Ultimate Origins #4
By Zak Edwards
September 14, 2008 - 14:28
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
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. Variant by Alex Maleev
$2.99 US, $3.05 Canada
So this issue of Ultimate Origins actually serves the purpose of what I think writer Brian Michael Bendis is trying to accomplish in this series. The story is a combination of past and present events of the Ultimate Universe, but the story in the present is engaging and the past events don’t feel like a rehashing of the of the main Marvel universe’s stories. It has only taken Bendis four (of five) issues to get to a point where a reader might actually begin to care, but better late then never, I guess.
This issue covers some a lot of ground. Where the previous issues made full use of decompression, making each book full of pictures and not plot, Bendis used this issue to cram a whole bunch of story in before the big finish next issue; which, by the way, I don’t think anyone is holding their breath for. The stories have yet to really converge and the Watcher robot obelisks have really done nothing, including the ‘cliffhanger’ of them describing their purpose, which is the exact same as the others and almost word for word from the pages of the series 1602, the issue which opens up with the watcher describing his duties. But there is a little bit of background for the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D and the Ultimates in which Bendis has a bit of fun. It’s great seeing a young Doctor Pym before he started being the loser he is in the Ultimates, as it is interesting seeing a wide-eyed and hopeful Bruce Banner. Bendis also creates the origin of the Hulk, which is actually different from the origin of the Hulk in regular continuity, something not yet doen in this miniseries which is supposed to be all about origins. So Bendis does create some good moments within this otherwise poor series, but it is on the way up, with a single issue to go.
The art, by Butch Guice, is dark and expressive, perfect for this series. He has a great sequence of panels of the Hulk turning back into Bruce Banner which I found to be quite compelling just in his use of panels. While everyone seems to have a default emotion of angry, Guice does work in other expressions when appropriate (just don’t ask him to do happy, it happens once and it looks like the goofy, fake smile of a kid ashamed of his braces).
6/10 Not quite a diamond in the rough, maybe just a rough diamond, but not a piece of coal, somewhere in between.
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