First before we get into the nitty gritty of the issue, I’ve got some housework to attend to. I’ve decided to change the title of the series to be a TOUCH less narcissistic, but the M.O. is going to stay the same. The article is going to focus on one comic each Tuesday that I think you should be reading. I’ll give you a spoiler free review of the issue along with a little set-up in case you’re unfamiliar with the series. (I’m going to try to be as spoiler free as possible, but there will certainly be some for older material. Be warned!). Finally, I’d like it if you would give me feedback on my writing or on any issues that you might have with the article (it’s the only way that I’ll improve! Thanks!) With that out of the way, we’re looking at The Ultimates # 5 this week.
The Ultimates are a new team formed in the aftermath of Marvel’s most recent Universe re-shaping event: Secret Wars. They have taken it upon themselves to handle all of the cosmic and reality threatening events of the Marvel Universe that no one else is equipped to handle. The team consists of Blue Marvel (Who?), Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Miss America, and Spectrum. It’s a group of heroes that aren’t exactly the most well known, but because of this, I believe Ewing was given the freedom to do some more outlandish things with them. With only five issues under their belt they have already fundamentally changed the way Galactus works as a character! One of the biggest criticisms of the big two publishers is that they stick to fairly standard stories and characterizations. Characters are stuck in an ever revolving wheel where any change reverts back to status quo after a short time. Al Ewing seems to be saying with The Ultimates “Hey, look I can do different right here, in this universe!”
Now, outlandish concepts and thought provoking story aside, no comic can succeed without strong art to back it up and The Ultimates has it in spades. The series feels like it has the panel composition sensibilities of a Francis Manapaul book with the outlandish cosmic feel of Jack Kirby It’s truly something else. The facial features can stumble a bit at times in the human characters, but I don’t think that it drags the book down much at all when you’re too busy being in awe of something like this:
The Ultimates is a breath of fresh air in Marvel’s publishing line. It feels like something different, it looks gorgeous, and it is thought provoking. I think you should be reading it!