Ultimate Invasion has been a rare letdown coming from Jonathan Hickman. While Hickman is delivering his usual grand scale the whole plot of The Maker creating a Marvel Universe in his image has been a huge swing and miss. There is a lack of emotional connection to the story as the story has been rushed. Adding in that The Maker is the only player active that has had some development going into this story it has not helped. Will the final issue turn things around and bring a strong start to the return to the Ultimate Universe? Find out with our review of Ultimate Invasion #4.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Andrew Currie
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letter: Joe Caramagna
“THE END…OR THE BEGINNING? War breaks out as timelines and universes collide! Iron Man must choose between the lesser of two evils – the Maker or Kang. But what secret does Iron Man know about the men behind the masks? And at the end of it all, the world outside your window will be forever changed! Don’t miss this giant-sized, action-packed conclusion – or is it only the beginning…?” – Marvel Comics
Ultimate Invasion #4 does everything in its power to ensure that the new Ultimate Universe is the opposite of the original concept. This final issue to Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch’s epic leaves us with a universe that is continuity rich without a genuine emotional connection for what is next. Rather than being welcoming start to a new Marvel Universe we get a convoluted introduction.
Every problem with Ultimate Invasion comes down to the route Hickman choose to go with The Maker. Rather than build this incredible story with The Maker being the end boss he is simply a whining baby from beginning to end. The Maker is the type of person who uses complex words to convince everyone he is smart and is easily defeated if brain cells are used by the heroes.
Which is such a waste of potential to how The Maker was presented in the first issue of Ultimate Invasion. In that opening issue Hickman did such a great job at presenting The Maker as someone whose mind could be the greatest weapon in the Marvel Universe. We are left believing he would be a major problem for the Illuminati to deal with.
The fact that Hickman never brought the Illuminati or Miles Morales back into the fold makes things even worse. Everything that we saw happened in Ultimate Invasion #1 could’ve been skipped as it was irrelevant to the story. With this being a four-issue mini-series that is not the feeling that should be had. Every issue should be a vital part of the story as there was no time to waste. But with how Ultimate Invasion #4 ended other than the opening few pages the content in the first issue is a waste.
Which just highlights how much off-screen development Hickman relied on when developing The Maker’s story in Ultimate Invasion. So much happens off screen that what we do see play out in the remain three issues of Ultimate Invasion be a truncated experience. There was no build up to this final battle. We are just told about why Ultimate Kang hates The Maker and has constantly been going after him.
The only build we get throughout Ultimate Invasion is with Howard Stark becoming disillusioned by the universe The Maker created so he becomes the “protagonist” of the story. The problem is that the reader feels as rushed to be invested into this story as Howard is forced to build the Immortus Engine.
It does not help that Hickman pairs Howard with Reed Richards who is The Maker’s Marvel Universe version of Doctor Doom forces Howard. Hickman tries way too hard to make this version of Reed sound like Doctor Doom that all of Reed’s dialogue sounds forced. This makes Reed playing the devil on Howard’s should role be something that was needed to end Ultimate Invasion rather than a natural progression to the story.
Adding the file nail to the lack of investment in the story as whole was the appearance of Ultimate Kang and his army of Ultimates clones. Not even the epic visuals of Bryan Hitch’s artwork could create a level of investment in this final fight. Adding in The Maker using his own clone army and what we have is a bunch of cannon fodder fighting one another. The entire choreography to the fight felt like what we were given was two sets of Putty Patrollers fighting one another. That is how little investment there was in the whole fight.
As the dust settles with both The Maker and Ultimate Kang killed what we are left with is a new Ultimate Universe that is too convoluted to continue. I get that Hickman did not want to go the route of the original Ultimate Universe. But by not going with a fresh start Ultimate Invasion #4 presents us with a universe that has already gone through its full development. It’s a universe that is as convoluted, if not more so, than the current Earth-616 Universe.
Creating a twist of Tony Stark becoming Iron Lad and working with the Reed Richards Doctor Doom does nothing to add interest for what is next. It just further reaffirms that this isn’t an actual beginning of something new and exciting. Rather Ultimate Invasion is just more of the same continuity heavy comic book storytelling that turns off new readers.
Ultimate Invasion #4 solidified how big of a disappointment this entire event was. So much is expected from a Jonathan Hickman comic book that this left a lot to be desired. The entire execution of The Maker and new Ultimate Universe storyline failed to generate interest. The story was as meaningless as all the clone vs clone climatic battle we got in Ultimate Invasion #4. That leaves us with an Ultimate Universe that is not fresh and exciting. Instead, you’re left questioning if the investment in another Marvel Universe will be worth it.
Story Rating: 2 Nigh Girl out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10