Comic Book Review: Ultimate Power #1

Ultimate Power is a nine issue mini-series dealing with a big cross-over between the Ultimate Universe and the Squadron Supreme’s universe. Marvel put plenty of talent on this mini-series. Bendis will handle the writing chores. Land and Ryan will handle the art duties. This should be a great mini-series. I think that the Squadron Supreme is full of great characters. I’m excited to see someone other than JMS write the Squadron Supreme characters. I couldn’t stomach JMS’ preachy PC storyline so I had to give that title the axe despite the fact that I think they are a cool collection of characters. All right, let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Matt Ryan

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue begins with the Fantastic Four brawling with the Serpent Squad who are searching for the Serpent Crown. The Crown is being held by the government at Project Pegasus. During the fight, the Thing gets punched and one of his orange rocky plates falls off. Everyone is stunned. The Fantastic Four take down the Serpent Squad and then Reed places the Thing’s plate in a container in order to conduct studies on it when they get back to the Baxter Building. Sue and Reed comment that the Thing may be undergoing the start of a secondary mutation.

We cut to Reed in his lab late at night. He is consumed with guilt concerning Ben’s condition. Reed curses himself that he cannot find a cure for Ben’s condition. Reed then stares at the gateway to the Negative Zone and seems to have an idea.

We shift to Reed addressing Nick Fury over at the Triskelion. Reed wants to dispatch 4,200 information gathering spheres into uncharted areas of the N-Zone and the Z-Zone. Reed wants to produce a library of readings and energy signatures for the world science community to have access to. Nick asks Reed if this is all about trying to cure Ben Grimm. Reed counters that his inventions have made millions of dollars for the government. Nick says that they have had to deal with Gah Lak Tus, an alien invasion, the Fantastic Four’s zombie accident, Atlantis, the mole men and the disappearance of the Hulk. Nick says this is a time to regroup. It defiantly isn’t a time to poke their noses into places where they don’t belong. Nick says his answer is “no.”
We cut to Reed back at the Baxter Building. Reed is sitting in his lab and is clearly distraught. Reed then takes 5 of the sphere probes that he created and launches one into the N-Zone, one into the E-Zone, one into the R-Zone, one into the A-Zone and one into the M-Zone.

We shift to Sue, Johnny, Reed and the Thing inspecting a new line of Fantastic Four action figures. They engage in a debate as to whether the figures should be of a classic design or be more modern with tons of articulation. Suddenly, there is a huge explosion and the building rips apart. Sue creates a force shield to protect them from the blast and the debris. We then get a two page shot of the Squadron Supreme looking very aggressive and ready to kick some butt. End of issue.

The Good: Ultimate Power was a nice debut issue for what should be a rather entertaining mini-series. Bendis created the Ultimate Fantastic Four along with Mark Millar, so it is great to see Bendis back writing these characters. I forgot how much I enjoyed it when Bendis wrote Ultimate Fantastic Four. It is definitely better than the Mike Carey version that we are currently getting.

Ultimate Power #1 was well paced. Bendis is not known for delivering blistering paced stories. However, this wasn’t a slow issue. Bendis took his time and carefully laid out a solid foundation for his story to unfold over the remainder of this mini-series. As always, Bendis delivers excellent dialogue. The chemistry between the various members of the Fantastic Four is wonderful. Bendis’ dialogue makes this issue an enjoyable read. The scene where the team is arguing over the style of action figure for their toy line was great! For the record, massive articulation always beats sculpting.

I like how Bendis handles Reed’s character. We get an excellent feel for Reed’s guilt over the Thing’s condition. I enjoyed the scene where Reed goes ahead and sends out a few probes against Nick Fury’s orders. This quiet scene does a nice subtle job re-enforcing the strong friendship between Reed and Ben.

I am very curious about this possible secondary mutation concerning the Thing. Poor Ben has really gotten the short end of the stick and things only appear to be getting worse for him. I’m interested to see where Bendis goes with this plotline.

Bendis served up a nice dramatic ending with the sudden and rather violent appearance of the Squadron Supreme. I cannot wait for the next issue. The Squadron Supreme is full of some very cool characters and I’m excited for a writer other than JMS to handle them.

It is no secret that The Revolution absolutely adores Land and Ryan’s artwork. I praised it when they were handling the art chores on Ultimate Fantastic Four and I will praise it again on this title. I love their beautiful and rich artwork. I could stare at these deeply textured panels for hours. Some people may find this art too static for their tastes. Not for me. Land and Ryan deliver a beautiful comic book.

The Bad: No complaints with this issue.

Overall: Ultimate Power #1 is a solid start to what should be a very entertaining mini-series. There is now doubt that with Bendis, Land and Ryan on this mini-series we have more than enough talent to make this an excellent read. Next issue should certainly boast more action that this debut issue. I would definitely recommend giving this mini-series a try.