by Joshua Hale Fialkov (Writer), Mico Suayan, Mirco Pierfederici, Leonard Kirk (Artists), Nolan Woodard (Colorist)

The Story: Getting a load of knowledge about what is happening in the universe, the Vision see the need to stop Galactus by herself.

The Review: After the somewhat disappointing Hunger mini-series, the announcement of an event named Cataclysm: The Last Stand of the Ultimates is currently sending a lot of rumors about the imminent cancellation of the Ultimate line of titles. While Marvel is currently being coy about what this event might lead to, it is dead set on telling this story about the regular Marvel universe (616 for the fans) Galactus stuck in the Ultimate universe. There are plenty of opportunities for rather interesting comparisons along with some good stories being told here, but does Joshua Hale Fialkov bring in a strong entry with this prologue issue?

Bringing in his stronger side, the one that was behind I, Vampire rather than the one behind Hunger, Fialkov is able to not only introduce the finer points of the inevitable conflict, yet also draws some interesting comparison between the regular and the Ultimate universe in the process. Telling a complete story all the while, this issue succeeds far more in taking advantage of the setting and the newer elements than what preceded it.

One of the first noticeable element that is better is the lead character, the female version of Vision that had been introduced in the Ultimate Galactus Trilogy. With her being properly introduced in terms of personality, with her conflict against her more logical and emotional side being evolving during the comic as part of the narrative, she succeeds in being a part of the story without making it all focus around her. She is central, as is her point-of-view, yet she is merely an instrument to the plot, which is then seasoned by how she envision things and how she evaluate her own development. With her development being complete in the 20 pages of this comic, Vision works rather well as the protagonist here as the ominous presence of Galactus dwell.

What is also very well put in context is the Ultimate universe itself, with its present situation as well as the development it has seen being presented to not only compare the conceptual differences between the regular universe, but also the philosophical differences as well. When Vision touch one of the Gah Lak Tus fragment and comes in contact with Galactus own energy, a certain sequence shows just how badly the Ultimate universe is faring, with a comparison on how the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Spider-Man are in the regular universe. Comparing the more optimistic and downright altruistic universe to the Ultimate one is a rather smart thing to do, bringing in some of the key concepts and characters to new readers, while it does explore a bit more what is at stake here.

The story is fairly straightforward, though, as there isn’t a lot of room for many surprises here. It is competently told, with all situations moving from point A to point B and the important elements being presented aptly through the whole thing. The Vision gets to participate and evolve, the threat is established and some of the players are brought forth neatly. Sometimes, it’s better to have competence rather than ambition without talent.

The latter could be perhaps a bit more descriptive of Mico Suayan here, but on a more positive note as he does have talent here. His characters here are all well-drawn, for the most part as he is able to use one of his weakness to his advantage here. While some of his faces in previous works were a bit stoic and cold, it makes a lot more sense with the context of Galactus and Vision, two beings known for not exactly being the most cheerful beings in their own universe. The panels layout being good in most places and his pages being really expansive as far as backgrounds and scopes are concerned, Suayan gives a very good effort here. The two other artists, Mirco Pierfederici and Leonard Kirk are also good, not clashing for the most part as their Galactus, cosmic backgrounds and pages are good-looking as well. Pierfederici might not work as well as Kirk with his rounder traits and his lack of attention to smaller details, yet it isn’t so that it hurts the work as a whole.

The colorization is pretty good too, with Nolan Woodard combining a more cosmic palette to one that is brighter and more conform to super heroes together in the same issue without hurting the sensibilities and themes presented. While his space pages are suitably focused on establishing a sharp contrast with the characters, planets and energy clashing against the cold and dark space surrounding them. Those pages are also radically different to the pages and panels focusing on the more colorful aspects of the regular Marvel universe, with its rich colors clashing a bit against the more nuanced approach brought forth by the Ultimate universe, which can be characterized by Galactus in this whole issue.

The Conclusion
: Showing a surprisingly apt comparison between two universe along with presenting its basic conflict really well, Joshua Hale Fialkov manages to open this event up rather nicely. With Pierfederici, Suayan, Kirk and Woodard being pretty good as well, this makes for a satisfying prologue to what could be something special. Recommended.

Grade: B+

-Hugo Robberts Larivière