Comic Book Review: Ultimatum #2

The Revolution was largely unimpressed with Loeb’s effort on Ultimatum #1. However, there is a chance that Loeb might still make this event into an original and interesting story. Let’s hope for the best and hit this review for Ultimatum #2.

Creative Team

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

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Spider-Man rescuing someone from being crushed under a taxi. We then see SHIELD’s forces on the scene responding to the disaster area. We see several Giant Men picking up buildings that fell down and trains that got de-railed.

Spider-Man strains at the weight of keeping the taxi from crushing a man. Spider-Man calls out for help from one of the Giant Men. Instead, it is Hulk who appears and lifts the taxi out of Spider-Man’s hands.

We cut to Iron Man holding an unconscious Captain America and racing to SHIELD’s Triskellion. Iron Man enters the Triskellion and orders the SHIELD agents to take Captain America to the medical bay. At first the SHIELD agents draw their weapons on Iron Man before Carol Danvers appears on the scene and orders the agents to lower their weapons.

Iron Man tells Carol that Captain America is not breathing. Carol orders that Captain America be taken to the medical bay immediately. We see the medical team working frantically to jumpstart Captain America’s heart. Carol tells Tony that she wants him to use SHIELD for communications and ground support when the heroes take on Magneto.

Carol bemoans the fact that this would not have happened if Nick Fury were still here. Tony tells Carol to shut up. Tony says that he has to go. Tony hands Carol Captain America’s shield and tells her to give it to Steve if he wakes up. Suddenly, a code-red alert goes off in the Triskellion. It is under attack.

We shift to Tony Stark’ mansion, the home of the Ultimates. We see Henry Pym in his Yellowjacket costume and in giant form as he screams out for Jan in a frantic search for her. Hawkeye yells for Pym to listen to him. Pym does not hear Hawkeye. Hawkeye comments that this is like trying to have a conversation with a skyscraper.

Hawkeye then climbs up Henry’s leg. Henry then notices Hawkeye and grabs him and threatens to crush Clint in the palm of his hand. Henry asks Clint to give him one reason why Henry shouldn’t kill him. Hawkeye responds that they can find Jan quicker if Henry lets Hawkeye help him. Hawkeye says that he went through “The Program” and that his vision has been enhanced.

Henry retorts that Hawkeye said that Jan should not be anywhere near Henry. Hawkeye replies that no matter what he might think of Henry that Hawkeye understands what it is like to lose the woman you love. Hawkeye adds that nobody deserves that kind of pain.

We slide over to the Baxter Building. Sue Storm is unconscious and in a bed in the medical bay. The Thing is sitting by her side. The Thing comments how they cannot find Dr. Storm or Johnny. Suddenly, Sue’s powers go on the fritz and push the Thing through the wall.

We cut to six miles off the coast of New York with Reed in his water craft with Namor strapped to the front of it. Reed snaps that he does not care what Xavier said about Magneto being responsible for all of this. Reed says that Namor had to play a role in the tidal wave that hit Manhattan. Reed cries that all he wanted to do was marry Sue.

Suddenly, Dr. Doom’s ship appears over Reed’s ship and then uses a tractor beam to pull Reed’s ship into Doom’s ship. Doom and Princess Power appear in front of Reed. Doom says that Magneto is responsible for everything. That Magneto offset the magnetic poles creating these ecological nightmares.

Reed continues to spaz crying why should he believe Doom and that Doom is probably a part of this. Doom brushes off Reed’s accusations. Doom says that he has a solution to the problem. That they need to get Nick Fury. Reed answers that there is no way to go back to the Squadron Supreme’s Earth. Doom says that Reed is wrong. Princess Power then states that she can take them to the Squadron Supreme’s Earth.

We shift back to New York City with Thor riding Pegasus and searching for Valkyrie. Thor then spies Valkyrie’s body. Valkyrie is dead and Thor holds her body and cries. Thor then screams that this is wrong and that things will change.

Thor then transports himself to Valhalla and comes face to face with Hela, the mistress of the dead. Thor demands that Hela allow Thor to retrieve Valkyrie. Hela denies Thor’s request. Hela then says that if Thor can defeat her army then she will give him back Valkyrie for a price. Thor agrees to Hela’s proposition. Thor then begins battling Hela’s minions.

Thor hacks his way through a seemingly unending onslaught of minions. Suddenly, Captain America appears on the scene and helps Thor in his fight. Thor asks Captain America how it is possible that he is here in Valhalla. Captain America replies that he does not know and that they will figure it out once they are done with this battle.

We cut back to Henry Pym and Hawkeye searching for Jan. Hawkeye says that he sees something. Hawkeye runs down a street and sees the Blob eating the insides of Janet. (No seriously, the Blob is actually eating her guts and we get a big splash shot of it. Wow, this has been a bad month for Janet, huh?)

We slide over to the X-Mansion where we see Magneto standing in front of Charles Xavier. Xavier says that his X-Men have left and are registering the bodies of their dead teammates. Xavier spits that he will never help Magneto and that he will do everything in his power to stop Magneto. Xavier asks if this is revenge for the deaths of Magneto’s children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Magneto states that humans have done nothing but destroy the Earth. Magneto says that God washed it all away in forty days and forty nights. Magneto states that he shall do it in three days.

Xavier responds that Magneto is not a god. Xavier says that he will lead the charge to hunt down Magneto. Xavier says that Magneto will be remembered as a madman like Bin Laden and Hitler. Magneto replies “I knew when I came here tonight, this was inevitable.”

Magneto then breaks Xavier’s neck. Xavier falls to the ground dead. Magneto says “In the past, you have had a hand in every one of my failures. Toppling the best laid plans. It had to stop.” End of issue.


The Good: Wow. I have to somehow satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. Let’s see, I enjoyed David Finch’s artwork. I have always like Finch’s art and it is a shame that he has to be attached to such a dreadful event like Ultimatum. Finch is able to successfully capture and convey the massive scope of this big event. The two page splash shot of the Giant Men sifting through the carnage in New York City was fantastic.

Finch also packs plenty of intensity into his dynamic artwork. This is evident in the excellent double page splash shot of Thor battling Hela’s minions. Finch draws nice facial expressions and is able to inject plenty of emotion into the characters. The writing on this issue was so bad that about half-way through the issue I just ignored the story and simply looked at Finch’s pretty pictures.

The Bad: Ultimatum #2 was a rather dumb issue. Loeb tosses out a fairly mindless read. The story feels scatterbrained. Loeb veers all over the place. The reader never gets the sense that there is any real coherent plan or blueprint for this story. Instead, Loeb’s master plan seems to be for Magneto to kill everyone. And the story is simply a bunch of random deaths strung together by a bunch of supposedly cool “Oh shit!” moments designed to target your typical thirteen year old boy.

Loeb’s dialogue is poor. The characters talk in such generic voices. And at times the dialogue is delivered in a clumsy and clunky fashion. The character work continues to be completely non-existent on this title. Instead of well developed and interesting characters, all we are getting are one-dimensional and shallow cardboard cut-outs who stiffly make their way through issue.

Loeb’s rendition of Reed Richards is noticeably poor. Reed screeches and rants like a complete spaz with a limited intellect. One would never imagine Reed acting in such a fashion. I am not saying that Reed would not show some emotion, but Loeb has Reed running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I found the scene with Thor fighting in Valhalla for Valkyrie to be rather random and uninteresting. And having Captain America suddenly appear by Thor’s side made this plotline even goofier. This comes across like a silly and unnecessary plotline.

Inserting Doom and Power Princess into the story and revealing that they have to travel back to the Squadron Supreme’s Earth in order to get Nick Fury so that they can save the Ultimate Universe did little for me. I was not all that impressed with the last crossover between the Squadron Supreme’s world and the Ultimate Universe and re-hashing that same event in such a short span of time fails to capture my excitement.

I cannot wait to see how Loeb manages to make Nick Fury so important to the Ultimate Universe that this type of cataclysmic event can only be solved by returning Nick to the Ultimate Universe. Maybe Loeb can turn this plotline into something engrossing, but at this point I am just not seeing it.

It appears that Loeb’s big plan for Ultimatum is simply to kill everyone and destroy everything. That is incredibly unimpressive. What impresses me are comic book creators. And to be a creator you must actually create something.

Destroying takes no talent. Any novice writer who can string words together in a somewhat coherent fashion can deliver this type of story that we are getting in Ultimatum. I do not mind some de-construction when there is a clear plan for building something newer and better. However, I simply do not see where Loeb has a clear plan for something newer and better for the Ultimate Universe in the wake of Ultimatum.

In the end, Ultimatum lacks depth and substance. Basically, this story is basically nothing more than Magneto killing everyone. That’s it. This is just a mindless rampage full of gore and cheap deaths. Modern comic book readers are already largely desensitized to ultra violence and death. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the writer to use deaths judiciously. And to make sure that each death has a purpose.

Civil War is a good example of this. Millar only delivered one death during Civil War. And when Bill Foster died it had a large impact on the reader. It drove home the point about the recklessness of both sides and that in the end the war between heroes would never result in anything positive.

However, in Ultimatum, Loeb has simply flooded the reader with numerous cheap deaths. And the result is that none of the deaths have any impact at all on the reader. The reader simply shrugs their shoulders and moves on to the next obligatory death. Death without rhyme or reason causes the reader to become disengaged from the story.

The scenes with Thor were gave us a couple of pages of cool action, but they were largely pointless. Valkyrie’s death means absolutely nothing at all to the reader. And the reason is because Loeb never spent any time over in Ultimates 3 developing her character and getting the reader to relate to her and to become invested in her character. So, the failure by Loeb to create some type of connection between the reader and Valkyrie’s character robbed her death of any impact on the reader. It was just another in a long line of meaningless deaths.

I would have to say that out of all the deaths that Loeb has overwhelmed the reader with in these first two issues, that Janet’s death was the worst of them all. This death is a perfect example of Death Porn. This was nothing more than over the top gore. Loeb gave Janet such a cheap and purposeless death. Seriously, I thought Janet’s death in Secret Invasion was pointless and lame, but Janet’s death in Ultimatum makes Janet’s death in Secret Invasion look practically Shakespearian.

The final scene with Xavier and Magneto elicited a “ho-hum” reaction from me. And this is exactly the problem with flooding the reader with too many deaths. If Xavier’s death had been the only death that Loeb had given us in these first two issues then it certainly would have had more impact. However, by the time I arrived at this final scene I pretty much figured that we were due for yet another death.

And it was rather anti-climactic and hard to believe that Xavier would go out like such a bitch. No fight, no blaze of glory, no heroic sacrifice. Just some rambling dialogue and then out of nowhere Xavier gets his neck unceremoniously snapped. Obviously, it appears that the Ultimate X-Men do not survive Ultimatum since Xavier, Dazzler, Beast and Nightcrawler have all been killed in just the first two issues. And I am sure that plenty more will die in the upcoming issues.

Overall: Ultimatum #2 was a poorly crafted story. Loeb delivers this issue in such a heavy handed manner. This is an unintelligent read and I certainly would not recommend wasting your hard earned money on this title. At this point, I am just hoping that my beloved Ultimate Spider-Man manages to avoid being stained by the Ultimatum event.

4 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Ultimatum #2

  1. What happened to Janet in this issue was the absolute most disgusting and pointless thing I have ever seen in comic books. Granted, I haven’t read any of the Marvel Zombies stories or anything like that out of objection of the idea of superheroes, who are supposed to be symbols of something nobler, being treated in such a way. But regardless, seeing this just makes me want to ask, “What are comics coming to?”

  2. I think the reason why cap showed up in valhalla out of nowhere is because he died on the operating table in the triskelion. When thor and cap eventually finish off the undead army, thor will have to choose; valkyrie or cap.

  3. I thought that the Ultimate universe was the fresh start universe.Ultimate Spider-Man was always a fun read and I loved the Ultimates and Ult X-men and FF had their moments. Why is this necessary? Why can’t the Ultimate U be a place for great stories,not huge crossovers? If it is such a great idea make it next weeks event in the regular Marvel Universe. If there is no difference between the tone of these universe ,then just fold them together.

  4. That’s the second Marvel review in the last two weeks that featured cannibalism (The other was for Spider-Man: Noir). Somehow I missed the point when eating human flesh became such a great plot device in comics.

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