by Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy (Artists), Jason Keith (Colorist)
The Story: The plan of Reed Richards and Tony Stark gets going as the fate of the Ultimate universe lays on Kitty Pride and her ability to fight Galactus on her lonesome.
The Review: I have to confess I am a bit relieved. While this series started on the right footing with plenty of destruction and high stakes, the more it progressed, the less it could make me care. While I do have a general appreciation of the Ultimate universe and its characters, there are a great many things I like quite a bit more than this publishing line.
One of those is Galactus. Being a creation of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee along with being an amazing concept, I always do tend to like it when he is included in stories. With his presence, the stakes are always higher, more cosmic and there is always an inherent mix of goofiness and awesome that is brought alongside the character that I enjoy tremendously. However, for some reasons, it seems that this series and its conclusion, despite it featuring heavily the character in question, managed to be a rather unsatisfying affair.
Where it fails, in a way, is in how it is expedient, but also a bit unbelievable. While suspension of disbelief if a concept that is strongly tied to anything that is super heroic, the fact that the manner in which the characters actually defeat the cosmic entity is quite absurd is a tad baffling. While the very thought of someone trading punches with the planet-eater is something that is exciting on paper, the manner in which this very action unfold is quite a stretch considering the very threat and power Galactus represents.
While it can be a necessary evil for a threat to be somewhat reduced to serve the story or to provide room for development and surprises, Bendis doesn’t do much except present some of his more beloved characters in a new light. With Kitty Pride, Miles Morales, Tony Stark and Reed Richards being much more preeminent than any other characters in this issue, there is a certain lack of panel time dedicated to other characters that had been important to the general progression of the event. Worse yet, quite a lot of the development is more suggested or downright rushed than actually shown and carefully planner here, making some of the characters featured either a bit pointless or downright boring to read. While the actions of Miles and Tony Stark are downright heroic, they are quite inconsequential when compared to those of Kitty Pride and Reed Richards, making the fans of those particular characters more prone to disappointment than any other reactions due to this issue.
Not everything is catastrophic or downright negative, though, with some few surprises and a rather inventive way in which they actually do remove the threat of Galactus from their universe. While the Kitty Pride punching him part is more laughable than anything, the part with Thor, the Negative Zone and some use of the Ultimate universe is a bit more credible and entertaining than a lot of what is shown here.
However, despite this bright spot, there are other problems in this issue. While the art of Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy is serviceable sometimes, there is a multitude of places where it doesn’t add much to the story. The lack of coherent setting, the huge display of chaos which doesn’t make the action clear or concise and the awkward panelling in some places doesn’t do the best concepts justice. The characters, though, are expressive and detailed well-enough to be of consequence. Their anatomy, their reactions, their faces and their emotions makes them work for the most part, with some of the action actually being entertaining when it is visible. However, it is mostly murky and sometimes more than a bit chaotic, which makes some of the finer points a bit moot, all things considered.
The colorization of Jason Keith, while apt at times, doesn’t save the book though it does try valiantly. With a very big emphasis on warm colors to serve as a catalyst to the destruction and fights put on the page, Keith brings many vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange to provide for the more violent imagery. He goes a bit overboard in some cases, though, with not many pages or colors here to contrast or balance this specific choice which permeates a large chunk of the issue. While there are some occasions where there is a certain brightness and brilliance in terms of comparisons and tone, it’s not used well enough to make things work enough that it enhance the visuals. Deterring a bit the visual quality, Keith does his best, yet fumbles a bit with the colors.
The Conclusion: With the conclusion of this event being somewhat of an entertaining mess, it is still however a huge and rather poorly-made finale that doesn’t make the most of what it tries to do and change. It’s a pity, but the characters, universe and concepts presented here deserved better.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière