Just when we thought The Ultimates might have got everything into order, someone called Kang springs Reed Richards and Bruce Banner and it’s a big race to get hold of all of the Infinity Gems. This Kang is a woman and that’s all I’m telling you. Reed is of course….errr...somewhat megalomaniacal as well as weirdly flexible and Bruce cut off from his SHIELD induced meds is very, very cross; they are aided by Quicksilver who has now reached Shakespearean levels of confusion, remorse and self-doubt.
To begin with the Ultimates are very much on the back-foot and all sorts of problems overwhelm them, but and this is where the story shines they all play to their own specific skills and strengths so you do get the heroic feel to them. Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos turn up, but apart from an Ultimate-verse Dum-Dum the others are, quite unique, the names are familiar but not quite in the Marvel 616- way, I’ll just give one example; they’ve got a Hercules, only this one is emotional the opposite of the hearty fun-loving ‘616’ version, in fact this one could give Thor stiff competition in a Grim, Brooding competition. And another hero makes a welcome return, but not quite as much as I would have hoped.
There is something of a ‘Ultimates’ take on the ‘616’ X-men powered up by Phoenix Force, as Reed and Co seemingly put the world to right, no more about that lest I invoke a spoiler’.
What with Gems, A Future, Alternate Universes etc there’s a lot crammed into a relatively slender volume, but in many cases to convey the action there are some quite small panels as the struggles flips back and forth with fortunes ebbing and flowing. This is not at the expense of dialogue either as there is a great deal of detail packed into this department. Actually I’m on my third read in as many days to get the full feel- you should not really dash through this one.
Anyhow, surprises a’ plenty, a good few cliff-hangers, maybe not quite as much characterisation from all of your favourite Ultimates but we can’t have everything.
I do hope the next volume is up to the anticipation the last page has caused.