by Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy (Artists), Jason Keith (Colorist)
The Story: With Galactus destroying everything, the Ultimates are left wondering which options are left against cosmic powered entities.
The Review: The latest issue of this event was rather bombastic. In a lot of ways, the arrival of Galactus proved to be rather exciting, with a certain level of destruction and scope that was rather entertaining to read. Attempts were made to stop him, people were panicking and everything that needed to be said about the cosmic entity had been clearly put on the page. However, how does a writer continues with such a big introduction to his cast and to the conflict at hand?
Unfortunately, Brian Michael Bendis follows this with an issue that slows down the action and sensation of urgency in order to bring people up to speed. While it is always a nice thing to remind readers about some of the specifics and to see the characters obtain information on the current threat, it does not always make for an exciting or enjoyable reading experience.
Simply put, there is quite a lot of exposition and dialogue here, with Bendis mixing things up with his traditional take on conversations in comic books. While some of the quips coming from the character adds some levity to the situation they are in, it quickly becomes too much as most characters ends up either explaining the obvious or their motivations to one another, which leads to pages rather heavy in dialogue.
This, in turn, kinds of hurt the pacing of the story. There isn’t much happening in here, despite the scope of the story, with Miles Morales getting together with the Ultimates, destruction occurring and people theorizing about potentials ways to get rid of the entity that will end up killing them all. This becomes more like a slow burn with plenty of explanations given, which does not bode well for the remaining three issues of this series.
Not everything is negative, though, as there are some really nice ideas put forward. The use of elements from Spider-Men, like the inclusion of Mysterio and the fact that Miles Morales did enter the regular 616 universe is presented here in a light that could very well prove to be rather interesting. The dichotomy between the two Reed Richards is also mentioned, something that put many aspects of this story and the difference between the two universe in perspective.
The characterization is also rather good at times, with some characters like Mysterio, Tony Stark and Miles Morales being written well. Other characters do get some lines, though not all do shine, due to a rather low importance and presence in this issue. Jessica Drew do get some funny lines and Thor do get to appear a bit in ways that matters, but others like Ben Grimm, Captain America and Hawkeye don’t exactly do much other than provide opportunities for others to shine.
Some people who does get to shine a little here are Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy, who succeeds for the most part in putting forth what is needed for the script. The characters are clear, their designs respected and the visual pacing is good. The scope of some pages and panels is big enough for a story of this stature, with Galactus towering over everything and his energy crackling madly. The expressions of the characters, in most scenes, are rather well-put together, showing both subtlety and hyperbolism that present the emotions well enough. Where both falters, though, is with the group shots as the clear and concise lines, along with the more precise emotions are thrown a bit to the side. I suppose sacrifices in details are to be made when putting so many characters together in the same panels and pages, yet it creates a certain clash with other scenes that are much more detailed as a result. It certainly isn’t issue breaking, but it is a tad disappointing nonetheless.
What’s also disappointing is the colorization of Jason Keith, who comes off as competent, yet does not experiment very much with his work. The explosions are colorful enough and there is a certain diversity brought to the pages, yet the composition becomes a bit too chaotic all along the issue. With so rich a palette and so many different color designs, the contrasts become too numerous and small to properly count, putting several spotlights on various elements that clash a bit together. It isn’t exactly like in the entire issue, but in several moments it becomes a bit distracting. Despite all this, the colorization of Jason Keith could be summarized as competent, yet not especially good in this issue.
The Conclusion: There are some nice ideas and some very nice art in this issue, yet the heavy dialogue, weird pacing and uneventful story makes for a somewhat disappointing read.
Hugo Robberts Larivière