Ultimatum #5 Review

Somehow after four issues of torture the final issue of Ultimatum is here. With what has happened over the past four issues it is hard to see how Jeph Loeb will be able to redeem himself with this final issue. But, hey, miracles can happen, right? In any case, let’s see what Loeb has in store for us with Ultimatum #5.

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorists: Peter Steigerwald and Guru eFX

Story: 0 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Wolverine popping his claws and telling Magneto that the other times they have fought he has held back.  Wolverine says that this time he is not holding back and is ready to kill Magneto. With that Wolverine lunges at Magneto knocking him down and starts slashing away at Magneto. (It is at this point where I stopped reading Loeb’s dialogue and allowed Finch’s art to tell the story.)

Magneto after getting slashed a couple times finally uses his powers to throw Wolverine aside. Magneto then opens Cyclops’ visor and takes control of Iron Man’s armor and burns all of Wolverine’s skin off.

Hawkeye stops Cyclops by shooting of his visor.  Storm stops Iron Man by hitting him with a lightning bolt.

As Magneto thinks that Wolverine is dead Wolverine’s skeleton grabs Magneto. Magneto then finishes of Wolverine off by tearing the adamantium from his bones except for his right hand which is stuck on Magneto’s chest. Hawkeye, Storm, Iron Man, Cyclops, and Jean all stand around Wolverine’s bone ashes in shock. (*YAWN*)

In another part of Asteroid M, Colossus and Hulk are destroying Asteroid M’s engines. They are attacked by Mystique with a flamethrower. Though they are stunned, Colossus and Hulk charge at Mystique, who drops her flamethrower in fear. Before they reach her, Sabertooth saves Mystique and they both escape Asteroid M on a hang-glider. (A freaking hang-glider, couldn’t Magneto have sprung for a jet or helicopter to go along with his hovering asteroid? What a cheapskate.)

At that moment, the flamethrower that Mystique used self-destructs within Asteroid M and destroys Asteroid M’ engines.

In Magneto’s chamber we see Magneto crawling towards his throne. Magneto takes out Wolverine’s claw that was stuck on his chest. Nick Fury appears behind Magneto.  Fury says that, just like he told Doctor Doom a few months ago, that every single one of them has a weakness.  Nick says that he has an ace in the hole. (Except you Fury, because we all know you are one bad @#%@#$%@$.)

Magneto says he will never answer to Fury. Fury says he is not going to answer to him.  That Magneto is going to answer to Jean Grey.

Jean walks up to Fury and Magneto and connects their minds together in order to show Magneto the truth. Fury shows Magneto that all mutants were just created by scientist as a mistake when trying to re-create the super-soldier formula.

Magneto breaks down and starts crying. Reed tells Magneto he must set things right and repair the magnetic poles he has shifted. Magneto uses the last of his strength to put things right by shifting the magnetic poles back into place. (This is where it would have been cool to see a spread were the Earth goes back to normal. Oh well!)

Magneto starts saying that Charles will forgive him. Cyclops approaches him and says Magneto killed Charles.  Cyclops then blasts Magneto’s head clear off with an optic blast. (Is this event over yet?)

All the heroes that are left alive gather together and use the X-Jet to make their escape. As Asteroid M falls into the ocean we see that Wolverines claw moving and burning up within Asteroid M. (I knew that Loeb didn’t have the balls to kill off Wolverine.)

Eight days later a huge crowd of mutant haters have gathered in front of the United States Senate Building. Outside the Senate building we see Scott, with Storm and Colossus by his side, making a speech.  Scott says that the Senate is holding a vote to make all mutants turn themselves in or be hunted by the US government. (Ugh, Loeb decided to steal from HEROES and do the same storyline from season three of that show. No wonder he was fired from the show.)

As Cyclops speaks he is shot through the head. This causes a huge riot to ensue. Jean and Bobby try to go to Scott’s aid, who were in the crowd, but are stopped by Rogue and Kitty, respectively. Carol Danvers and the SHIELD agents hold Storm and Colossus at gunpoint saying they are under arrest.

Over in Latveria we are shown that Doctor Doom has Namor as his prisoner.  Evidently, Doom was behind everything and that Doom had Wanda killed in order to set off Magneto into attacking the Earth.  This would allow Doom to take advantage and pick off whatever was left standing.

The Thing then busts into Doom’s place. Doom tries to blast The Thing but it does not affect The Thing.  The Thing grabs Doom’s head and crushes it. (Was I supposed to be surprise or have even cared about this scene?)

The scene shifts to a cabin in Wudangore were Quicksilver has just returned and revealed that he was the one who assassinated Scott with the same bullet that killed Wanda (Quicksilver needs to eat some In-n-Out burgers.)

Quicksilver grabs Magneto’s helmet and is shown talking to Mystique, Sabertooth.  Someone in the shadows says his father’s dream still lives on. End of torture. Wait I meant: End of Issue.

Commentary
The Good: Ultimatum #5 was just a horrendous read. Still in staying with the Revolution’s Rule of Positivity there was something good to take out of this final issue of Ultimatum. And believe it or not it is not just David Finch’s art.

With Ultimatum over it means that the healing process for the Ultimate Universe can begin. And who better to fix the disaster caused by this event than Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, and Warren Ellis. With what has been solicited for Ultimate Comics Avengers, Spider-Man, and Armored Wars so far it looks like the Ultimate Universe will finally be returning to the solid storytelling it once had before Loeb got his hands on this universe.

As for the issue itself, the only good thing within the pages of Ultimatum #5, and the whole series in general, is David Finch’s artwork. I am not kidding when I say that two pages into this issue that I stopped reading Loeb’s dialogue and just let Finch’s artwork tell the story. I just filled in the bubbles myself in order to find enjoyment as Finch does an excellent job with his artwork.

With his artwork alone I can see that there may have been an actual story. I can actually tell why Finch decided to draw this series as he is given plenty of splash pages in this issue to work his artistic muscle.  Finch really does some sick stuff as his splash pages were simply awesome.

The Bad: What else can I say other than Ultimatum #5 was just what I expected it to be: a horrible ending to a horribly written event. I would seriously like to know what has happened to Loeb as Ultimatum has been just another example of how his work has been going downhill ever since he signed with Marvel. It seems that Loeb, while a competent writer, is just not a good fit in Marvel.

Throughout the whole issue, all of the dialogue that Loeb wrote within each page read more like he was trying to fill in the bubbles instead of telling a story. Loeb just didn’t seem to be trying at all. Loeb just seemed to be happy with letting Finch do all of the work and made all of the dialogue not much of a priority.

To make things worse, everything that Loeb tried to do with Ultimatum was to give the reader what he thought would be “shocking.”  On top of that, Loeb proceeded to give us these “shocking” moments throughout every page of the event instead of providing an actual story to go along with these moments. And Ultimatum #5 was the biggest violator of this as almost everything about this issue heavily relied on the “shock” value within every page.

And that was the biggest problem with the whole series, and the whole time Loeb has been writing the Ultimate Universe, as he heavily relied too heavily on “shocking” deaths.  The reader simply becomes completely numb to these “shocking” moments.

Reading Ultimatum was like having to watch those car crash videos in Driver’s Education class. Sure, the first couple times you see it you feel extremely sad and horrified for the people involved. But, after having to see the video for a while you become numb to what you are watching because it is the same thing over and over again.

And that is how Ultimatum has felt like. When Loeb gives us the deaths of some of the biggest characters in the Ultimate Universe I really did not care about those deaths. That is saying a lot since I have been reading most of the Ultimate titles since the beginning and really liked most of these characters.

But, as I said before, this largely goes back to Loeb relying on trying to insert “shocking” moment after “shocking” moment that I could not have cared less about what happened to these characters. I did not really care about the deaths of Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops, or Doctor Doom. And the Doctor Doom death especially seemed to be the most pointless of them all as it came out of nowhere without even a reason for it happening other than Loeb feeling that the body count wasn’t high enough to satisfy his blood lust.

The other problem that Loeb had with his storytelling was how stupid he made every character sound and act. Just take a look at how the heroes handled the big fight with Magneto that Loeb has been building towards for the past four issues. Instead of going in and playing it smart by using the heavy hitters like the Hulk, Captain America, Valkyrie, Storm, Jean Grey and Cyclops in an actual thought out plan the heroes instead go at Magneto, the most dangerous person in the Ultimate Universe, one at a time.

How all the heroes that were left handled the whole Magneto situation really made them all look like the stupidest people on the planet. Because, if they really had a plan to handle the situation Wolverine would have been the absolute last of the heroes you would send in to fight Magneto. With his powers Wolverine should not have even be able to touch Magneto. The amount of strikes that Wolverine was able to get in at Magneto makes it look like Magneto just forgot he had the power of magnetism which allows him to control metal.

Now, I would have understood it if Wolverine got the finishing strike on Magneto to stop him after all the other heroes had weakened or distracted him.  But that is not what happened. Instead, all of the heroes stood around like statues as they watched Wolverine try and take down Magneto, who forgot he had powers.

And the moment I saw Wolverine charge at Magneto I already knew that Magneto was going to kill or at the very least rip out all the adamantium out of Wolverine as Magneto’s 616-counterpart did in Fatal Attraction.

Just like the “deaths” of Spider-Man in the last issue and Captain America in issue #2, I knew that Loeb did not have it in him to kill off one of the biggest Marvel characters in Wolverine.  Loeb took a cop-out by leaving it open for Wolverine to return. And as we saw right when Asteroid M was sinking into the ocean Wolverine’s claw that was stuck on Magneto’s chest came to life meaning his whole body will probably regenerate in the Ultimatum: X-Men Requiem one-shot.

Then there is the dues ex machina, I mean Nick Fury that Loeb used to put things right again by having Fury reveal to Magneto that the mutants are a mistake by some scientist trying to recreate the Super Soldier Serum.  I really do not see how this is a revelation to Magneto who already had knowledge of this back in Ultimate Origins were he found out his parents were the ones responsible for creating the first mutant in Wolverine.

And what Fury revealed to Magneto also does not take away from the fact more mutants are being born every year and even if they were originally a mistake it does not mean that more new mutants won’t be born. This is not like a House of M situation.  Therefore,  I do not understand how this information would stop Magneto from getting revenge for the deaths of his children, not fellow mutants, but his own children.

What would have been better is if Fury revealed to Magneto that it was Doctor Doom who was behind the assassination of his children in order to use Magneto for his own gain. Then maybe we could have seen Magneto take his revenge on Doctor Doom which would have given Doctor Doom’s death some actual meaning.  This is just another example of Loeb not using any sort of logic in his story in order to end this horrible event in a proper fashion.

To make things worse after all this happens what does Loeb decide to do? He decides to rip off the Season 3 storyline from HEROES. Everything about the scene outside the senate building made me think back of how bad HEROES has gotten and then think that Loeb has made the Ultimate Universe even worse than what HEROES has become after the first season. No wonder he was fired from the show.

And then there is the supposed cliffhanger ending that we got to end the series. With everything that happened in this issue, and this event in general, by the time Loeb gave us the ending with Quicksilver, Mystique, and Sabertooth who were talking to some mysterious woman in the shadows about starting over it could not have gotten more of a non reaction from me than it did.

Just like every other “shocking” moment that Loeb gave us throughout the series, I simply did not care about this new development. If nothing else, the ending exemplified just how much I have stopped caring about anything that happened in this event.  I simply do not care about seeing any of the follow-up from this development that Loeb came up with to end Ultimatum.

Overall: Ultimatum #5 was just a horrible end to one of the worst events I have ever read, if not the worst. This whole series is yet another example of how Loeb’s writing has continued to go downhill since the beginning of his tenure at Marvel. The good thing is that this event is now finished and we can start over with the relaunch of the Ultimate Universe titles in the form of Ultimate Comics in a few weeks.

If you were thinking of picking up this miniseries when it came out in trade format then I would recommend skipping this event and using your money to buy a trade that is actually worth your money. I am sure that this event won’t be needed to be read in order to jump into Ultimate Comics.  I am sure that Bendis, Millar, and Ellis will tell you everything you need to know in the three new titles without ever having to read this event.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Kevin

3 Comments

  1. I really can't believe that Loeb still works in Marvel. Seriously, did Joey Q lose a bet or something? Does Loeb know a terrible secret and is blackmailing Marvel so they don't fire him?

    Bendis will have no problem returning to his U Spider-Man since the changes in Ultimatum hardly affected it. But I would like to see how Millar takes the blasted pieces of the Ultimates and turns them into something decent.

    By the way, what the hell happened with Dormammu? Loeb didn't even mention his defeat at the hands of the FF (which I supposed happened, since Johnny and Ben appear in the epilogue). Another example of what a horrible writer he has become.

  2. Thank the gods that it is finally over. And with that, I am out of the Ultiamte Universe, and I will never read or watch anything with Loebs name attached to it.
    I do not see how they could possibly hope to have anyone invest any time into reading a continuation of this Universe after everything that has been done. Money is tighter now, so I will be picking and choosing what few titles I will be purchasing from now on. No more Unltimate Marvel Universe for me.

  3. I believe that there is an elephant in the room when it comes to Jeph Loeb. You know, and I hope I'm not being disrespectful when I say this, but I don't think it is any coincidence that the quality of Mr. Loeb's writing began to decline after the death of his son Sam. Speaking as someone who lost his mother to leukemia, it can take a long time to heal from that. I don't think Jeph has quite healed from losing his son, I think it's seeped into his work. Again, if I'm being disrespectful by saying this, then please call me out on it.

Comments are closed.