Tuesday, December 26, 2006

THE ULTIMATES #5 Marvel Comics, 2002




I have sort of a love/hate thing going on with The Ultimates, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s “re-imagining” of The Avengers. Come to think of it, I have a love/hate thing going on with the word “re-imagining.”

The Ultimates is one of the centerpiece titles in Marvel’s Ultimate line of books, which re-boot classic comic books in an effort to make them more appealing to The Kids. The Ultimates is sort of like a comic book adaptation of a live-action PG-13 Avengers movie, if that makes any sense. It’s packed with big-budget widescreen action, excellent character design, realistic art, mature situations (sex & violence), and lots of property damage. All this is good.

Unfortunately, the cool-looking reworked Avengers are a pack of total assholes.

It’s the one thing that mars the book for me. At the risk of over-simplifying an entire genre, I want the protagonists of my colorful morality tales to have some redeeming qualities. I want to want them to win – not just because they are the main characters in the story and my sympathies lie with them by default. I want them to win because they are heroes, the good guys. I am a child.

The Ultimates, a super-team assembled by Samuel L Jackson, consists of Captain America (uptight right-winger), The Hulk (in rapey kill-kill mode), The Wasp (shallow and vain), Hank Pym (cowardly wife-beater), Iron Man (drunk), and Thor (sanctimonious lunatic). In the first volume, they battle evil aliens and each other and just generally tear shit up. Each issue features more collateral damage than Independence Day, and The Ultimates #5 is no exception.

The set-up is simple: Hulk is on a rampage, insanely jealous that the object of his affection Betty is dating heart throb Freddie Prinze Jr. The Ultimates have to stop him before he destroys Betty, Freddie Prinze, and most of Manhattan. Have I mentioned that Ultimate Betty is an asshole too? Well, she is.

Minor complaints aside, The Ultimates delivers in terms of action. Hitch clearly invests a lot of energy in every panel - there are no art shortcuts or cop-outs in this book. The amount of time it must have taken to draw the page below... man, I get carpal tunnel syndrome just looking at that thing.

There isn't a ton of plot going on in Ultimates #5 which is pretty much a cover-to-cover fight scene, but it does touch on the theme of superhero-as-celebrity that runs throughout the first volume of the book.

I have to give writer Mark Millar credit; all the characters are well-written and possess distinct personalities and all sound different from each other. The Ultimates take on The Hulk one at a time, so each little vignette allows us a glimpse at the heroes and what they're all about. Tactically, this doesn't make a lot of sense - don't those guys read X-Men? They've got to work as a team, damn it! - but it makes for a satisfying story as each character takes a turn in the spotlight.

Here's Captain America using some good ol' fashion American butt-kicking on the grey behemoth:

The socialite Wasp also engages The Hulk, but in a different way. This is the first comic book I have read where a heroine flashes her tits at the bad guy to distract him. North American male comic book readers have waited for decades for the art to reach this point, when boob-flashing is OK.

Iron Man takes his turn with the rampaging libidinous monster as well, blasting The Hulk through Grand Central Station. I love the long shot of the station, below, with the shiny marble effect on the floor. Pretty.

In the end, The Wasp manages to subdue The Hulk not with her bosom, but by shrinking down and zapping his brain. The Hulk plummets from the aircraft he's clinging to and lands like a meteor in New York City, where he reverts back to Puny Banner. Captain America approaches, and Banner begs Cap not to hit him any more...

Ouch! Banner loses a tooth in that panel - I never noticed that before.
The Ultimates may be an overly cynical comic book populated by cretins, but it still makes for some compelling reading. Millar isn't afraid to stretch his somewhat unflattering interpretations of beloved comic book icons, but he has the writing skills to pull it off. And Hitch? Holy crap, that guy earned his money on this book. There is so much flying rubble and glass in this comic it looks like an apocalyptic snow globe.
If you're looking for punching and explosions and wry humor and insanely detailed backgrounds, you could do worse.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I freakin love The Ultimates. You should do a post about the Direct to Video movies they did.

Spencer Carnage said...

I think its time we have a Comics That Came Out In The Past Year Or Two theme week.

What does Dave think about House Of M? Infinite Crisis? Moon Knight # 3? Seven Soldiers # 0?

Or whatever else you've been buying lately.

Can I get an Amen?

Will said...

The best thing about the Ultimates is Captain America as an old-fashioned two-fisted pulp hero from the 1930s, when it was the job of every red-blooded American male to punch the bad guy's face until he surrendered. And also as a right-wing dickhead who seems to be permanently angry. It's fun.

Also, you left out the panel in which he kicks Hulk in the balls. That was fun, too.

Erin said...

I hated The Ultimates, and mostly for the reasons you described. They're all jerks. And now they've got Millar writing Civil War, and he's turning Captain America into an asshole there, too. It's my biggest complaint about the whole thing. Someone needs to lock him away if he even dares to think about touching Captain America again.

Edward Liu said...

By noting that the new Avengers are all just assholes, you pinpointed one of my major problems with The Ultimates. The other is that I thought the tone that more realistic violence and social dysfunction brought to superhero comics was fresh and original when Alan Moore did it 20 years ago in Miracleman. Even the Ellis Authority felt derivative from that, and the Millar Authority felt derivative from Ellis while also being unnecessarily shocking-for-shock's sake. As The Ultimates, it now feels like a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, but has no reason to use the old Marvel characters other than to shock you.

On the other hand, it is mighty pretty looking and Millar/Hitch blow the doors off with that "fighting the Hulk" sequence. If only they would use their powers for Good...

Patrick said...

I can understand why anyone wouldn't like The Ultimates, and I wouldn't blame them for feeling that way... but man, I love this book and I love this issue.

The Ultimates was really the exact opposite of Millar's Ultimate X-Men, which was big and noisy and action-packed and stupid right from the first issue. The Ultimates' first arc was a fairly slow burn, and this issue was the first time we really got the team assembled and fighting something, and man, is it great. Hitch just draws the hell out of it and it's very well-paced. The entire issue is a single action sequence, but it feels substantial when you read it. Great stuff, and easily one of my favorite comic book fight scenes of all times, quibbles about Millar's characterization aside.

And I really liked that the Ultimates attacked individually, and I thought it made sense. Up until this point, Millar had written them as a bunch of self-centered assholes, so of course they didn't fight like a team.

I have all the same complaints about this book -- it's over the top for shock's sake entirely too often (cannibalistic Hulk, I'm looking at you), and the characters are undoubtedly terrible people, but it makes for good drama.

And the one I'd disagree with -- and this doesn't become entirely clear until Volume 2 -- is Thor, who seems like a pretty decent, if ultra-liberal, sort.

But yeah, good stuff, and it was less frustrating back in the days where you could always switch over to The Avengers and have the classic team portrayed in the classic style. Now, of course, you can't really get that anymore...

Anonymous said...

"Apocalyptic snow globe." I am, somehow, working that into my everyday conversation.

Anonymous said...

Didn't She-Hulk flashed people to save the day or something in one of her stories? It was not in a fight, though, but at a trial if I remember correctly.

Dan Coyle said...

Spencer: Here's what I think about House of M: Mantlo could have done the whole thing in 38 pages and made the same pointss. Infinite Crisis: Because Mark Waid Demanded it! Moon Knight #3- Verily, this is a sad sack attempt to grim and gritty up the character by making HIM an asshole instead of the world he inhabits dark, which is what Moench did. Big distinction. Seven Soldiers #0- BOSS!

Anonymous said...

Bryan Hitch draws so well, it fools people into liking Millar's shitty story.

If they had some half-ass artist working on the Ultimates, people would see right through this crap in a hurry.

Hell, even McNiven gorgeous work on Civil War doesn't prevent readers from realizing that Millar has the soul of a black, ugly twisted troll.

Civil War, Ultimates, Wanted -- Millar consistently creates charaters that are nauseating/repulsive.

Congrats to the man who can flush away decades of Marvel stories and turn Cap, Reed Richards, AND Iron Man into detestable assholes! Yay for Mark Millar!

(PS -- Bryan Hitch is good.)

ghostman said...

Think of the effect it would have on Boob War if the Wasp's flash attack caught on among the superheroine community. I mean, my g/f's rack has near-hypnotic powers, and she's just a normal human.

Joe Crow said...

I'm enjoying the wacky adventures of Captain Grampa, Daddy IronBucks and ThunderHippy mostly for the pretty pretty KickSplode. Trying to parse the political or philosophical stance of the writer seems like a particularly unpleasant exercise in futility, really. Especially since he seems to be presenting Not Fury as being a "good guy" instead of essentially Cobra Commander as played by Sam Jackson.

But the KickSplode is very pretty.

West said...

Hard to disagree with much here except the idea that these characters all sound different(ly?).

Millar's one of the many, many writers who seems to have a hard time injecting unique speech patterns into various characters.

"Dogbreath," "Shut up and _____," "Oh, don't be an idiot," are on his dialogunous (yes, I just made that up) merry-go-round and, like the town slut, everyone gets a ride.

Solario said...

I like the Ultimates for what it is; Nextwave without the irony. Hitch is alright, but drawing realistic isn't something I would always associate with being a good artists. He has some major anatomy hickups at times. (Like when Thor looked like Despero because his left eye was in his forehead or the Iron Spidey cover where the role of Spider-man is being played by Plastic Man.

Brian said...

I like the theory I read once that states that 'The Ultimates' is set in Star Trek's Mirror Universe. Once you imagine all the characters with sashes and sinister goatees (especially Betty and Hulk), their behavior becomes a lot easier to understand.

Elliot said...

"...dialogunous merry-go-round and, like the town slut, everyone gets a ride."

Thanks West, you made me spit on my keyboard.

Doc R. said...

I'm confused, Ghostman. What is this "girlfriend" that you speak of? I am unfamiliar with that word. Please elaborate.

:P

SallyP said...

All of what you all say is true...but on the other hand, I can appreciate an Iron Man who is merely a drunken womanizer. At least he has a modicum of roguish charm. Thor hasn't murdered anybody, and the Wasp has ALWAYS been vain. Yeah, Cap is a little over the top, but some of the other characterization of him being a man out of time is rather well done.

And oh the art is delicious.

And it ISN'T Civil War.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

The Ultimates put me in a weird place. For once, I thought Thor was the coolest one in the group. Confusing. Then I figured out why. Cap is an Ultimate because he's driven by duty and gets off on kicking people in the face. Giant-Man is an Ultimate because he wants to show off his brilliance. The Wasp is an Ultimate because, well, I'm not sure why. Iron Man is an Ultimate because it's a kick. Black Widow and Hawkeye are Ultimates because it's their job. Thor is an Ultimate because he wants to help people.

Sure, Ultimate Thor is an annoying quasi-hippie, and lordy, do I hate hippies, but he's also the only member of the team who operates from noble motives. Thus do I dig him. He's kinda rad.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, absolutely dig the Ultimates. But equally, I passed the first three TPBs to my brother and his response was "meh."

I appreciate Millar's portrayal of Cap as the displaced 1940s man that he is: he's out of touch with everything and only really feels at home when he's kicking the crap out of something. (By the by Dave, shame on you for not posting the shot of Cap dropping the tank on the Hulk!)

My biggest complaint about the Ultimates (aside from Sam Freakin' Jackson as Nick Fury) is Thor not using the faux Shakespearian. It just seems wrong without him dropping the smack about how he is going to "mightily smite thee." As Dave has noted, Thor is the greatest trash talker in comics and should be rightly portrayed as such - hippy-dippy or not.

I say thee nay, Millar. I say thee nay!!!!

Anonymous said...

The problem with the portrayal of Cap as a pulp hero is that a lot of those guys were anti-heroes. Captain America is a patriot, an entirely different (and largely unfashionable, these days) matter. Miller is the only one who has done justice by Cap since Kirby, and that was in Daredevil.

Edward Liu said...

The Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury reminded me of one other thing that really cheesed me off about the Ultimates. In an interview with Sequential Tart, Millar boasted that black Nick Fury made sense because "over eighty per cent of the army are black" and said the addition of Spyke from X-Men Evolution and John Stewart from the Justice League cartoon were "shitty tokenism." Put together the facts that he totally made up the 80% statistic and the fact that there are no other black people anywhere in the the ranks of Ultimate SHIELD and you get Nick Fury being just as much of a shitty token black character as the ones he mentions.

I can usually divorce creators' personal views from their work (I still like Cerebus, after all). However, this isn't the first time Millar just made up stuff to justify his creative decisions and that really bugs the hell out of me.

Bruce in NC said...

Geez, this is terrible. The Avengers have worked for more than 40 years - why does Marvel feel the need to "reinvent" them, particularly as a team of jerks?

To make things worse, Millar is bringing this oh-so-special vision over to the mainstream Marvel universe. He's turned Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic into completely unrecognizable characters.

The sign of a good writer working in serial fiction like comic books is the ability to shape his or her story to fit the established characters. Instead, Millar is screwing up long-established characters in order to tell his story.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember The Unfunnies?

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with the whole Ultimate universe is that all the writers seem to feel as though they need to catch up to the regular Marvel continuity. There seems to be the need to do all the cool things that were done over 40 years in about 5.

The worst example has to be Gwen Stacy in Ultimate Spider-man. Here is a pivotal character who was very different from the original and just really starting to hit her stride when she gets killed seemingly for shock value by some crappy Carnage take-off. Hell, even Uncle Ben lives for like 6 issues!

Anonymous said...

Well, at least the Ultimate Defenders aren't quite as arrogant . . . .

Blockade Boy said...

I stopped reading the Ultimates (after the first issue or so of Volume Two) and anything else by Mark Millar for the very reason you name: the team was composed of snide, hateful jerks. Except for Bruce Banner, who was a pathetic asswipe. It's the same reason I gave up on Warren Ellis ,whom I used to absolutely love. I just got tired of reading about obnoxious, wisecracking fuckwads. Especially when the writing made it clear I was supposed to sympathize with them, or at least respect or envy them. That shit might work for a five-minute SNL skit ("And now, two assholes saving the universe...") but over a long period of time it really starts to grate on me.

BigSleep666 said...

I share that love/hate relationship. When I read a comic, I want the heroes to win because they're good guys, not because they're evil sons of bitches who work for the government. THE ULTIMATES #5 is the only comic I've written hate mail to, which, as an adult, is kinda silly. Still, I think Mark Millar is a good, engaging writer, but I just don't particularly care for the sentiments he puts forward and I don't like his idea of cool. Captain America, the Sentinal of Liberty, kicking a naked, unarmed prisoner of war in the face? That's not patriotism; that's criminal behavior. Mark Millar's Ultimates seem like the kind of people who would beat up and wedgie Brian Michael Bendis's Ultimate Peter Parker, and who am I more likely to empathize with in that scenario? Still, it's engaging storytelling that I buy every three months it comes out.

Allandaros said...

"Congrats to the man who can flush away decades of Marvel stories and turn Cap, Reed Richards, AND Iron Man into detestable assholes!"

I had thought Reed Richards was portrayed as a detestable asshole in regular Marvel continuity, no?

But then again, I am but an on-again, off-again comics reader, who gets most of his info FROM this blog.

Tim Easy said...

I love the Mardi Gras special

Andy said...

While there have been some stories that tried to imply that Reed's a jerk, for the most part he's really more of an absent-minded professor type than a standard Millar-written, Machiavellian dickhead.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Reed is usually shown as a single-minded workaholic who neglects his woman at worst.

"Oh no! Our anniversary dinner! Sue's going to be sore at me, but this experiment is important!"

Anonymous said...

I'm in the LOVE IT camp. When they turned the hulk lose on the alien and he ... ate the thing's head...I couldn't believe it. Now that was putting the primal back in the hulk.

Also, I wouldn't call the new Cap a right winger..he's just an anachronism. Oh wait.

And Samuel L.Jackson as Fury. YES. In one of the Ultimate Spiderman's, Fury shows up and says to Parker "Enjoy the next couple years, kid. When you're eighteen you belong to us."

How bad ass is that?

The Ultimates are great.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the "love it" camp as well.

If only because the regular Avengers were as boring as any concept that didn't change a bit since 1962. Same reason I love all of the radical changes that have been ongoing since about 2000.

I mean, if you want static, unchanging cannon, read a bible.

plok said...

Oh, I don't know about that...I loved the first Ultimates series, season, whatever they're calling it now, but I didn't like it because I thought it was progressive, I liked it because it was so intensely, intentionally nasty and perverse. Homicidal psychosexual-issues Hulk with his creepy serial-killer third-person talk! Jarhead Cap! Bitchy old queen Jarvis! Prozac-poppin' inferiority complex Giant-Man! Superbitch Betty Ross, who starts diggin' Bruce Banner only after he kills a few thousand people for her! Dangerously insane Thor! And all in some kind of defensible character! In an apocalyptic snowglobe! YES! I read it because I wanted to see how they'd work them over even more brilliantly next issue, and lo and behold that's exactly what they kept doing. But then when I realized I was supposed to be rooting for them instead of having an illicit giggle at how they fell apart...WHAT?! NO!! I was expecting great twisted things from the Ultimates version of "Cap's Kooky Quartet", but then they inexplicably pulled back from the whole "make 'em sick" angle that had held my interest to that point. Silly me, I thought it was supposed to be a mean-spirited joke that just "happened" to cross the line, but apparently I was supposed to admire these monstrosities instead of pitying them! Absurd. So although there were some good bits after that, I didn't like them as much, because they weren't darkly hysterical enough to live up to the promise of Volume 1.

Does that make me a bad person?

Meanwhile, Civil War can take a long walk off a short pier. Because it's not a big nasty goof on the Marvel characters, but just plain evil instead.

And my two cents on Reed Richards: he wasn't ever that absent-minded, before somebody decided his intelligence should be his hubristic fatal flaw. Reed Richards the two-fisted war vet, humble genius, family man, take-charge go-getter, humanitarian...whatever happened to him?!?

Sorry for the comment-hijack, but everybody else was getting serious too, so I thought "why not me?"

Ultimates #5 = one awesome comic book. But everything in its right place, I think.

Chaingun said...

Well, Ultimate Iron Man is my favourite version of that particular character. Tony's a dying man who wants to live what's left of his life to the full, and he's more or less cornered the market on true heroism in his team. (I'm thinking of the end of the first volume when he saves Phoenix, AZ from being wasted by a ginormous UFO and then suffers a brief crisis of confidence, saying he can't go on any more, then gets asked the BASIC SUPERHERO QUESTION: "If you don't do it, who will?" He then gets a recharge and flies off to kick some more butt.) Ultimate Thor, however, is a complete and total dipwad. I reference Vol 1 Issue 5, when he basically says, "Screw New York. Unless the President ponies up the dollars I'll LET the Hulk run around killing and eating people."

Thorpe W. said...

My main problem with Millar is that everything he writes, from his company work to his "original" works reeks...take the worst habits and tics of guys like Ellis and such and filter them through the sensibilites of an "edgy" 16 year old pimple-farm who thinks he's making a statement with his dead baby jokes and "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same" T-Shirt.

There, you've got Millar's work. The Unfunnies (CARTOON ANIMALS DOING VIOLENCE AND SEX STUFF, THE MOST MINDBLOWING CONCEPT EVAR!!!), Wanted (RAPE KILL RAPE KILL RAPE KILL ALL YOU READERS ARE A BUNCH OF SHEEPLE), that comic about the Anti-Christ, etc. And the BS reasons he uses to "justify" some of his creative decisions...

Of course, I've learned my lesson and haven't gone near a Millar book in awhile.

And I'm tired of the old saws that are brought out when people complain about characters being unlikeable "well characters don't have to be likeable to be compelling or well-done", but Dave put it best in the article...I got tired of obnoxious idiot characters in stories where it's obvious I'm supposed to think they're the coolest, the best, and like, TO-tally AWE-some!!! etc. This is not limited to the comics medium, after all. And it is not a new thing, either.

Millar's characters are not only obnoxios idiots and all, but he is not good at building characters asides from those of the flimsiest 2-d sort. He does for comics writing what Liefield does for comics art, a ton of IN-YOUR-FACE and not much else.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is we've got way too many people writing mainstream comics who really kind of hate mainstream comics. they either don't understand or detest what it is that those of us who love the superhero genre without irony see in it.

Anonymous said...

I tried reading Ultimates when it first came out, but just couldn't get into it.
I guess I'm just not thrilled about such flawed super heroes.

sterg said...

I like what I have read of the Ultimates so far altough I agree it does seem like it goes over the same ground as Miracleman or even X-Statix. I liked the set-up of the first volume, but it seemed like too quick a resolution.
As far as all this Millar hate is going, has anyone read the Superman Adventures he's written? Those are some of the most enjoyable Superman stories I have read in years, and they aren't fueled by spite or "gritty realism." They're actually really fun.
Just my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

I think for purists, one of the things most frustrating about the Ultimates has to be that... The flaws all kinda make sense.

It's a one-sided view, but it's not without it's logic.

Bummer.
I don't personally love or hate, but I have to agree with earlier sentiments. It was a much more attractive prospect when The Avengers were still readily available.

This Marvel Universe Team-Up book does not seem to suffice... Let's see if Mighty Avengers wastes more time, or gets back on track.
Not too sure about that line-up...

Martin said...

I liked the first volume, thought the second was ok and the third one fantastic. I think Millar is a strong plotter and I really can't fathom the hate for the characters. I find them all pretty sympathetic - the original Avengers, on the other hand, were dull and two-dimensional.

Anonymous said...

I will disagree and say that Ultimate Captain America is in fact, the balls.

He's a member of the greatest generation who kicks ass the old fashioned way.

And can you blame him for being uptight? He came from a time when America was brought togehter with strong values and ideals, to a time when the idiots reign supreme.

The point is he's a leader, someone you can respect. Like a super-tough grandpa that beats you up and tells you to get a haircut.

Besides, I'd rather have a right-wing Cap then some lefty candyass who tries to stop the bad guys with sanctions or something.

Anonymous said...

Better a right-wing asshole, than a liberal douche.

Anonymous said...

M- Mis. Coulter?

Yatz said...

Wow. have the Newts and Dubbyas already won? Why do all commenters - good, liberal stock all (save those last two, of course), accept that Cap is depicted as a "right-winger"? Since when is being a patriot who is willing to fight for his country and it's values equal to being a right-winger?!
Over here ("here" being Israel) there are many people who would describe themselves as far left, who also have the sort of military credentials George W. jerks off thinking about at night. The main difference between right and left wing, regarding the use of force, is thinking of it as a solution as opposed to seeing it as a last resort.
Cap has been transplanted right from an era when the US and most of the world were locked in a fight to the death with the greatest evil in history, a fight that had no nuances, no ifs or maybes or buts, and he's trying to come to terms with this new world, where the PR spin is king. The books don't really show how his political worldview evolves - he has to deal with a cannibalistic monster, an alien invasion of the earth and an invasion of the USA, and he just fights back, as ruthlessly and efficiently as he was created to do.

And keep this in mind: today, when you think right-wing, you think chickenhawk lunatics like Dubbia and Wolfowitz and Coulter and Limbaugh and Rumsfeld - but, go back 15 years, and your president was Bush senior; as a young man he went to fight for his country in it's hour of need, and as president he knew when to declare war (and how to define it's goals). So, right wing is not necessarily bad - it's only when you inject God into the equation (as the Bush revolution of 2000 has done) that the trouble begins. And say what you will about the Ultimates' Cap, he's too practical and down to earth to get God involved in his fights.

One more thing: love the Ultimates.

Brad said...

I used to be really in to the Ultimates, but my tastes have changed in between all the delays, and I was pretty underwhelmed by the first story arc on the re-read recently when I got the hardcover. It could be Millar's whole "everyone is an asshole" writing tick; I don't despise the man's work, but that's why he isn't a favorite of mine, and it cuts across just about everthing I've read of his.

I still find his version of the Avengers more interesting than the original (who are about the only super team I have never warmed to other than maybe Alpha Flight, probably because I hate all Candians who are not cartoonists or pro wrestlers), but I don't particularly like any of them, either, and as impressive as Hitch's art is, I can't help but not care. I do still want to see how Millar wrapped it up, though. Holy flip flop, Batman!

Brad said...

I really liked Ultimate Thor and Iron Man, for instance, way more than the original versions. The last issue of Ultimates I read had Thor in a sanitarium and Loki screwing with him, with the implication that he might just be nuts. I liked the angle that Tony was dying and wanted to do some good before he went, although Millar seemed to have forgotten about that somewhere along the way. I also didn't mind all the cynicism, but then again, that's because I generally do not give a crap about the Avengers. I kind of hated his X-Men because they were mouthy teenagers, so I'm a bit of a hypocrite there.

I also liked Millar's Cap, because I thought he did the man out of time thing better than even Lee and Kirby (because their take consisted if Cap whining about Bucky between action sequences), although anyone from Roy Thomas to Mark Waid could have done it better (my Cap reading has lots of holes in it). The rest of the characters kind of sucked, though, and I would not have cared if they all died at the end of Millar's last issue in a freak meteor shower at the Triskelion or whatever it was called. Especially if Fury's last words were a Sam Jackson line. His Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were always especially insufferable. If nothing else, Loeb should improve on that.

plok said...

Well, there are no Canadians who are not cartoonists or pro wrestlers...God, there's so much you don't know about us! It's so insulting! Also I, for one, referred to Cap not as a right-winger but as a jarhead. Although it must be said: I dunno what the hell Ultimate Cap is, because his character just isn't on display enough of the time to tell.

Having said which: up 'til this point Ultimate Cap has been pretty darned acquiescent to the voice of executive power, hasn't he? And this in itself makes a pretty neat story possibility -- if Ultimate Steve Rogers really has an IQ of 40,000 or whatever, can "Ultimate Nomad" be that far off, as soon as he gets fed up with being a tool of other people's political purposes, and a warehousable symbol kept happy by rock-star treatment who's at the exclusive beck and call of a particular administration's particular foreign affairs policies?

Aw. but who'm I kidding...

Anonymous said...

So those aren't photoshopped captions for those Ultimates pages?

CBrown said...

I dig The Ultimates a lot. They are complete dicks, but it doesn't bother me to see dickish Cap, Wasp, Iron Man, etc. because I don't think of them as the REAL Cap, Wasp, Iron Man, etc. It's fun for me to be able to read an alternative Avengers where they're all assholes.

Now, I haven't been reading Civil War, but from what I hear, it depicts the real-deal Avengers as being dicks, and that does bother me, just as I hated Identity Crisis as showing the real Justice League to be real assholes.

Bruce in NC said...

I think the problem is we've got way too many people writing mainstream comics who really kind of hate mainstream comics. they either don't understand or detest what it is that those of us who love the superhero genre without irony see in it.

**********

That's the best summary of why so many current comics stink that I've ever read. So true - and so applicable to garbage like "The Ultimates."

Bruce in NC said...

I think the problem is we've got way too many people writing mainstream comics who really kind of hate mainstream comics. they either don't understand or detest what it is that those of us who love the superhero genre without irony see in it.

**********

That's the best summary of why so many current comics stink that I've ever read. So true - and so applicable to garbage like "The Ultimates."

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: in the panel depicting Captain America vs. the Hulk, where exactly is Cap's left foot going. Ouch.

信次 said...

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