Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ultimates #1

This issue arrived in a plastic bag, though the reasons why seem difficult to discern.

There are no big revelations, no shocks that require a barrier to keep the reader from turning to the last page.

(I know, the bag is there to hide which issue comes with a special autograph. It still seems silly.)

Anyway, here we have a new version of The Ultimates (or at least the latest version - there are no new characters on display). And the story starts off smack in the middle of a number of disasters-about-to-happen, and the team is spread thin trying to keep up.

Oh, and despite the cover, there's no Captain America to be seen here - he apparently quit the team during Ultimate Fallout.

The star of the book is actually Nick (Samuel Jackson) Fury, who is faced with deadly threats on a number of fronts, including some he's not aware of.

One features a somewhat-disguised Reed Richards, who has become a villain for no apparent reason, one features a mysterious naval assault on Uruguay, one focuses on the irritating presence of Asgard over the skies of Europe, with the additional question: just whose side is Thor on?

It's all big and bold and loaded with dark purpose, and obviously we're just getting the beginnings of the story here - but the series is off to a very disjointed start, and it seems like it would be a bit difficult for new readers to sort out.

Heck, I've been reading comics forever and I struggled in places. (What is a SEAR, anyway?)

There's certainly a lot of action to go around, but with the team scattered all over the globe, there's no sense of "team" established. Yet.

I like the artwork by Esad Ribic, which features a fresh and energetic style. It's a bit on the dark side, but that matches the mood of the story perfectly.

I have to admit that I'm struggling a bit to get into the "new" Ultimate Universe. They've worked so hard to tear it down, I'm not sure I have the energy to wait while they build it back up.

And frankly, the dark tone of this series isn't much encouragement. I trust writer Jonathan Hickman to turn in outstanding work - but at the moment, I'm on the fence with The Ultimates.

Grade: B+


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