Mark Millar wrote The Ultimates and The Ultimates 2, which when read together, is one of the best comic book stories of all time. When The Ultimates 3 came out, Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira took the Millar (and Bryan Hitch) blueprint and did things that cannot be forgiven, effectively leaving the book and story for dead. To make matters worse, this led to Jeph Loeb's Ultimatum, which destroyed the Ultimate universe as we knew it, bringing on new things once again. But the Ultimates were still not up to par, becoming, no joke, Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates, which featured such Z-list characters like Ka-Zar of the Savage Land and the Squadron Supreme character, Power Princess. What was Marvel to do?
Give the reigns back to Millar of course, allowing him to work with some of the best artists in the industry, and using whatever ideas and characters he wanted. He chose to feature 2 of the coolest characters, Hawkeye, and of course, Ultimate Nick Fury. They put together a black ops team called Project Avengers, featuring a cast of some very interesting characters. Essentially, it was Millar creating versions of existing Ultimates/Avengers characters, but putting his own, demented spin on them: Gregory Stark is Tony's older brother, essentially a jerk without any moral code of his own, who wears all white suits, and supplies the team and organization with weapons and science that no one else dare to. Of those weapons, we get an Ultimate version of War Machine, a reformed version of a former villain renamed Red Wasp, and a genetically cloned Hulk, with the brain of Bruce Banner and the brute strength of Hulk, codenamed Nerd Hulk, and The Spider, a demon clone of Spider-Man. The stories also give us Ultimate versions of Red Skull, Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Blade. The story is 4 separate stories, put together in a Marvel Omnibus edition. Let's look at each story below...
Ultimate Comics: Avengers (drawn by Carlos Pacheco)
This story brings together the characters listed above, as Hawkeye and Nick Fury open Project Avengers, enlisting Gregory Stark, War Machine, Red Wasp, Nerd Hulk, The Spider, and a new Black Widow, who happens to be Nick Fury's ex-wife. Their first mission is to track down Red Skull, who popped back up on SHEID's radar. Captain America plays a big role in this story too, when he finds out that Red Skull is his son. A son that went rogue, killed hundreds of people, and carved his own face off, hence the "Red Skull" name. Violence ensues, but Nick Fury makes his plan of retaking the top spot at SHIELD known to Hawkeye, and Project Avengers is here to stay.
Ultimate Comics: Avengers 2 (drawn by Lenil Yu)
The second story continues the over-arcing story of the main characters, while introducing The Punisher into the Ultimate universe. He gets strong-armed into joining the Avengers, being fitted with a new uniform that resembles Captain America. The other new Avenger introduced and strong-armed into service is Tyrone Cash, Bruce Banner's mentor, and the first Hulk. They join Hawkeye, War Machine, and Black Widow, on a mission to stop Ghost Rider, who is killing high profile government agents and rich people around the country with ties to Satan.
Ultimate Comics: Avengers 3 (drawn by Steve Dillon)
This story sees the Avengers fighting vampires, introducing Blade and a new Daredevil. This is the weakest story of the series, and an attempt to join the vampire craze that has hit entertainment recently, with True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, and many others. There is enough to keep interest high enough to not derail the story though.
Ultimate Comics: Avengers vs. New Ultimates (drawn by Lenil Yu)
The real treat with the final story of the omnibus is seeing Nick Fury's black ops team fighting The Ultimates, whose roster includes Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. Certain characters' true intentions are made clear, and not everyone makes it out alive.
The overall Ultimates story is continued on very nicely by Mark Millar, who never should have left this book in the first place. In the hands of Jeph Loeb, the Ultimates became boring and over-saturated characters. The art was top notch, even though Dillon's pencils on the 3rd part seemed out of place with the rest. It's surprising that it took this long, but characters like Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Blade finally make their first Ultimate Universe appearances. No, it's not as good as The Ultimates or The Ultimates 2, but if you enjoyed those stories, you are surely going to like what Millar has up his sleeve this time around.