Ultimate Origins #2
By Zak Edwards
July 13, 2008 - 01:12
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Butch Guice
Colourist(s): Justin Ponsor
Letterer(s): Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s): Gabriele Dell'otto and Dean White
$2.99 US, $3.05 Canada
The following is an excerpt from the Marvel website’ own profile on the regular continuity Captain America:
“Steve Rogers was a scrawny fine arts student specializing in industrialization in the 1940's before America entered World War II. He attempted to enlist in the army only to be turned away due to his poor constitution. A U.S. officer offered Rogers an alternative way to serve his country by being a test subject in project, Operation: Rebirth, a top secret defense research project designed to create physically superior soldiers. Rogers accepted and after a rigorous physical and combat training and selection process was selected as the first test subject. He was given injections and oral ingestion of the formula dubbed the "Super Soldier Serum" developed by the scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine. Rogers was then exposed to a controlled burst of "Vita-Rays" that activated and stabilized the chemicals in his system. The process successfully altered his physiology from its frail state to the maximum of human efficiency, including greatly enhanced musculature and reflexes... After the assassination of Dr. Erskine. Roger was re-imagined as a superhero who served both as a counter-intelligence agent and a propaganda symbol to counter Nazi Germany.”
It seems I was under a misapprehension when it came to my understanding of the purpose of Brian Michael Bendis’ much hyped mini-series. I believed this to be the back story behind the Ultimate Marvel Universe, using the past to show how “Everything is connected.” Instead, Bendis gives his audience a regurgitation of the original Captain America story. So far, nothing is connected, unless you count World War Two as connecting everything, but connections like that would serve much better than a copy and paste story from the forties. Its disappointing, really. One of Bendis’ crowning achievements is Ultimate Spider-Man, which took the original Spider-Man origin and expanded it to a seven-issue epic, drawing on the original material and reimagining it in a contemporary context. The Captain AMerica origin is devoid of any of that genius. Granted this story is a single issue, but it brings nothing to the table, no great revelation or anything. Not even the last seven panels are worth anything. So if you’re looking for the underlying conspiracy of the Ultimate Universe, save your three dollars this month and hold out for issue #3 and look at the profile page for Captain America on the Marvel website, this story has got nothing. If the series continues to be mindless rehashing of the original origin stories then the hype for this series will have done little good, for it just proves the upcoming “Ultimatum” should blow the whole Ultimate Universe up and Marvel should start a new line, calling it the Mega-Marvel Universe or something, the only real casualty would be Ultimate Spider-Man, which would be a great crime. But perhaps “it’s better to burn out than fade away.” It seems like Ultimatum is truer than Marvel thought.
Butch Guice’s pencilling continues to be an interesting choice, his heavy shading supporting the secrecy which is the basis of the series. His expression does seem limited to solemn and hurt, however. Even in the brief moments of happiness near the end of the story, Guice heavily shades one happy expression and leaves the other neutral. Another problem is the young, pre-Captain America looks old rather than weak. The last panel does a great job of attempting to arouse some patriotic feelings with Captain America fighting some Nazis, but some of the other sequences fail to communicate. The death of Dr. Erksine simply falls flat, the impact not resonating on the page. So overall the pencilling fits the mood of the series but struggled this issue.
2.5/10 Wait a second, I have heard this before!
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