Comics Ultimates brings to an end the overly long and painfully convoluted Reed Richards as a madman dictator storyline. By the way, this book has been out for a few weeks now so expect spoilers in this review, you have been warned. The story was crammed with exposition and attempts at highbrow dialogue and philosophy that felt more like padding than real storytelling with impact. The layers just kept building until the whole thing became overly complicated and just not exciting enough to care about. With that said one would expect a fairly epic climax to bring such a story to an end and taken across issues #29 and #30 you could say that the finality of it all is epic. The problem is that the twist of the story leads to a place we’ve been way too many times before involving time travel and fixing the wrongs of the past. Isn’t that how we got Cable in the X-Men? At any rate issue #29 saw the real game changers with the end of Quicksilver and the reveal of who Kang really is behind that mask.
The issue we have here is chaos, but it’s trying too hard to be chaotic and again just having no impact. There’s a lot less happening than the frenetic paneling and overwrought dialogue would lead you to believe. Also, in an infuriating twist Tony Stark gets the opportunity to undo a lot of what has been done over the last few issues in literally one panel, or maybe two, definitely less than a full page! There’s some fan service with the Hulk and the Thing duking it out and Susan Storm beats herself up a little and there’s a really stupid sequence of hot potato, or keep-away whichever you prefer, with an infinity gem. It’s campy and it just does not work in the context of what should be a world changing beginning and an end to an epic story. That sequence wasn’t even laughable, it was just sad.
No one really does much or says much of any depth in the issue, there’s just a bunch of bouncing around and a little fighting of npc’s that don’t matter. The end of the issue reveals, supposedly, the answer to the reason Reed Richards had become the man he was and why he was doing the things he had been doing: Galactus. So, yeah breaking the Ultimate Universe with the original Galactus coming in to literally eat everything is a really exciting premise and it has me anticipating the start of Cataclysm but his appearance didn’t explain anything about why Mr. Fantastic has been a lot less than fantastic for the last several issues of this comic. So, really the only positive thing about this issue is that it sets the stage for what will hopefully be a much more entertaining story in Cataclysm.
The colors are nice and vivid but overall the cartoony artwork feels almost amateur compared to what we’re accustomed to from Marvel. The paneling is ridiculous with tons of sliver sized panels that just feel thrown together rather than precisely designed for impact of storytelling. Facial expressions feel a bit generic and sometimes just completely out of place. You have the mysterious Susan Storm telling Reed Richards she loves him but she’s got the angry face of something more like The Dark Phoenix rather than that of someone trying to show emotion other than evilness. On the iPad zooming in is atrocious because it reveals just how lacking in detail some panels are too. This is just not good stuff. The best panel in the book is the final one reveal the big purple guy.
The Ultimate Comics line definitely needs a retooling at a minimum and this book perfectly illustrates why. The series, and this issue in particular has just lost its way and it needs refreshing Star Trek style. Galactus eating everything should do the trick!
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10