Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Ultimates: Omniversal, Volume 1: Start with the Impossible Review (Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort)

The Ultimates are: Black Panther, Captain Marvel (aka Colonel Carol Danvers - so she demotes herself whenever she becomes a superhero?!), Ms America, Spectrum, The Blue Marvel, and… Galactus?! Together they solve the cosmic problems of the universe no other superhero team supposedly can.

The Ultimates is another garbage Al Ewing Marvel comic. Why do they keep putting him on team books? He can’t write them! His New Avengers and Contest of Champions books are terrible and his Ultimates is only marginally better. 

I didn’t read any of the Ultimate line before Secret Wars destroyed their universe so I don’t know if any of these characters are from the previous team but I recognise Black Panther, Ms America and Captain Marvel and they look like they’re from the main Marvel universe (not sure if we’re still calling it 616 or not anymore?). It might just be “The Ultimates” in name only this time around. 

Once again there’s no explanation behind this team’s line-up, why these individuals, why these goals, etc. - arbitrary bollocks are the watchwords! Spectrum especially is one big question mark given that she doesn’t seem to do anything! I think Ewing just likes including obscure characters nobody’s seen in years in each of his books. 

I like that Al Ewing in the main storyline is addressing the fallout of Age of Ultron, Marvel’s 2013 summer event book, the consequence of which was that time was supposedly broken. At least someone is! Everyone else seems to trundle along with business as usual, tossing out one terrible time travel story after another; Ewing’s at least pretending that it mattered. 

The problem is that even though it’s a science-based storyline with some scientist characters working on solutions that should be scientific, the end result is still superheroes punching things! It’s always the illusion of intelligence with Marvel - they have supposedly genius characters but they have them do things dumb people do. 

I know it’s temporary and part of Marvel’s weird “making the villains the heroes” thing they’re doing at the moment but I hate what they did with Galactus, essentially doing an Axis and reversing his alignment - he’s no longer the WorldEater, he’s the LifeBringer! They’ve even done away with his purple outfit and given him this gross yellow thing. Boo - give him back his purple hat! 

I also don’t like Ewing’s writing style, putting labels all over the page in between the speech bubbles. Every single issue you get a label reminding you of the character’s name and a blurb on what their powers are - just once would be more than enough! It makes the pages horribly cluttered. 

I’ve never been a fan of Kenneth Rocafort’s scratchy art - it’s a competent enough style for superhero comics but not very appealing to look at, at least to me.

Al Ewing tries to write a Warren Ellis-esque team book about space-time and other dimensions and Eternity being chained, and ends up with a boring, unengaging and forgettable comic that wishes it were smarter than it is. Like Ewing’s other Marvel titles The Ultimates isn’t worth bothering with.

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