By Warren Ellis (writer), Cary Nord (art), Dave Stewart (colors)

Cary Nord’s art is a mixed bag these days. On Conan, his sketchy style of art worked because of the colorist he had working with him. In Ultimate Human, it’s a bit off when characters are sitting around talking. His art looks painfully domestic and uninteresting. However, when the action is rolling, Nord’s art is makes a dramatic improvement.

The story is typical Warren Ellis science fiction. It’s full of crazy lingo and ideas that almost seem like they could work in reality. He starts the issue off with a bang: The Hulk and Iron Man go at it! It’s great being shown just how powerful the Hulk really is; a few punches is all it takes to overheat Iron Man’s shields, causing it to destruct.

After their confrontation, Ellis slows the pace and we go into the meat of the story. We’re also given the explanation to the book’s title, “Ultimate Human”. Tony Stark injects Bruce Banner with Nanodes (small microscopic machines) that destroy “Hulk” cells whenever they form in Bruce’s body. Basically, he’s now cured! We also learn more about the “Super Solider Serum” that Banner has been working on all these years and how adaptive it can make its user. With Bruce now “cured”, The Leader sees it as the perfect opportunity to make his move.

If you’re going to do a Hulk / Iron Man book, you should probably have them fighting in the first issue right? Wrong. Ultimate Human #1 was just “okay” for me. It had no action and just too much expository information. Yet, there was just enough of a cliffhanger in there to keep me interested. Issue #2 delivers on most fronts. We get an interesting concept and a good plot. What keeps this book from being great is the little over-explaining Ellis does from time to time, and the art. It’s ironic that Cary Nord was the only reason I picked this series up in the first place, and yet his art is the element I find most lacking. This series is improving, but not by much. (Grade: C)

– J. Montes

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