Sue Storm, Rick Jones, Nick Fury, Carol Danvers, Captain Mar-Vell and the Spider-sibs try to come up with a way to take the fight back to Reed, despite their injuries and shock and his seeming omnipotence.
Do I detect a subtle complexity emerging in the writing of Mr. Bendis? As this third part of the trilogy (after Ultimate Enemy and Ultimate Mystery) exploring the post-Ultimatum Ultimate Comics universe moves towards the end-game, he actually stops to take stock and develop some sub-plots that make sense in this alternate reality.
I’m no longer sure if the mystery was seemingly solved in the final issue of the middle arc, as the doom Sue is facing down may or may not have something to do with a certain Dr. Van Damme. We definitely spend a bit of time in Latveria this issue, as we do in several other locales attacked (if not devastated) by Reed. Bendis is making good use of the fact that Ultimate Sue is none too shabby in the brains department herself, and refers openly to her and Reed’s and Victor’s joint membership in the teen prodigy experiments that once took place in the Baxter Building.
She has a plan, and since no one else does (and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have thus far been quite outclassed), her allies pay her heed. Bendis even goes to the trouble to corral other scientists, including — much to the consternation of Peter Parker and Jessica Drew, whose intel gathering at Roxxon went horribly awry — Dr. Octopus himself.
Octopus may have common cause at this point, as Reed’s attacks didn’t differentiate friend or foe by any established Ultimate parameters, but the Spider-kids know he’s a loose cannon at best. That doesn’t matter to Rick Jones, though; who has manifested his usual deus ex machina powers a little earlier in this Universe, and is doing what Sue asks of him with a child’s naïveté.
The art continues to impress, not just in the scenes of devastation but in the scenes of ongoing attacks from Reed’s biological agents, and in the many scenes of transportation between locales required by the script. An issue that takes a little breather is a welcome one at this point, and an unexpected change from the old Bendis tack of blowing everything up and sifting through the wreckage later. Is it along the lines of the way he’s trying to make his magic spells sound believable in his Avengers titles? Could he finally starting to dot his I’s and cross his T’s? Time will tell, but at least there’s a sense of hope and capability on the part of the heroes that is a refreshing aid to making this story more than just a futile exercise in the graveyard of the Ultimate milieu.