Published on February 11th, 2012 | by Mike Harding0
Mikey’s Library Hot Picks: Post Ultimatum shenannigans
This weeks review takes us back into the house of ideas, more specifically their Ultimate Universe. In a previous Library Hot Pick reviewed the main Ulitmatum story and the first Ultimate comics New Avengers: Thor Reborn books.
For those of you who didn’t read it, or don’t know what the difference between Ultimate and regular Marvel Universe, here’s my perspective:
In 2000 Marvel launched a new line of comics, these were your fathers heroes but redesigned to appeal to a younger audience, or those people who didn’t want to be weighed down by years of continuity. Spearheaded by Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis, along with Warren Ellis coming onboard soon after, this line of comics proved to be very successful. In fact it was so successful, that it has influenced the medias portrayal of several Marvel Heroes. This universe however, was not meant to last, and so Ultimatum came along and killed several heroes, and changed the status quo for those left behind. At this point in time, Mutants are deemed a threat to the world, and as a result are being hunted down, and put into prison camps (very Days of Future Past).
This leads to the first of this weeks reviews the book is called Ultimate X: Origins. The book is written by Jeph Loeb (Batman/Superman, Ultimatum, Hulk) with art duties provided by Art Adams (Longshot, Uncanny X-men, Excalibur, Hulk) and reprints the six issue series. Originally this series was meant to replace Ultimate X-men, however, the book was plagued with delays (over a year to do five issues), and so this is now a precursor to the new Ultimate X-men series.
The book’s primary goal is to introduce us to the characters who make up the team, this is done one person at a time, beginning with a young James Hudson. Jimmy is visited by a young girl name Kitty Pryde following him surviving what should have been a fatal car accident. Jimmy discovers that he is actually the son of the recently dead X-man Wolverine. Jimmy presents some variation in his powers, for example he is able to will his bone claws to appear metal. Jimmy decides to make his own way in the world and leaves town
The second character is a young telepathic girl named Karen, she lives a normal live working at the local shopping mall, this life is thrown into turmoil when her wannabe boyfriend posts a picture of her online. This causes some unwelcome guests to make their way into her life who expose her real identity. She is ultimately help by Jimmy and the two leave town
The third character is a winged vigilante named Derek Morgan, who’s nocturnal activities cause him problems at home living with his brother who works for the local police force and has specific feeling about the so-called “Chicago Angel”. Once again he finds help from Karen and Jimmy, and the three leave town.
The fourth character is a red herring, we have already met Liz Allen in the pages of Ultimate Spider-man and are well aware of her alias as Firestar. This section of the story finds Liz living in California with her mother, with her step brother teddy. Liz is living a new life thanks to being left money by her recently deceased father Fred Dukes aka The Blob (Blob was brutally killed by Hank Pym after he was found eating Wasp). Our existing trio make it to see Liz only to encounter the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Quicksilver, decisions are made and step siblings separate.
The last two issues seem to be setting up the future of the book, the teams are set, and so the fighting begins. Jimmy is mercilessly attacked by Sabertooth whilst alone and is left for dead. Karen decides to bring in a heavy hitter and makes the most over the top choice by recruiting the Hulk, and its the Grey Hulk as well.
It’s a shame this book didn’t continue as it had potential, but we are now being treated to an ongoing series, as the reveal at the end of the issue at to who had been helping Karen find everyone was genius and is now being played out by other writers.
The Second Book is an odd one, it’s called Ultimate Comics, Avengers vs New Ultimates: Death of Spider-man. the book is Written by Mark Millar (Kickass, Fantastic Four) with artwork being provided by Lenil Francis Yu (Wolverine, Secret Invasion). The book represents the final arc of the title before it was rebranded into Ultimate Avengers.
The book is beautifully drawn, I have to say that from the outset. It’s the story however that is a bit confusing. This may be due to the fact that I’ve only read one book from both the Ultimate Comics: Avengers, and the New Ultimates storylines (in fairness my local library doesn’t have the rest). Following the events of the last Ultimate Avengers storyline their entire base has been transported to Iran. both teams are sent on different missions that represent threats to national security. When they finish their missions they discover that the leader of the opposite team is responsible for what has happened (confusing eh). The story progresses and revelations are made, leading to a massive fight that plays on both Millar’s ability to write epic battle scenes and Francis Yu’s ability to draw them.
So what’s wrong with this book? Spider-man doesn’t die!! He is in the book, albeit briefly, but despite getting injured he survives, and actually is one of the least injured people after War Machines actions. If you want to read the death of Spider-man, then you’ll have to actually read ultimate Spider-man Death of Spider-man, which is a completely different tale.
Well that’s it for this week, more to come next week, and don’t forget to contact me via the site if you think I should review something specific.