Monday, February 15, 2016

The Ultimates (Issues 1 to 3)

Written by AL Ewing
Pencils by Kenneth Rocafort

There was a scene in Avengers issues 44 where T'Challa goes to the White House to meet with President Obama a few hours before the final incursion beween Earth 616 and Earth 1610. T'Challa delivers the news that the universe is about to end and there is nothing anyone can do about it. He asks the President to deliver this message because he is someone everyone trusts. At one point, one of the president's aides barks out “You people were supposed to save us...”

Initially I ignored this scene. There were several other scenes in issue 44, that overshadowed this scene. It was not until I began reading the first issue of The Ultimates, did that scene pop back into my head. T'Challa wanted to emulate what the Illuminati did but with much more transparency and cooperation than ever before. At the same time, he wanted to put Wakanda's resources and know how at the forefront of this operation. Finding T'Challa in this happy medium will most likely bring better stories to the Marvel Universe. T'Challa has assembled a nice team of heavy weights. There is Blue Marvel, Monica Rambeau as Spectrum, Captain Marvel, and Ms. America Chavez. So the power set in this group outweighs that of the other Avengers teams.

In the first story arc written by Al Ewing and pencilled by Kenneth Rocafort, the Ultimates tackle the problem of Galactus. They approach this differently from anyone else before the Ultimates. T'Challa instead chooses to research the origin of Galactus and learns that he was formed out of an “Incubator” of sorts eons ago. Spectrum and Ms. America are sent to retrieve the Incubator while Captain Marvel and Blue Marvel are sent to intercept Galactus. Their plan works and the team is able to capture Galactus and place him in the Incubator and reversing his life energies. The result is Galactus the Life Bringer.

There are consequences to their actions. There is a sentiment on Earth that their actions might make Earth a target again as we have witnesses several times before the Incursion event in crossovers like Infinity, Avengers Vs. the X Men, and story arcs in the Fantastic Four under Jonathan Hickman and other stories. Their actions do not go unnoticed. The Shi'ar learn what the Ultimates have done and they don't seem to be happy.

I have always enjoyed Al Ewing's work on The Mighty Avengers and then Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. He is familiar with the members of these teams and one can tell in the Ultimates. He pools from previous Marvel stories especially that of Blue Marvel and has continued to integrate him in the Marvel continuity. Ewing's pacing is wonderful. While it moves quickly it does not leave the reader in a lurch. I have just begun to read Ewing's work on other imprints and his work is stellar.

Kenneth Rocafort was probably the only thing I enjoyed from Red Hood and the Outlaws. He doesn't miss a detail. His work for DC is amazing and I honestly can't remember something I didn't like that he did. I appreciate the fact that Marvel allowed him to do the covers for the Ultimates. They are very attractive. The thing about doing battles in space is that there is so much to put in and Rocafort does a great job of doing that. I really hope Marvel gets him to stay as a penciler in the series.

Quite honestly, this is the best Avengers title Marvel is putting out right now. It's really a shame that more folks aren't talking about this team. While I was hoping that Marvel would bring back the Illuminati from before the incursions with a slightly new line up (Reed Richards is recreating the multiverse and Namor is dead), I don't dig the new title.

I have to point out that Marvel did not reboot the universe. It's a newer universe with several changes but the Incursion is being treated as something that “just happened.” In the overall Marvel Universe, people are asking questions and there is more distrust towards super humans, but the Incursion isn't being given any more concern than a minor super human event. While it is true that it seems that no one seems to know what actually happened, including the heroes, it really cheapens the entire situation.

I do appreciate the fact that T'Challa decided to continue the work of the Illuminati but on a more PR level. They broadcast their work to the planet Earth. I also enjoy how the greater universe continues to see the Earth as a global threat. Finally, Ewing keeps throwing in the problem of the time stream and how many heroes have arbitrarily toyed with it. This will be the Ultimates next problem to fix. I am so looking forward to this.

No comments: