Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #3

By Zak Edwards
April 28, 2011 - 13:30

After such a stellar start, Mark Millar’s return to a book with the word “Ultimates” settled a little with the second issue.  Millar has a tendency to start with an incredible first issue and save the world building for issue number two, and this was the case for this series.  But issue three, after establishing that there isn’t a good guy, only two bad guys trying to be less bad, Millar’s latest Ultimate book reclaims some ground.  This series reads startlingly like his original Ultimates run in so many places and I feel, similarly to this week’s issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, that the insistence on a crossover is hurting two otherwise great books.

With both series, the crossover happens with the identical scene in the final pages of the book, but it’s the Punisher’s meta-commentary, with him saying in disbelief “Where the %&*# did he come from!?” that really solidifies Millar’s own thoughts.  And I’m right there with him,, and it’s not what the %&*# is going on, but why the %&*# is this happening this way?  Millar has a good thing going: Iran and the Triskelion on foreign soil, Thor once again becoming a necessary figure who oddly sounds like Jenny Sparks from The Authority at times (and I would argue Thor has always been a sort of generic future for the woefully ignorant Ultimates), and so much more.  But rather than explore this, we have two teams fighting in New York, a brief flash to one of the European Captains saying things aren’t going well in Iran, and then coming back to Spider-Man getting caught in this crossfire.  And why the %&*# is he even there?  Millar’s story, and Bendis’ story for that matter, are fine without this intersection.  This latest installment really does read like an Ultimates issue, at least one of the more action packed ones.  We have some banter, a lot of action, and a bunch of small moments where Millar says what he really feels.  His fascination with the right-wing extremity of the characters persists, but his voice still comes through, particularly in how scared everyone is of Thor showing up and how quick Captain America is to jump on the black-and-white morality that has caused him so many problems.  I am legitimately interested in where this series is going after the death of Spider-Man gets out of the way.  Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates is hardly the first book to suffer from the crossover blues.  The issue itself has its moments of wonder and these are usually when the characters are little more than talking heads.

Leinil Yu’s strengths and weaknesses are almost augmented in this issue.  His expressions aren’t anything particularly interesting, but his ability to piece together an action sequence is worth it.  For every scene where a character looks like they are about to drool with a complete lack of anything going on upstairs, there’s a scene like Blade’s capturing of Carol Danvers as he flies out a window.  The whole thing sort of balances out.  Millar’s script is strongest where the art is the weakest, but the point where Millar stops writing, and you can almost see the “For the next three pages, blow things up” of the script, is when Yu starts to do interesting things.  It’s a glass half empty, half full scenario, so I am saying the glass is 50% air and liquid.

Grade: B    This series needs less Spider-Man, less action, and more Ultimates 2.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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