Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #4 Review

Thor goes into “The City” and discovers who is behind all the mayhem in Europe.  [SPOILER ALERT!]

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #4

Thor is broken.  He’s lost his loved ones, his friends, and his home.  Guess what…  He’s none too pleased about it either.  Alone, he travels to The City to unleash his vengeance.  He first encounters a birthing room.  A new generation of “The People” are being incubated and Thor learns from the woman who is watching over them that they will be even more advanced than the current generation.  She points him in the direction of some of the captives and suggests he takes them with him.  This leads to the discovery of Captain Britain, the only survivor from the European team that fought the People earlier.  Before they escape, the leader of this highly advanced civilization wants to send a message back to the world.  Stay out and there will be peace.  The leader then reveals his face.  It turns out it’s Reed Richards in charge of all this.

This particular issue of this series is my favorite so far and definitely offers a lot of hope to what the future of the series could be.  As much as I like Jonathan Hickman as a writer, the Hawkeye mini fell flat and this series certainly seemed doomed after three issues that just didn’t seem to catch on.  With this issue, there’s a lot to ponder and question and look forward to.  With that, comes the real joy of the book – the little nuances that pepper the issue.

I admit, I’ve lost a great deal of grasp of the Ultimate Marvel Universe following Ultimatum.  I wasn’t sure who was still alive, who had died and who was doing what.  I did learn something about Reed Richards being a much different person than he was in the Ultimate Fantastic Four series.  He’d grown cold and angry and, well, evil.  I still didn’t quite expect him to be the full on baddie for this series.  Considering the Ultimates  have a penchant for killing the bad guys, I fear for Reed’s life a little bit.  What makes him such a great villain is his mind.  He’s a scientist.  He has no time for hopes, dreams, or religion.  He can save the world through cold, hard facts and study.  I’m positive he doesn’t see himself as a bad guy, but as a guy who is trying to offer a better view of life.  The People are perfection.  He brought Asgard down to prove science is superior and the one true faith.  It’s really classic villainy at work because I don’t believe for one second that he sees what he’s doing is wrong.

I also liked two smaller parts of this book outside of the big reveal.  The first was the passive “Fourth Nurse”.  All she seems to care about is that Thor doesn’t bother the children, which he pretty much goes along with.  I like that she not once comes off like some of the other People we’ve seen in prior issues or after this.  She’s almost like “Oh, so you’re here.  Don’t mess with the babies and go over there to find your friend.  Also, please take him with you.  Thanks!”  She actually tips off Thor as to where he can find Captain Britain and even suggests that he go ahead and leave with this comrade.  She even finds Thor attractive.  It makes me kind of wonder if this is some sort of programmed personality or if we can look back to her as a crack in the supposed perfection of these People.

The other thing I liked in the book is Thor basically becoming the personification of Valhalla.  Thor isn’t alone like he thought he was.  I’m thinking that should do wonders for his morale going forward, but I’m also thinking he’s going to be looked at like a loon.  He’s seeing and talking to fallen Asgardians – most notably Odin and Loki.  No one else can see them, but, to Thor, they are.  I loved the idea that he doesn’t have to be brooding anymore.  He can exist with the souls of the fallen gods in him and that should help bring back some of his former glory and power set too.  It’s a neat move that I never saw coming.  In fact, I think I was more surprised by this than Reed revealing himself as the villain.  It was definitely a nicely bold move by Hickman.

Esad Ribic’s art has been consistently good through this series.  It’s got a really nice mix of simple and detailed.  A lot of his action shots flow nicely.  He’s definitely working well with what Hickman’s given him.  All that said, I’ve found a new, restored faith in this series.  It started pretty strong, and started to slip as the ideas became more and more bizarre and the pacing seemed to slide away a bit.  Now, the book seems to be back on the right track and has me looking forward to #5!

A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING

Pros Cons
Good art, really nice story and script from Hickman. Very little, but I’m scoring cautiously in case my faith in the series comes back to bite me.
Rating
80%

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1 Comment

  1. Liko says:

    I have to agree that the art is carryin a somewhat gloom story that couldn’t be told better in any other context that that of the Ultimate Universe. I am missing Cap but all this is so over his head that what I am missing now is some Latverian madman to step inside the Ultimates’s ranks.

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I'm a lifelong geek. I don't hide it. I don't deny it. My true geek love is comics. I love reading them and discussing them. I am definitely much more a Marvel guy than DC, especially when it comes to my favorite, The Avengers. Questions? Comments? Email me at geoff@acomicbookblog.com