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This volume collects Hunger #1-4, Cataclysm #0.1, Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #1-5, Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-3, Cataclysm: The Ultimates #1-3; Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #1-3 and Cataclysm: Survive! #1 in one ginormous 400+ page compilation: Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand. Although there is a big cast-list of creators, the two writers, Bendis and Fialkov write their own character's sections, and the artists are also kept caged in their own mini-series, so there is an internal consistency to the various sections.

The main story itself, running through Hunger, The Ultimates Last Stand and Survive! is a very good, fast-moving and well-scripted story. The three mini-series feed into it and should be read BEFORE the Last Stand story, particularly the Spider-Man one, as he has a big part to play in the resolution. There are some big changes (yet again) in the Ultimate Universe, but the quality of the story is up to the challenge of making it feel natural and not merely a plot-requirement.

The story is fairly straightforward, and is set days "after Reed Richards seized control of the world and was overthrown". I am only giving the edited highlights of the storylines here, there is much more going on, and there a surprising amount of character-development. There is some really-good storytelling here.

Hunger #1-4 shows us that the Age of Ultron event has caused a catastrophic failure to the structure of space/time, bringing on the end of the multiverse - see the current New Avengers for details. This has allowed `our' Galactus to break through into a nearby dimension that is home to the Ultimates universe. He merges with their Gah Lak Tus swarm, which is in the middle of a battle to eat the Chitauri and Kree armadas, and then sets out to eat their universe. After a fight with Rick Jones, Protector of the Universe, Captain Marvel and the Silver Surfer ("Technically it's Mahr Vehl"), Galactus heads to Earth to re-energise himself. We get to see a lot of background to the Chitauri and Kree here, and discover the very secret origin of the Gah lak Tus swarm, and get a new Captain Marvel.

Cataclysm #0.1 opens with the Vision investigating the remains of a Gah Lak Tus swarm member that has appeared on Earth (during `Hunger' above), and she is able to read its memory. She sets off to confront the approaching Galactus to try and reason with him. She fails. Her last message to Earth is that Reed Richards can stop him...

Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #1-5 sees Galactus arriving in New York, as per the established rules for invading Earth, and setting up home in New Jersey and beginning to build one of his big Kirby-machines. The Ultimates and SHIELD try to stop him, with the expected results. Recognising Galactus's energy signature, Stark sends Spider-Boy and Reed Richards through Mysterio's portal back to our Earth to look for the Fantastic Four. Reed's DNA gets them into Reed's laboratory, where he downloads the Galactus files, and sees a family portrait of our FF and their kids (executed in the style of John Byrne), which has an effect on him that will be important later on. Valeria finds them and triggers the alarm unleashing a swarm of angry HERBIEs; Reed sends Spider-Boy away with the data and draws their fire. Spidey returns with the data and Stark gets to work on it, while the Ultimates and the X-Men and everyone else gets to work rescuing New Yorkers from the chaos. Finally, Kitty Pride is given a suit of armour, a Giant Man treatment, and sent to phase through Galactus's machine - "as long as you're there you can slap him if you like". This leads to a final battle in which some Ultimates are lost, and Reed Richards finally reveals his real secret weapon...

Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-3 takes place after Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 5, and starts with the SHIELD/Ultimates debriefing of Spider-Girl on the result of that storyline, and then follows the other young heroes from it as they get on with their lives - Bombshell, Cloak & Dagger and, of course, Spider-boy. Then Galactus appears, and the kids rush around recuing people from the catastrophe, including J. Jonah Jameson, whose plane crashes on Miles Morals' street, would you believe... Their story then merges with `Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand', and should be read before that storyline, as Miles plays a big part in its resolution. There is also a lot of character-development, and this really is an important part of the Spider-Man storyline.

Cataclysm: The Ultimates #1-3 follows Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors as they try to break up a coup by the Church of Gah Lak Tus in Belarus. It turns out A.I.M. have found religion, and MODOK has found a god - the approaching Galactus, and is out to deliver a techno-zombie population for him to feed on when he arrives...

Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #1-3 sees the X-Men hunting for survivors in the wreckage in the no-longer floating city of Tian. Galactus appears during this, and a wounded Pixie teleports everyone `sideways' into another dimension, where they find Captain Marvel, who Bobby Drake recognises as Rick Jones, who in `Hunger' pulled the Gah Lak Tus swarm out of the Ultimates' universe and into wherever they are now. After some adventures and a great deal of character-development, the X-Men return to take part in `Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand', and this story should be read before that one, in order to line everyone up properly.

Cataclysm: Survive! #1 sees the clearing up after the Galactus event, with funerals for the apparently dead [spoiler] and the disbanding of the Ultimates, as there are not enough of them left. An apparently now sane Reed Richards is to be found discussing this and the disbanding of SHIELD (from behind a force-field) with Susan Storm in the remains of the Baxter Building... However, Spider-Girl has a solution... All-New Ultimates Volume 1: Power for Power
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2014
Having been an keen follower of the Ultimate's X-men and Ultimates story lines which followed on from Ultimatum TPB (Graphic Novel Pb) &Ultimatum: Requiem TPB (Graphic Novel Pb) I found myself saving up my slim capital resources for once for a hardback pre-order volume as there seemed to be indications this was going have some spectacular effects on both story lines.
Now since epic events in Marvel are as frequent as heroes being possessed or having their minds controlled by evil geniuses and like those over-used plot devices epics often fall quite flat this was a bit of a gamble, but Keenness was overriding caution. The budget strategy had been set in place.
And was it worth it?
An epic draws its own following, has detractors who loath it, those who couldn't care less and those who are content to wait for the price to drop to bargain levels no matter how long.
In this case place me in the first category, though I can appreciate why others would have differing reactions. So outline and apologies if any spoilers slip out.

This volume comprises separate narratives in reaction to Galactus' entry into The Ultimate-verse. He is able to do this apparently through disruptions caused in the time-lines in the Marvel 616 universe. Each narrative features different characters and/or teams though these also figure as supports or principals in the other narratives so the strength of continuity and inter-action is quite tight.
These break down as follows:

Hunger #1-4
Central to this is the arrival of Galactus who takes over the remains of the entity that was Gah Lak Tus and sets his sights on a Kree world. Rick Jones, Silver Surfer and Captain Mahr Vehl team up to take him on. Since there is a Kree-Chitauri war in progress there is a space opera element affording opportunities for pages filled with spaceship action. Although there is a resolution of sorts the ending sets up the next part.

Cataclysm #0.1 & Cataclysm The Ultimates Last Stand #1-5
Galactus' approach and arrival on Earh. This is the central part of the book. Vision, Falcon, The Ultimates, Spiderman, X-men, Fantastic Four, (yep all of them), Rick Jones and S.H.I.E.L.D take on the foe. It's titanic, filled with fraught dialogue, action and sacrifices. Quite Wagnerian. Most of the time as tradition dictates they are on the back-foot, but with perservence...Without going into detail, there are losses and look at Kitty Pryde!! Probably the art wins out over the dialogue, eg ; Kitty focusing, various heroes taking on Galactus, the man himself striding through a burning city. The chaos and the desperation brought by this invasion are powerfully portrayed. Clever use of the scenes where some team members enter the Marvel 616-verse, minimal inter-action, but that which is there packs something of a punch.(SPOILER: Responsible Reed's back!)

Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider Man #1-3
Starting the day before Galactus turns up. At S.H.I.E.L.D discussing `business' which involves Spider-man & Spider-woman. Then main event. This tales involves flashbacks to Ultimatum, Miles conflict with his father and also his teaming with Spider-woman, Bombshell, Cloak & Dagger, in fact the team that took on Roxxon initially to try and save civilians from the damage. This is a good melding of back-stories and heroics. Probably the best one for narrative. Ends with Miles being called in by `Cap'

Cataclysm: The Ultimates#1-3.
Nick Fury and his Howling Commandoes! Battling to save the population of Minsk from an infection of Gah Lah Tus drones. Moans first. We've got a scoundrel that's a take on the 616' Fantastic Four's pantomime villain Anti-Priest, and the guy grins a lot while telling everyone how tremendous he is. Also we've got the dread `possession of hero' thing- (just once Marvel, just once do a year without this!)
Having said that there is a wealth of magnificent action and the tale is told in part from the perspective of Danny Ketch (The Ghost) in relation to his childhood in strife-ridden Ulster which lends a degree of sombre reflection and thus cancels out the `aunty-priest'. Hercules is magnificently unstoppable; Hulk is not well used either by Fury or the writer. Having said, overall that, it works-reminds me a bit of the old 1960's versions of Sgt Fury & His Howlin' Commandoes..
(These guys deserved other arcs-oh well)

Cataclysm: The X-men # 1-3
Starts where World War X left off, Kitty and crew are scouring Tian for any mutant survivors, when a horde of the drones turn up and its rescued and rescuers in a battle to get out, Captain Marvel turns up as he does in most of the narratives. It's a fearful struggle, everyone giving their all (except for poor-guy Beak- I'm not sure what he was doing there either). Impressively structure fierce defiance by this group not to give in and at least go down fighting. Poignant death scene without being mawkish (had me saying `Oh no, not fair-sometimes you just get involved like that). Ends with the crew seeing Galactus and thus dovetails into the main story.

Survive# 1
(Don't read this if you want to buy the book and want to be kept in complete suspense)
This is the aftermath, very much a tying up of loose ends and hopefully setting up of interesting new arcs and new teams.
Also one painful touch was the sort of ridiculous fate which befalls one surviving character. To clarify, not in the writing or the plot. From my time in public service and reading of histories it's just the sort of thing which could happen; savage, ungrateful reality-find out for yourself though
The dialogue and the narrative resolutions were well handled; trouble was the choice of penciller. Joe Quinones is excellent in the lighter themes, his style ideal for comic situations. Sadly this jarred with the atmosphere, cartoony faces did not suit.

So much to consider.
There were some lost opportunities, mostly in the continuity; just one example Ben Grimm had received quite a build up a while ago (see Ultimate Comics Doomsday) but has been sadly under-used since then.
In terms of overall presentation this was one mostly for the images rather than the dialogue.
The one image which sticks are of the host of Gah Lak Tus machines all repeating `consume' while infecting others or laying waste the environment- allegories with today's society anyone?
There will be those this is not for, depending on tastes it might seem bloated. This is spectacle pure and simple. One foe, common cause and as Thor cried `Have At Thee!!'

Personally I glad I made the choice and hope there's enough detail to give you an idea of just what is within this volume.
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on 6 May 2016
It's nice to take a break from my more serious reading with a graphic novel.

I really enjoyed this, especially as I've been following the story of Miles Morales' Ultimate Spider-man. For those reading that story, this a crucial turning point for Miles--and for the Ultimates as a whole.

Great story arc, excellent drawings (as always), and a good sized graphic novel.
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on 3 October 2015
Really confusing and disappointing story. I'm a big fan of galactus as a villian but this was really weak. Also, as someone who doesn't follow that many comic series it was a major task trying to keep up with all the characters.
The art is great though.
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on 11 December 2014
A swansong for the Ultimat Universe? Maybe, but at least it is a way better story than Ultimatum.
I have yet to read the follow up series spinning out of this event, but with the Ultimate Universe you know that no one is save, which is both sad and great.
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on 22 February 2015
Great and surprisingly all of the extras (spiderman, x-men) are just as good, check out all of them
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on 20 February 2016
Brought as a gift for someone else, was told they were good.
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on 15 May 2015
I was hoping for more.
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on 9 August 2014
had high hopes , but mediocre art and a rushed story let it down :-( why do marvel put crap artists on there top projects ???? this needed a top penciler and the story dosnt really change the ultimate universe ??? spoiler alert cap america dying isnt that cataclysmic lol but having said that ive read worse !! and this dos collect everything from the storyline
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on 24 April 2016
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