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Ultimates 3 #2

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008
By: Bryant Frattalone

Jeph Loeb
Joe Madureira & Christian Lichtner
Marvel Comics
Plot: The Mansion is attacked by the Brotherhood. Some inconsistencies from last issue are explained but not all.

Commentary: This issue was better than last issue. Considering last issue was pretty terrible any improvement is a good one. This chapter opens with another meaningless and unnecessary battle. Though the juvenile banter which it seems will be the norm for this series (sigh) is slightly less misplaced than last time around; the reason being Spiderman pops in for a cameo with all the sophomoric wit he can muster. We expect this from Spiderman so it’s pretty enjoyable. What’s not enjoyable is watching Hawkeye unload chamber after chamber of artillery at the web-slinger and into the streets of the city. Honestly, here’s the big problem with the Ultimates as Loeb is writing them. They are immature, irresponsible wrecks of people. Loeb seems intent on pushing the most ire deeming of qualities into our favorite heroes and then emphasizing those qualities a thousand times. Hawkeye – the loose cannon to the point of being unsafe to be around; Captain America – the tight-a$$ed super-codger; Quicksilver – deeply disturbed speedster with daddy and sister issues; Thor and Valkyrie – lecherous god-man and sex-pot groupie; Iron-Man – super lush. Hank Pym has issues but he’s under-surveillance as he should be. The height of hypocrisy is that the others are not. Unless you think I forgot the Wasp I haven’t. The problem with her is the same as last issue. She’s Caucasian and not Asian and nobody asks or knows why.

It seems Marvel and Loeb have defined an edgier and more mature take on traditional marvel heroes as being exploitative and juvenile. Loeb even seems to mock the reader as Captain America scolds Sabretooth for his crudeness of speech. Listen to this; “Using language like that, Creed, is what’s tearing apart the moral fabric of this country. If there’d been a lady present, I’d make it so you’d never utter a word again.” Um, this Cap’s no stranger to bloodshed. He in fact draws blood from Sabretooth while standing on this moral soapbox, so why not just make good on the threat? I could argue that it’s comics like this that are tearing apart the moral fabric of this country. This chapter of The Ultimates is on the same shelf with All-Star Batman and Robin over at DC. The shock value can only go on for so long before turning readers away. We get a bedroom scene of Thor and his barely legal protégé which tries to explain why the Ultimate Thor is closer to his 616 counterpart these days. He’s proven himself to be the ancient Norse god Thor so he feels comfortable speaking in “verilys” and “foresooths” now and wielding his magical hammer instead of his techno-mace from the first two series’. That’s pretty lame. Has Marvel given Loeb pot-luck to just write these characters anyway he wants to regardless of previous precedents, such as Janet being Asian in the Ultimate Universe?

All that being said the issue isn’t an entire loss as we are not brow-beaten with page after page of tasteless shocks like the first time around. Madureira’s rendition of the Brotherhood is powerful and threatening and the sad thing is they are more likeable and focused than our dysfunctional band of heroes. At this point I’d rather see a Brotherhood mini-series from this team than what I’m reading now in The Ultimates. Iron Man defeating the Blob by bursting through the floor underneath him and rocketing him off into the Statosphere is a good bit of thinking. Normally you cannot move the Blob head-on so strike in a way you can move him. The meeting between Pietro and Magneto is the first true nod to what’s been established in the Ultimate Universe already; namely, the bad blood between father and son. Magneto did have Quicksilvers knee-caps shot out early on in the Ultimate X-Men after all. That’s acknowledged here. The whole encounter is one of the only things that rings true in Ultimates 3. Finally, Wolverine shows up to join the team in their hunt for the Brotherhood and reveals they have bigger problems on their hands than who shot the Scarlet Witch. There’s ever so slight progress in character and plot but for the most part this band of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Final Word: Loeb needs to bring this team together and show us some heroism rather than emphasizing the worst traits of humanity in what are supposed to be “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”.



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