Comic Book Review: Ultimatum #1

Ultimatum has finally arrived as Marvel simply could not wait for their other “big event” in Secret Invasion to finish before cranking up this newest “big event.” I have to admit that Ultimatum doesn’t interest me that much. With the exception of Ultimate Spider-Man, I stopped caring about the rest of the Ultimate Universe years ago.

Also, I am not too sure that it was a wise idea by Marvel to tap Jeph Loeb to head up this big event. I enjoyed Loeb’s work over at DC, but Loeb has been incredibly disappointing since he came to Marvel. I mean, Wolverine was just awful and Hulk and the Ultimates 3 have been practically unreadable at times. I do not have faith in Loeb being able to craft a riveting big event with Ultimatum. I wish Marvel had given this task to Millar. Anyway, let’s hope for the best and go ahead and hit this review for Ultimatum #1.

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Danny Miki

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin at the Baxter Building with Reed getting ready to propose to Sue. We then cut to Johnny talking with his father, Dr. Storm. Dr. Storm asks Johnny when he is going to finally get off his butt and do something with his life. Dr. Storm comments that when Sue was Johnny’s age she had…Johnny then cuts off his dad and yells for him to stop comparing him to Sue. Johnny yells that his dad doesn’t get him and that he never will.

We cut to the Avengers Mansion where Tony is telling Steve to loosen up and have a drink with him. Tony then adds that Steve also needs to stop thinking about another man’s wife (Janet). We see Thor training with Valkryie. We then see Hank Pym in his new Yellow Jacket outfit. Hawkeye cannot believe that Janet is even talking to Hank after all he has done. Hank snaps for Hawkeye to butt out of their conversation. Hawkeye comes back with the witty comeback of “Bite me, freak.”

We slide over to the L train where Peter Parker, MJ, Kitty Pryde, Gwen Stacy and Kong are all heading over to the Baxter Building to hook up with Johnny Storm. Their plan is for Johnny to get them into some cool hotspot so that they can party.

We then zip to Broadway in the Theater District where Beast, Angel, Nightcrawler and Dazzler are strolling about. They all talk about how hard it is for them to fit in with the “normal” people around them.

Suddenly, a massive storm breaks out. We see the ocean completely flood Manhattan. We cut to the Baxter Building where most of the building is underwater. We see Johnny and Dr. Storm drowning. We see a blue whale crash through the building and collide with the Thing. We see Sue using her force field to carry her and Reed to the roof of the Baxter Building.

We see the Avengers Mansion underwater. Suddenly, a gigantic Yellowjacket comes out of the water and screams “Jan!” We cut to Midtown Manhattan where Bruce Banner is drowning in the water. He transforms into the Hulk and swims to the surface of the water. The Hulk then sees one of the Watcher totem poles in front him.

We shift to the L train where Kitty phases Peter through the roof. Kitty tells Peter to slip into his Spider-Man costume and get to work. Spider-Man swings off and wonders what he can do to help during a catastrophe like this one.

We cut to Angel swimming under the water and spying Dazzler’s body floating under the water. Angel grabs Dazzler and flies her out of the water. Angel screams to Dazzler “You’re not going to die on me!” Dazzler appears to be dead and Angel softly whispers “No.”

We slide over to the Avengers Mansion underwater. We see Iron Man grabbing an unconscious Captain America who is drowning in the water. Iron Man flies Captain America out of the water. Captain America wakes up and asks where Thor, Wasp and Hawkeye are. Iron Man answers that he does not know what just happened and he has no idea where anyone is.

We zip over to the roof of the Baxter Building where Sue tells Reed that she thinks she can push back the flood water. Sue makes a massive force field that starts to push the flood water out of Manhattan. Blood begins to pour from Sue’s nose and she collapses from the massive strain.

The Thing ends up climbing up to the roof. Reed stammers that Sue is barely breathing. The Thing then says that he thinks that Johnny and Dr. Storm are dead. Reed gets a stunned look and then stretches away from the rooftop. The Thing asks Reed where he is going.

We cut to Reed in a Fantastic Four water ship racing across the water. Namor suddenly comes out of the water and spits that he knew that Reed would come for him. Reed yells that Namor killed everyone. Namor yells that he could care less what Reed thinks, but that Namor did not destroy New York. Reed asks why he should believe Namor. Namor answers because he would never harm Sue.

Reed and Namor start fighting and Reed uses an electrical device that blasts Namor unconscious. Reed stands over Namor’s body and wonders if it was not Namor who attacked New York then who was it?

We cut to Latveria with Doctor Doom wondering what has happened to everyone. Doom sees that all of his people have been frozen under a massive snow storm.

We slide over to the X-Mansion where Professor X suddenly collapses in pain. Wolverine and Cyclops rushes to Xavier’s side. Professor X says that Beast, Dazzler and Nightcrawler are gone. That millions are dead. Professor X says that something terrible has happened. Professor X stammers that “Have to tell them…Warn them…”

Professor X then telepathically contacts Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Reed Richards and the Thing. Professor X tells them that he knows what happened. Professor X says that the person responsible for these catastrophes will not stop until it is much worse.

Xavier says that they must band together for the coming fight. Xavier states that he is sending what is left of his X-Men and that they will have the coordinates of where the heroes need to go. Xavier then adds that he is now going to give each hero a mental image of where they have to go.

We cut to a giant city floating in the sky. Xavier states that this is where the heroes must go. Xavier says that the person behind these catastrophes once told him of his Doomsday Plan that he had been working on. Xavier comments that he always thought it was a theoretical plan and that the person would never be able to actually act on it.

Xavier says that the Doomsday Plan calls for the murder of 6 billion people. Every man, women and child on Earth. We zoom into the floating city and see Magneto sitting on a throne. We see Thor’s hammer next to Magneto’s throne.

Professor X says that the heroes must stop Magneto. Magneto growls “Yes, bring them, Charles. Being everyone so I can tell them myself. For what they’ve done…They will have to pay the ultimate price!” End of issue.

The Good: Ultimatum #1 was an unimpressive read. However, there were several positive aspects to this issue that allow me to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Ultimatum #1 certainly was not a slow read. Loeb wastes absolutely no time kicking off this big event. Loeb gets the story moving quickly as there is very little set-up performed in this issue. Loeb gives the reader plenty of massive destruction as natural disasters strike Manhattan and Latveria.

I have to admit that I just love the Ultimate version of Tony Stark. With the 616 universe Tony Stark practically unrecognizable after what Marvel did to him during Civil War and all of the subsequent stories, it is great to see playboy Tony in full effect. All the man wants are some ladies and a nice stiff drink and not necessarily in that order.

I also dig that we get to see Hank Pym assuming his Yellowjacket identity in this issue. I think I am probably one of the only Hank Pym fans in all of comic fandom. It would be nice if Pym would be able to use the Yellowjacket suit in order to redeem himself.

I enjoyed David Finch’s artwork. I am not a huge fan of Danny Miki’s inks. They tend to be a bit to dark and muddy. However, Miki does a solid job inking Finch’s pencils in this issue. Finch does a phenomenal job bringing this big event to life. Finch’s double page splash shot of Manhattan being flooded effectively conveyed the massive scope of this catastrophe.

The Bad: Ultimatum #1 was a shallow read. Basically, Ultimatum #1 consists of Manhattan being flooded, some heroes getting killed, Latveria being frozen over and Professor X revealing to the surviving heroes that Magneto is behind the attack. There just is very little meat on the bones of this issue. Ultimatum #1 completely lacked substance and depth.

Loeb presents the reader with a standard issue catastrophe story. This is about as generic of a big event as you are going to find. The reader gets the sense that we have seen this all before in countless other comic books and movies. At no point does this issue convey anything particularly original or interesting. Instead, Loeb mechanically goes through the motions in giving the reader a big event that has a paint-by-numbers feel to it.

Of course, Loeb “treats” the reader to death, death and more death. It appears that several characters get killed off in this issue. I understand that David Finch said in an interview that Jeph Loeb was going to be brining much of the Ultimate Universe to a close. I guess that is code for killing off a bunch of characters. I can’t say that I find that particularly creative or original.

If Ultimatum is just going to be used to slaughter off a myriad of characters from the Ultimate Universe that I have absolutely no interest at all in it. I am so over the obligatory body count that both Marvel and DC feel that they must deliver with each “big event.”

I am also less than impressed with the basis for Ultimatum. Magneto hates humans and is going to use an assortment of natural disasters to kill off the human race. *Yawn* This is such an unoriginal and well worn theme. I know that comic books by nature are formulaic and that it is extremely hard to deliver a big event that does not employ some rather well worn themes. But, the fact remains that a story based on Magneto wanting to kill all the humans is just deathly dull and unoriginal.

Overall: Ultimatum #1 is a standard issue big event. This issue is nothing more than popcorn for the brain. I do think that fans who enjoy massive destruction and death will get a huge kick out of this issue. And fans who like a fast paced and very easy to read story will also like Ultimatum #1. However, if you prefer well crafted, complex and engaging stories then I would suggest passing on Ultimatum #1.

5 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Ultimatum #1

  1. I have been reading the ultimate universe titles since their inception, and i have to disagree with your review. I would have given the story 7 or 8 night girls. It was not a bad read at all, and it touches on alot of the story points that had already been established in the universe. The place where magneto is hanging out is asteroid m which was used in a story in Ultimate X men where magneto was going to reverse the polarity of the earth and kill everything outside of his citadel. The X-men stopped him. Magneto got thors hammer in Ultimates 3 when he kicked thors ass. I thought it was a good start to the story, kick it off with lots of energy and action. The only thing i thought was kind of stupid is that they killed off beast. again. Other than that, i thought it was a good start to the event. If the rest of the event is like this then we may have a problem, but as far as first issues go, pretty good.

  2. I think the last page tells everything: “NEXT: Things get worse”. Next issues will be worse than this one

  3. If anything, I think you are being too lenient with this.

    I have also followed the Ultimate Universe since the beginning and between this and Loeb’s Ultimates (which i didn’t buy, thank God), i have very little hope there’s going to be anything left after he’s done.

    Dialogue was horrible, characterization was completely off, bad cheesy lines, and zero regard for the stories that came before this (Loeb even managed to screw up his own continuity somehow!)

  4. For a first issue, I am tending to like this more than hate it. Most television shows and movies have an opening sequence to “hook” the viewer. Not much story, mostly flash. From that perspective, i like the way this issue starts off. Is it deep or complex? No. Does it need to be at this point? I don’t think so. Magneto is one of my favourites so it’s nice to see the death of his children really push him over the edge. Granted, if history is any indication, Loeb will eventually drop the ball again, bur for now I give it an 8 overall. Yes, an 8 may be high for the deep thinkers out there, but compared to Secret Invasion, i’m liking this ride MUCH better…


  5. re: averagejoe
    i am with you, like I said, as a first issue, its pretty good, as far as television is concerned, the first episode is all flash, trying to get the population pumped for the story to come. Let it be said that loeb will probably not deliver on the story that is to come, but for now, as a first issue, ultimatum #1 is not a bad start. And dont get me wrong, i dont think that loebs ultimates was any good at all, Millar is probably my favorite writer out there (ultimates 1 and 2 got me into comics, Bendis’ Ultimate spider-man got me to stay) and i think that ultimates 3 was tripe, but I just think that you are judging this a bit too harshly.

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