Current Reviews


Ultimate Secret #1

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Steve McNiven (p), Mark Morales (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: A super secret government facility comes under attack from a massive Kree robotic Sentry which has been programmed to move in and prevent any attempts by humanity to leave the planetary system. This attack comes at a rather convenient time, as the base is currently playing host to its own super-powered defender who goes by the name Captain Marvel. However, Marvel's attempts to halt this attack are less than successful.

Comments: Clearly, Warren Ellis is quite enamoured with the idea of zero-point energy, as he spends an inordinate amount of time detailing the idea, but this lecture doesn't look to have any impact of the rest of the story. It felt a bit like padding, which after the ponderous Ultimate Nightmare leaves me quite concerned. Still, the final half of the issue brings some much needed action to these pages, as well as raising the question of why the Kree race would be actively working to keep humanity grounded. This issue also introduces us to a couple Ultimate versions of Marvel characters, as Captain Marvel makes his debut in the Ultimate Universe, and so far it would appear that this character is a pretty close match to the original Marvel version of the character; he's a Kree agent who has decided to step to humanity's defence when his race decides to interfere with their natural development. As for the second established character who is introduced into the Ultimate Universe, I'll hold off naming her, but since the link between her and Captain Marvel has been well established in the Marvel Universe it should be pretty easy to guess her identity, though right now her connection isn't really all that clear. However I did enjoy her less than pleasant personality, and it should be interesting to see what role she's called upon to play in this story, as her presence isn't an accident. The big final battle between Captain Marvel and the Kree Sentry also has some nice energy to it, and it benefits from a pretty powerful, if somewhat familiar final moment. Still, Ultimate Nightmare has left me a little gun-shy about Warren Ellis' writing.

Steve McNiven is my personal favourite among the group of artists that Marvel has labelled the "Young Guns," thanks largely to the fact that he actually has a proven track record that one can point to as proof that he can provide his high quality art on a monthly basis. Plus the sheer level of detail on the page is ever so impressive, as there's some lovely big impact images in this issue, from the fantastic establishing shot of the space shuttle, to the wonderfully moody sequence where Doctor Lawson transforms into Captain Marvel. There's also some nice work on the scene where the base comes under attack, and the visual design to the Kree Sentry was really quite nicely done. I loved the tentacle arms. The Ultimate redesign of Captain Marvel was also quite solid, with our first look at the character being especially notable thanks to the seething energy that surrounds him. We also get a lovely looking final page cliff-hanger explosion.

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