The Ultimate Comics relaunch has launched a very strong line a books that are all equally entertaining to read, but HOLY CRAP this is dark. Nick Fury has had his job back for like 5 minutes and everything is already going to hel1. It's just one thing after another and it keeps getting worse and worse. Jonathon Hickman does a terrific job of making you feel the hopelessness that the Ultimates are facing. Not very many comic books can give that kind of emotional response and even less can make you think "they may not make it out of this one". What really helps drive those feelings of fear and hopelessness is the art. It has very dark colour tones and is detailed in a gritty way. Now this book does have a couple things I don't like. 1 it can be confusing at times with how sci-fi the story is and 2 the book ends half way through the second story arc so at the end of the book you're stuck with that depressing feeling that Hickman was building up with no happy resolution until volume 2. But my absolute favorite thing about this book is that Thor gets his ultimate hammer back. That's right the hammer/axe is back and it's about time. All in all I'd have to say this is a worthy addition to the Ultimate universe but the only real problem is that it leaves you feeling depressed because of no conclusion in this volume but then again HAMMER/AXE!
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The new «Ultimate line reboot» from Marvel was a GOOD thing. Every title (except the X-men book, for I haven't read it since it's not out in hardcover)are good and entertaining. While Ultimate comics spider-man is a great read (Miles Morales promise to be a very interesting caracter), this very book is way more entertaining.
The concept that Jonathan Hickman brings here are refreshing. Even if the book build up on past story a bit to much (The reason I gave it only 4 stars, since I think it's always a good thig for a book to be self-contain... and for the first volume of a serie even more). Nick Fury written by Hickman is ALWAYS sublime. For the art, I have noting to say. It's neat, well drawn, and most of all, unique. So it's not an house style art.
It's with a great entousiasm that I can't wait for the volume 2... It's (somewhat) a shame that Hickman is leaving the book on it's ten (10) issues... But only future can tell if it's a bad thing !
Good read ! recommanded
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
It Can Run Hot and Cold, but Ultimately, a Very Smart Read.April 1 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
There are several lead-ins to this particular incarnation of the Ultimate Universe. At the very beginning, you had the architects of the Ultimate Universe, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, creating three major titles: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE X-MEN and THE ULTIMATES. While Bendis stayed on Spidey for its entire run to date, Millar rotated creative teams on UXM and THE ULTIMATES, which was their flagship title. After about five years, Marvel felt the inexplicable need to shake up the status quo of the Ultimate U by teaming with hack writer extraordinare Jeph Loeb to create Ultimatum. It killed a great many of the major players in the Ultimate U, and it upset many fans, not because they actually DID do something to shake up the status quo (as they claim to do in all of their "event" comics), but because it was done in such a poor fashion. The backlash was extraordinary, and Millar came back to THE ULTIMATES for a much lesser version of the two major arcs he had done previously with Bryan Hitch. And Bendis was still doing a good job on USM, but something needed changing.
Then came Ultimate Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man Fallout. THIS was the event; not ULTIMATUM. Not only was it extremely well done, it brought about real change in the Ultimate Universe that seemed organic, and things went back to the beginning. We had a new Spidey with Bendis' Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Vol. 1. We had a new X-Men team with Ultimate Comics X-Men By Nick Spencer - Volume 1, and we had a new outlook to THE ULTIMATES.
Aside from his work on FANTASTIC FOUR, I was totally ignorant of anything Jonathan Hickman had done before, but since then, I've gotten to know his work quite well and he's become a major talent at Marvel, as well as in the independent world. I was also ignorant of Esad Ribic's art, but once I saw the first few pages of his work in this book (which also appeared in the afore-mentioned FALLOUT), it was clear that something special was at work here.
As the scene opens, The Ultimates are fragmented. They're still reeling from the death of Peter Parker as well as dealing with the fallout of a power struggle within the structure of SHIELD and a traitor within their ranks. Iron Man, Hawkeye (who got his own limited series that ties in to this book as well as X-MEN Ultimate Comics Hawkeye) and Thor are still very much on board with Nick Fury, as well as some of the new members, but Captain America has left the team. Suddenly, a new threat called The Children of Tomorrow emerges. They leave massive destruction and death in their wake in their intent to claim Earth as their home, claiming to be a massive evolutionary leap. Also seen as a threat to The Children is Asgard, which is totally obliterated by them as well. Thor's god-like powers are absent, and Iron Man sees Stark Technology being used against The Ultimates. To add to complications is the "father" of The Children is a very deadly foe from the past of the Ultimate U, as well as the rising of a mutant superpower in The South-Eastern Asian Republic (aka SEAR). Even more complications arise from a secret society of extremely wealthy individuals influencing world events... a cabal that Tony Stark became a member of, as well as the noted absence of several other heavy-hitters from The Ultimates' past, particularly Captain America and The Hulk.
The most important thing about Jonathan Hickman that is necessary to understand is that he is a very high-concept writer. He loves new ideas and new civilizations and big science. With his other books like FF (Future Foundation, his spin-off of FANTASTIC FOUR), and his independent projects like THE RED WING and the current THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, it's abundantly clear he never EVER goes for the lowest common denominator (as team books from the other side of the aisle are doing with alarming regularity). Now I am never one to criticize someone for being too high-concept. I would much rather someone put a lot of new ideas into a book than just phoning it in with a paint-by-numbers team book (see Justice League Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52) for that stuff). However, when the constant flurry of ideas begins to get in the way of the storytelling, is when the reader starts to get lost. The biggest problem here with ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES is that Hickman can do the high-concept with the emotional resonance and deft storytelling combined. This book does that, but it's split down the middle. Issues range between excellent to not-so-good. It's not as uneven as some other titles can be, because it never fails to be smart.
Esad Ribic's art is continually eye-popping. He brings a great range of emotion to his facial work, and a dynamic movement sensibility. One of the potential problems with major releases of monthly comic books are deadlines, though. In the past, you had more of a "wait until it's ready" attitude that was frustrating but ultimately rewarding, and that showed most especially with Millar and artist Bryan Hitch's extraordinary work on their first two volumes of THE ULTIMATES. In the current Marvel vs. DC climate, there is no option. It has to be out on time if it's a major book and rarely does the writing suffer, but occasionally the art suffers. Sometimes Ribic's art seems rushed in a few panels and in one of the issues of their current run, there is a vastly inferior stand-in for this book (whether or not that stand-in appears in this collection is unknown to me). Again, that's less about the talent of Ribic, which is obvious, and more about the publisher's willingness to sacrifice part of what can make a book work to its greatest strengths for the ability to get an issue out every four weeks.
In final analysis, there is nothing I would rather new readers to do than to pick this collection up, because while it may at times be a little too calculating, I'd rather that new readers read a book that had more smarts than less. And Hickman and Ribic's run on THE ULTIMATES certainly isn't short on smarts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Spectacular relaunch of the UltimatesMarch 26 2012
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Marvel's Ultimate Universe is being given another makeover, which means a new Ultimates series, this one by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic. Now, we all know what happened the last time The Ultimates was handed off to someone other than series creator Mark Millar (Ultimates 3, for those of you who somehow managed to put it out of your mind), so I went into this collection with some trepidation.
In this story, a new group of characters calling themselves the Children of Tomorrow sets up shop in Europe, killing thousands and annihilating Asgard along the way. The Children represent a thousand years of managed evolution, and easily throw off any assaults Nick Fury and his Ultimates mount.
I wasn't familiar with Hickman prior to this volume, but I definitely came away impressed. He seems to have a great respect for what Millar's original vision for the team was, and manages to carry that spirit forward while advancing his own ideas. The action is grand and the dialogue is sharp, and there are a lot of little plot elements that come together quite well. It's essentially a Fury, Thor and Iron Man tale, so we don't get the full-on Ultimates experience, but that's a minor gripe.
I hadn't previously seen Esan Ribic's work either, but he does an outstanding job here. Very stylized, very detailed, and while he doesn't have Bryan Hitch's cinematic style he does have a unique approach to storytelling. It reminds me a bit of Brandon Peterson and Leniel Yu. His Thor and Iron Man are particularly eye-catching, and seem to be drawn with the recent movies in mind.
In the end I was very pleased with this Ultimates relaunch. It has enough of what made the first two Ultimates series such classics, and continues to keep the Ultimate Marvel Universe vibrant and edgy. My only real complaint is that we don't get the full story in this collection. It's really just the first half of a larger epic.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The future is redJuly 26 2012
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A strange cult-like race of genetically superior humans calling themselves "The Children of Tomorrow" led by a mysterious hooded figure, set up their base in Europe and begin killing people in thousands, destroying new Asgard along the way. They have managed to evolve at a significantly faster rate thus making them nearly indomitable to the Ultimates as they are centuries more advanced, physically and mentally.
Jonathan Hickman continues his high-concept approach to comics meshing the ideas-laden stories of the Future Foundation with his Ultimates run. His approach feels similar to Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis' (the book reminded me a lot of "Planetary" which has Fantastic Four lookalikes as the villains) take on familiar characters but unlike Morrison and Ellis, Hickman's style gets in the way of enjoying the book fully. It's great to read a comic book that has ideas but too many of those ideas clog the natural flow of the story, getting in the way rather than enhancing the plot.
And while it's an Ultimates book, this isn't a team effort - it's mostly Thor and Iron Man doing the fighting with Nick Fury co-ordinating as always on the Helicarrier. Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Cap are on the sidelines and there's no Hulk (yet). Speaking of Hawkeye, if you're wondering about his storyline which involves the South Eastern Asian Republic (SEAR), check out Hickman's "Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye" which also involves everyone's favourite green giant.
The book doesn't really end as the storylines are left hanging by the end of the book: the Children of Tomorrow continue their invasion untouched, the Ultimates remain scattered, and there seems to be no hope in sight - it's like the end of "The Empire Strikes Back"! And ultimately, this leaves the book as somewhat uneven throughout. It has good moments but isn't consistent and even feels a bit shallow in places. It's an interesting take on the series though, Hickman is definitely a worthy successor to Mark Millar and hopefully the series will improve in later books.
The Writer Deserves BetterJuly 23 2013
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A new beginning for the alternate reality version of the Avengers. The team finds themselves against a new and powerful threat. Jonathan Hickman is certainly capable of better as a writer, but unfortunately he's hampered here by the fact that the Ultimate universe itself is a pretty pointless line of books to begin with. At least his take on these characters is better than what has come before, in the hands of Mark Millar or Jeph Loeb.
Avengers Movie RebootAug. 27 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Following the success of the Avengers in the movies, this comic takes us in a direction where Hollywood could go next. The settings and plots are just perfect for this. New global threat, Nick Fury screaming orders, Iron Man maching out (ouch) from coast to coast, Thor being neutered, strange beings with wings being encountered. It wasn't bad but neither was it satisfying.