Comic: "The Ultimates 3, #1"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Joe Madureira
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: We pick up the story a short, undefined time after the last story arc, wherein the Ultimates (the Ultimate Universes version of the Avengers) beat back the superhuman lead armies of various third world countries who had successfully invaded and occupied the USA. They ought to be riding high, but instead Iron man is dealing with a leaked sex video of him and the Black Widow (Who turned out to be an enemy mole), Hawkeye is crazy, The Wasp can’t get security clearance for new unexplained members Black Panther and Valkyrie, Hank Pym AKA Giant Man AKA Ant Man OD’s on prescription meds and the Scarlet Witch gets assassinated.
Review: I’m a fan of The Ultimates, which is hard to support since I think the whole idea of The Ultimate Universe is pretty sketchy. For those not in the know, the Ultimate Universe is where Marvel gets to use all the characters it created in a no holds barred, R rated arena and they don’t have to worry about damaging valuable licensed properties. This means that if somebody wants to write a story where Spidey gets addicted to heroin and Venom takes advantage of Spidey being on the nod by slamming his nuts in a car door, they can. At it’s best, it’s like the classic Marvel “What If” comics where the title is “What If ‘What If’ were well written?”
I think this new story arc is off to a rocky start. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable and funny, but that’s easy ‘cause it’s ALL set up. Like Lucy, they now have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. It’s obvious someone is setting the Ultimates up, but that was the whole back-story of the last arc. Loki was conniving behind the scenes to make our heroes look as bad as possible, and since the most interesting thing about the writing is that they are a pretty messed up bunch, it wasn’t hard.
I’m also dubious about the new artist, Joe Madureira, which is too bad, because his art is gorgeous. But previous artist Bryan Hitch was equally good AND he was a realist. For me, when the Ultimates works, it’s because of realism. The whole premises, it seems to me, is “What if the Avengers and all the grand scale bullshit they deal with actually happened? How would it play out and what would the consequences be?” Jeph Loeb is heading in that direction, but the art is operatic. It’s excellent art, it’s just not right for the script. These are beautiful, dramatic paintings. The Ultimates calls for film.
It wouldn’t be right to close this review without discussing the ‘ick’ factor. The ‘ick’ factor has been pretty important to the series. Ultimate Hulk EATS people. Not just kills them by the hundreds, not just rips them to pieces, sometimes he eats them. This is taking the idea of the Hulk seriously and embracing the challenge of writing about it.
But. In the issue I’m reviewing, the ‘ick’ factor doesn’t get handled so well. See, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have always been written (in both universes) as... closer than most brothers and sisters. There’s... tension there. Good. Sexual tension is always fertile ground for writing. But Loeb throws away tension by coming right out and saying that the mutant siblings are consensual incestuous lovers. Cards on the table. Okay. But then we’re treated to the Wasp trying to convince Captain America (still alive in Ultimate Land) that while a little odd, it’s just... a little odd. AND THEN THEY KILL HER! Now maybe she isn’t really dead, or maybe they’ll bring her back and they won’t actually be brother and sister, but Loeb has already fucked with the formula. If you want to make them an open incestuous couple, deal with it. But that’s a beyond tough call as far as writing for a pop medium goes. So bang, she’s dead. That’s cheap. Better not to have brought it up in the first place. Its just naughtiness to feel special on account of what a naughty writer you’ve been.
SO FAR no major media outlet has stumbled on to this book. But they may, and the results will be stupid. Mainstream Comicbookdom is just at the point of introducing Lesbian characters as long as they are both really pretty. While I think that’s pretty silly, I also think consensual incest just to say you did it may be jumping the gun.
Now lets see if those last three paragraphs improve the book’s bottom line.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
Originally Posted by bertleman
I thought those Marvel MAX titles were bad enough. It is a sad thing when the only way to appease the increasingly older jaded and creepier comics buying audience is to pump up the gross out factor. when this generation of comics fans dies out, there will not another one.
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