Comic Book Review: Ultimatum #4

After reading this issue the Revolution members became worried for Rokk and we decided to send him on a mini-vacation for the day to recover from what he read. So for now I (Kevin) am stuck reviewing Ultimatum #4, since I drew the shortest straw.

So far Ultimatum has been one of the worst comics that has been published. Still I should be able to power through and see what horrible things Loeb has in store.

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Peter Stigerwald (from Aspen Comics)

Story: 0 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue begins were Ultimate Spider-Man #132 left off with Hulk causing a huge magic explosion at Doctor Strange’s house. The explosion “kills” Spider-Man who was trying to stop Hulk from causing the explosion from happening.

Moments later Kitty Pride arrives on the scene to only find Spider-Man’s mask on the ground. Kitty picks up the mask and starts crying with her only word being “…Peter…”

Kitty then leaves the scene with Spider-Man’s mask (Kitty goes to Aunt May’s house to break the bad news to Aunt May, MJ, and the rest of the gang which happens in Ultimate Spider-Man #133 also out this week).

We then see that the explosion released Dormammu, who was imprisoned by the magic from Doctor Strange’s house. Doctor Strange confronts Dormammu and tells him that he will personally put down Dormammu himself. Dormammu then tells him that it was the Doc’s fault for his release.


Before Dormammu finishes his rant someone within from with Dormammu’s body starts screaming for help. We zoom in too see that it is actually Johnny Storm whose powers are somehow being used by Dormammu.

Doc Strange then launches an attack to try and free Johnny and defeat Dormammu. But as he attacks Dormammu tells Strange that Strange has no son and that his lineage ends with him. The next thing is Doc Strange wrapped in some cloth by Dormammu and sceezed until his head explodes and dies.

Dormammu starts to relish in the death of his enemy but before he can do anything Invisible Woman and the Thing show up to save Sue’s brother from Dormammu (Sue recovered and visited hell with the Thing in Ultimate Fantastic Four #58-60). As that happens someone in the shadows appears to take what is left of Doctor Strange’s body into what looks to be another dimension.

In Lower Manhattan the Hulk is being chased by an army helicopter. The helicopter is then shot down by one of Cyclops optic beam. Cyclops and Storm than contact Wolverine and say the Hulk is all his.

Hulk lands on the ground only to be confronted by Wolverine. They both stroll down memory lane and talk about how Hulk ripped Wolverine in half (Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1). Right as Hulk is about to smash Wolverine’s brains’ in Jean stops him her psychic abilities and convinces him to help them. Hulk responds “Hulk help pretty lady.” Wolverine than says they need to find Colossus and get the Hulk some pants.


The scene then shifts to the Supreme Universe’s White House where Nick Fury is heading home in his car. Before he can drive off Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, Power Princess, and Arcanna appear to bring him back to the Ultimate Universe. As they talk Fury reveals that Doctor Doom was the one that arranged Wanda’s murder back in Ultimates V3 #1.

Doom states that he only did it to make Magneto start a war between the humans and mutants and that Doom would just pick up the pieces as soon as it was over. However, Doom never imagined that Magneto would go as far as he did (Wow! Loeb has been able to make Doctor Doom look stupid with his writing. Is anyone safe under Loeb’s control?).

Reed and Power Princess then attack Doom because of what he has caused. Fury breaks them up by shooting his gun in the air. He then says he is ready to go home and orders Arcanna to take them all home. He then says under his breath “Secrets….Bite you in the ass every time.”

The scene shifts to Peter Parker’s house in the morning were Kitty is on the roof holding his mask and telling Logan that he died but she is not sure. (All forms an entertainment medium dictates no body = no death).

Logan then hands Kitty a box with the orders she only open it if something happens to him (Please, Logan survived with just being a severed head. Nothing can kill him). He then tells Kitty that she must stay here with Bobby and the others while he, the X-Men, and Ultimates fight Magneto. When she ask why he tells her that it is because she, along with the others, are the needed for the future as the world needs good people like her. They then hug before Logan departs.

Both the X-Men and Ultimates head to Magneto’s Citadel. Magneto observes them coming. As soon as Magneto gets up from his throne he is attacked by Angel who flew in through the window alone. Magneto then calls Sabertooth to take Angel down.

Sabertooth appears and slashes Angel’s back, rips off his wings with his teeth, and crushes his neck with his boot for good measures. As Sabertooth bask in his latest kill he is shot in the eye by one of Hawkeye’s arrow (Two deaths in one scene, will Loeb ever stop?!).

Magneto starts to run down a hall only to be met by Valkyrie who is looking to get her boyfriend’s (Thor) hammer back. As soon as Magneto swings Thor’s hammer Valkyrie cuts off his arm he was swinging with. Magneto uses his powers to disarm Valkyrie and cut her with her own sword.

Before Magneto can finish Valkyrie off, Captain America crashes in and attacks Magneto from behind. Before Cap can get the upper hand Magneto uses his powers to make the roof above Cap collapse on him. Magneto flies off while using his powers to close up his wounds before he bleeds to death.

As he finishes closing up his cut arm he is confronted by Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Hawkeye and Iron Man.

Magneto then says “And God said unto Noah: ‘The end of all flesh is come before me; for the Earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the Earth.” End of Issue.

Commentary
The Good: Sometimes too much happiness and positivity can become overrated. That’s why it is good that we get something in comic industry like Ultimatum as it is a nice outlet for all that negativity and hate a person wants to release. For that, Loeb’s Ultimatum #4 is so bad that it is a good thing because it gives me something to completely bash. For that I thank you, Loeb. Your awful writing has given me an outlet to just completely bash something.

In all seriousness though, the only good thing about Ultimatum #4, and this series so far, has been David Finch’s artwork. After about the second or third page I stopped reading Loeb’s writing and just looked at Finch’s artwork to tell the story.

And honestly when just looking at Finch’s artwork you can tell their is an actual story that could be told in this mess and it is a shame that his artwork is going to waste with how this story is being written.

The Bad: Ultimatum #4 has a horrendous read from start to finish. I would like to call Loeb’s work here amateurish, but I do not want to offend those amateur writers out there as I know a lot of them could write something fifty times greater than this mess of a series.

I’ll admit that Ultimatum actually did start off well with the first issue but after that first issue all that promise that was shown was flushed down a toilet. In it’s place, Loeb has given us a series that is all about one “shocking” moment after another.

And just like in reality TV when shock factor is your only form of storytelling than it loses all of its meaning after a while. In the case of Ultimatum, after the death of the Wasp, which was just shocking in the way it was done but not the actual death, Loeb was continuously trying to top that death with even more gruesome than the one previous.

At this point I couldn’t careless if Loeb just decided to launch all of the nuclear weapons in the world and wiped out all living creatures only for the cockroaches who can then rule the world. When a reader is bombarded with death after death in a single issue then it simply serves to make the reader numb to any and all events that happen later.

If Loeb really wanted to make this an effective story than maybe the series should have started with Thor, Captain America, and other heroes that died fighting their way through the land of the dead were in flashback form where we see that each hero, other than Thor, is actually dead and we are shown how it happened.

This way we could be told everything within two issues where Thor does what he did in issue #3 and gave his life to send Cap, Valkyrie, and the other heroes back to fight Magneto. This way you can have the impact of each death while bringing them back in a way that makes Thor looks like the hero of the story. At least in this way the story would have been much more affective. But I guess we have to live with these meaningless deaths.

While meaningless death after meaningless death has been a big problem with this series, the biggest problem I am having is that for such a huge disaster that is happening, not just in New York but also the whole world, that there is absolutely no fallout.

Instead of showing the reader how this disaster caused by Magneto has affected the whole world with citizens dying everywhere and government leaders reactions to such a grand mutant attack; we are only given scene after scene with superheroes standing around in their costumes talking about how horrible everything is.


Honestly, we have seen Bendis over on Ultimate Spider-Man present us with a much better fallout of what just happened in the Ultimate Universe. And I am guessing that we were given that silent issue in Ultimate Spider-Man #133 because Loeb begged and pleaded that Bendis to stop writing a much better story with his tie-ins as it is only showing the weakness of Loeb’s story even more.

And it is not like the X-Men and the Ultimates attacked Magneto as soon as they could. The tidal wave happened at night and instead of attacking at night, were the heroes could make a sneak attack, they waited until the next morning to do anything. If Loeb really want the reader to become invested into the story he would have at least had the heroes working to save citizens around the world who need help.

Instead, other than Spider-Man, who was shown helping people during the Ultimate Spider-Man tie-ins, all of the heroes are not really acting like heroes and they all appear selfish and only looking to avenge their fallen friends and not helping out the average citizens around the world that are dying.

Another problem with Ultimatum #4 is that almost everything that happens in this issue is taken from what happened in the Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Fantastic Four tie-in issues. Ultimatum #4 opens directly from were Ultimate Spider-Man #132 left off with the huge explosion at Doctor Stranges house. The way Loeb presented this storyline exhibited a complete lack of creativity on his part as he is just taking/stealing the ending of some else’s work instead off building off of his own ending from the previous issue.

And it was done in a way that if the reader is not reading Ultimate Spider-Man then the reader will be left scratching their head as this development with Hulk causing a huge magical explosion and Spider-Man trying to stop him comes completely out of left field.

Even more confusing is what is the point of introducing Dormammu in an issue before the last issue. The only purpose his appearance in the story seems to be is to “kill” Doctor Strange and a cheap way for Sue and the Thing to bring back Johnny.

Speaking of Ultimate Spider-Man, I really dislike the way Loeb choose to make Spider-Man go out in this issue. The “death” of Spider-Man in this issue alone would be reason enough for me to hate Loeb’s work even more than I already do.

But instead of having the balls to kill him off, Loeb ‘s way of killing Peter off is way to convenient as we see him disappear in the magic explosion in order to give Bendis a way to bring him back when Ultimate Comics Spider-Man starts. If Loeb really wanted to shock the reader that he should have had Peter’s dead body on the ground next to his mask instead of him just disappearing.

Also going back to the impact, or lack thereof, death has had in Ultimatum; the way Peter went is another case where if it was one of the first deaths that happened in this series than maybe, just maybe, it would have been “shocking.”

But in the end, just like the moment we find out Doctor Doom was the one who orchestrated the death of Scarlet Witch and every other moment in this series, the death of even my favorite character of not just the Ultimate Universe but in all of comics does not even generate a single emotion out of me.

Overall: Ultimatum #4 was yet another horrible issue of what has quickly become the worst series I have read. And I have read the 90’s Clone Saga. Just like how people hold up traffic to see how bad a crash is, the only reason I have to get the last issue of this series is that I just want to see how this trainwreck of a series will end. At least we’ll have Finch’s great art to look at.

10 Comments

  1. Posted this in the wrong thread the first time:

    Wow, has there ever been a 0 star rating for writing?

    Not that this issue didn't deserve it.

  2. I agree the issue was bad and everything Kevin said, but I just have one thing to say: Rokk has made small grammar or spelling errors in the past, but Kevin… you need to be a little more careful with your proof-reading.

    Sorry, that's kind of a bastard thing to say, but seriosuly, there were points where I couldn't understand what you were saying at all. Though I got the general meaning: Ultimatum sucks.

  3. I used to like Loeb's work in Superman/Batman (also know as the World's Finest Bromance) but man, this is utterly garbage. It is like the current Loeb comes from a Mirror Universe where senseless death of random characters because the publishing house doesn't know what to do with the universe is considered avant garde and the equivalent to Watchmen.

    That or someone there is smoking something really strong. I might need some of that to understand this.

  4. My 'favourite' part about this issue is that easily the best scene (the only one even remotely worth consideration), the Logan/Kitty moment, still makes no sense within the Ultimate Universe. Yet again, Loeb is writing them as if they're the 616 Kitty and Logan.

  5. kitty and logan have an unspecified relationship, logan sends her a note in an issue of USM that makes her tear up. This relationship is never elaborated upon but it was implied that they have a deep respect for one another.

    p.s. should have saved the zero for #5

  6. i don't know what's worse! The fact people actually pay Loeb to continue writing comics or the schmucks like us who should know better and keep buying his crap anyway!
    It's like seeing an accident on the highway and no matter how gruesome it may be we still feel compelled to look!
    I think 0 was far too generous for this 'destined for the recycling bin' comic.
    PS – keep up the great work boyz! Would luv to see more non-Marvel/DC reviews!! 🙂

  7. I would like to say the only thing that made this issue better that the previous ones.

    Since Loeb came to Marvel, he's mucked up pretty much every character he's had to write. And in Ultimatum, he has pretty much written (and subsequently mucked up) everyone. Still, I like (not looooove, just like) his Nick Fury.

    The main problem with Loeb is that he destroys what other writers before him have done with a character and makes him whatever he wants them to be. But Fury stays true to his roots. I liked that he didn't take crap from Zarda, Doom and the Fantastics, and how he knew about Doom's
    murder of Wanda.

    At first I thought it was kind of stupid that Nick Fury would be able to turn the tide of a battle that the Ultimates, the X-men and the FF were losing (badly), but the truth is that Fury is always two steps ahead of all the capes in the Ultimate Universe (this is also true in the 616 Universe). When he says "You take me out of the equation and… well, here you are." you know it's the truth. Without Fury all falls apart. It helps that all of the heroes look like jackasses in this particular comic, and therefore more helpless.

    Anyway, the rest was crap, pretty crap as drawn by Finch, but since the Ultimate Universe has been brain-dead for some time, there is some kind of enjoyment in watching Loeb obliterating it. Like a car wreck, indeed.

  8. it cannot get much worse than this. The reader would only receive enjoyment from this issue if they used it as kindling for a campfire.

  9. "Logan then hands Kitty a box with the orders she only open it if something happens to him (Please, Logan survived with just being a severed head. Nothing can kill him)."

    Well, he could still end up missing in action like her last ex-boyfriend.
    The best healing factor can be useless against magical vanishing.

  10. I for one am going to going to focus on all the poastives I found in this issue.

    1) This is the second beheading in the mini-series, and at no time did he have some make a quip like "jeeze, you don't have to bite my head off." if Iwas wirting the series, I don't think I would be able to show the kind of restraint.

    2) Magneto is always quoting biblical texts for some reason. As a Jew, I like when I see Jewish chrachters in comics in touch with their heiritage.

    3) It's only five issues. It could have been six

    4) They promissed that this would be shocking. Shockingly bad is still techically shocking.

    5) There are no Nazis, and you know how Rokk hates Nazis.

    See, there's always good o be found if we only look.

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