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Ultimatum #1 – Review

By Jeph Loeb (Writer), David Finch (Artist), Danny Miki (Inker), and Steve Firchow (Colors)

What’s Going On: Think “The Day After Tomorrow” with super-heroes. We get one page each of the Fantastic Four, the Ultimates, Spider-Man, and the X-Men hanging around before a gigantic tidal wave swamps New York. This is the terrible event presaged in Ultimate Origins, as evidenced by one of those “Watcher” traffic lights hanging around Bruce Banner. At first, Reed Richards thinks it’s Namor’s doing, but a quick fight with the King of Atlantis convinces him otherwise. Doctor Doom appears in this issue, but it’s not him either. In the Ultimate Universe, Doom is a second stringer.

What’s Good: David Finch’s art is, as always, a wonder to behold. The only drawback is he has had to cram so many characters into the first issue that the story flow sometimes suffers, especially when the big wave hits: we never actually see it happen. One panel everyone’s looking up at the rain, the next the streets are under twenty feet of water.

What’s Not So Good: Reality check: What is Bruce Banner, whose alter-ego caused the death of 600 New Yorkers, who is viewed in the Ultimate universe as the moral equivalent of Osama Bin Laden, doing hanging around midtown?

What It All Boils Down To: Ultimatum #1 works pretty well, in a sacrificing-character-for-world-shaking-action sort of way. And that Uru trinket at the villain’s feet on the last page promises to make an interesting twist.

Grade: B+

- Andrew C. Murphy

A Second Opinion

Although a lot of fans don’t like Jeph Loeb’s writing, I tend to in general; feeling that he’s more hit and miss than most. I didn’t read Ultimates 3 but the consensus wasn’t good. Still “the end” of the Ultimate U is an interesting idea in itself. What’s frustrating about the book is that there’s too much setup of the universe and not enough for the story. Most of the book shows the major players and recaps their relationships. That’s fine, but one would have to assume that anyone reading Ultimatum would be up to date with these relationships. If I hadn’t read Ultimate Origins, I’d be clueless to what was going on, and I’m still not so sure. Generally I like to give an arc at least two issues before I decide to pass on it, and it’s a good thing here because it looks like the story won’t start till issue 2 . I agree with Andrew though, this story’s appeal is more on the event than the characters. But now, we have a broad-strokes idea of the world, so hopefully things can get spaced out a little better. That way Finch’s pencils can really shine and Loeb can show the better side of his talents.

Grade: C

-Ben Berger

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