Review: The Ultimates #1

Published on August 30th, 2011

I am a fan of Jonathan “Polybag” Hickman. I loved his work with Secret Warriors, as well as his run on both Fantastic Four and now FF. I am calling him Polybag because the man knows BIG event books, and if you are working on a BIG event book over at Marvel, you’d better believe it’s going to be sealed up in a plastic tomb at some point. I suppose it shows that you have made it, right? Well if that’s the case, then Hickman has certainly made it, twice over. But will Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #1 with Esad Rebic be his first real dud? Read on to find out.

ultimatecomicsultimates1My run with Ultimate Comics from Marvel has had a bit of a bumpy road as of late. There was a time not too long ago when I was bored withwhat the regular Marvel Universe was giving me, so I did the next best thing, which was to read everything the Ultimate Marvel Universe could give me. However, sometime around the end of The Ultimates 3, I was fed up with the seemingly 616ing and retelling of a lot of the old Marvel stories and longed for something original again. This lead me right back to the increasingly interesting regular Marvel Universe. With me so far? Good! So now here we are on the doorstep of another BIG realignment for the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Let’s dive head first into it, shall we?

This first arc is called The Republic is Burning – and this is the reason you read comics, folks! The book opens with Hickman bringing that much needed film-style “wow factor.” We see a group of unnamed people creating a dome in the middle of Northern Germany. The book then quickly shows us different threat levels all over the world, before spinning around to reveal Nick Fury, who is just trying to hold all the threads together so that the powder keg of super-beings and volatile situations doesn’t explode. But he’s barely managing to do this, and it shows. Fury’s next step is to call in Iron Man to confront a S.H.I.E.L.D. carrier, which Hawkeye was on, that has gone dark.Hickman throws so much character into this version of Tony. He isn’t even in the new Iron Man suit (which looks a lot like the film version); in true Tony fashion, he was drinking at a party and is remoting in! Awesome. Hickman has really taken in what Marvel has given us in the films, and has blended them in such a seamless manner that you can almost believe this is what the Avengers movie will be like.

We then jump to Thor and his Asgardians, who have been doing reckless things now that they are residents of earth – things that you would almost expect, like plundering a beer factory. This, however, does not sit well with the European Union, so they send in their Excalibur class of super beings, being lead by a new Captain Britain. They have a word or two with – once again – a very movie-like version of Thor. I know so far I have gushed over what Hickman has done, but honestly, Rabic is just as much a part of how wonderful this book is. Just as Hickman has written us a very BIG film-like version of The Ultimates, Rabic has given us a visual feast for our eyes that has that big movie feel.

The issue ends with a cliffhanger, connecting the aforementioned ghost ship that Iron Man unsuccessfully tries to save with Stark Industries. He then goes offline. We also see Thor working things out with the new Captain Britain and his Excalibur team as they confront whoever lives in the mushroom-cloud-looking dome from the first page, after which they promptly disappear inside. This just leaves Fury in a floating fortress with no team, asking “Where is Captain America when we really need him?” If Hickman and Rabic continue to throw this quality intoThe Ultimates, and Marvel just keeps their Ultimate line down to fourhigh-quality books, then count me on board again!

Final Verdict: Don’t wait for The Avengers to hit theatres in 2012, because Hickman and Rabic are giving it to you now with The Ultimates!

Sheldon Lee

Sheldon@comicimpact.com