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Ultimate Catch Up: Ultimates

Ultimates with ReviewUltimate Catch Up is an offshoot of 52 Catch Up and is devoted to looking at issues from the newest volume of comics set in the Marvel Ultimate universe, examining what makes them worth reading (or not) and which places we hope they will go in time.

Concept:

The elite, government-sponsored, metahuman task force, the Ultimates, have faced many challenges, but now they find themselves spread too thin against two new superhuman threats, the Nation of Tian and the Children of Tomorrow.

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW

 

 

Previously on Ultimate Comics: Ultimates: Covering Issues #1-#8

It’s a typical day at the Triskelion; 24 operations are underway and Nick Fury starts to check in on each one.  Iron Man is confronting a naval blockade in Urugay, using a remote-controlled suit, but discovers the ships are loaded with Stark Weapons, which detonate, creating a nuclear blast that kills hundreds of thousands.  Hawkeye has traveled to the SEAR in Asia in order to handle a tense diplomatic situation brewing there. Thor and the Asgardians complete a raid for beer and are confronted by Captain Britain and the European defense force.  The two sides start to fight, but before they can get too far, a mysterious object, the Dome, appears in Germany and begins to expand, spilling out thousands of invaders to fight the distracted Asgardian and European forces.

The Dome’s occupants, the Children of Tomorrow, study their enemies, noting the strength of Thor and the Asgardians.  They follow the source of their power back to Asgard itself and begin to direct their assault towards it.  Captain Britain and others pull back while Thor rushes to save his son, Modi, who he sends away with his hammer, Mjolnir; however, beyond doing that, Thor is powerless to save his people. Asgard is torn apart and all except for Thor are killed, and without Asgard to derive power from, Thor is merely mortal.

A week later, from the ashes of the SEAR, the nation of Tian has risen, filled with artificially created metahumans.  The Dome has expanded into the City and has taken over half of Europe, squashing the European heroes, and Thor has been given a suit of StarkTech to allow him to fight once more for the Ultimates.  Nick Fury launches an all out attack, even going as far as to nuke the City, but it has no effect. After six helicarriers are taken out, they are forced to retreat, but Thor pushes forward again soon after.  Inside the Dome, Thor finds the remains of the European heroes and manages to rescue the still breathing Captain Britain.  Before he can make his escape, Thor is surrounded and beaten by the Children of Tomorrow and confronted by their leader, known as the Maker, who reveals himself to be none other than Reed Richards, who had previously gone mad and had been lost in another dimension during his last confrontation with Earth’s heroes.  The Maker releases Thor and Captain Britain and offers the other nations of the world peace.  Fury is content to take it for the moment to buy them some time to figure out their next move.

Fury’s meeting with the President goes poorly, as the President wants to make a statement by striking the City again.  Fury refuses but does send in an agent, the Falcon, to gain more information on the Children of Tomorrow.  Iron Man starts to investigate the Uruguay explosion and discovers it was created by a group known as the Kratos Club, a group Iron Man helped found and had even suggested a desperate action in order to help the Kratos Club secure 9% of the world’s wealth, so they could affect greater changes across the globe.  Thor continues to struggle with the death of his people, learning that he has become Valhalla and now possesses their souls, which speak to him.

Falcon is discovered and captured by the Children, but the Maker gives him full access, wanting the other nations to know exactly what the City and the Dome are.  Falcon takes this knowledge to Fury, who in turn uses it to try and secure an alliance with Zorn and Xorn of the Tian Nation.  The brothers aren’t interested in allying with the U.S. and make this desire known to the Children of Tomorrow, but the Maker won’t hear any of it, killing the Oracle with psychic feedback and declaring war on both the U.S. and Tian.  Tian launches a counteroffensive immediately. Meanwhile, the U.S. President eliminates S.H.I.E.L.D., even going as far as to take the Ultimates down by force.  Not secure to sit around and do nothing, the President launches an attack of his own.  His first step is to blackmail the Hulk into landing in the City and tearing it apart, but the Maker confronts and then manages to talk reason into the Hulk, though in reality, the Hulk was only a diversion as the U.S. launches every nuke it has at the City.

High Points

Ultimate Chaos: Ultimate Comics brought us the likes of Ultimatum and Fallout, and now the world has been shattered even more, barely representing our world by this point.  Ultimates intersects the story of Ultimate Comics: X-Men and Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye beautifully, bringing in the Tian Nation to the shifting political landscape.  Then, there is the Kratos Club’s machinations to control much of the world’s wealth so they can rebuild it.  And, Reed Richards returning with the Children of Tomorrow securing Europe with technology a 1,000 years beyond the rest of the world.  All are very cool plotlines on their own right, even before they started to intersect and increase the challenges facing the Ultimates.

Character Moments: On the side of drama, there have been a lot of great moments with Thor as he grieves for the loss of his people.  Black Widow’s concerns about the future for her son has also been touching, and Nick Fury’s total loss for how to handle the current situation has put a neat spin on what was the most confident and well-planned man in the Ultimate universe.  On the humor side of things, Ultimates has had a lot of great moments.  The Asgardian raid for beer is hilarious in the first issue, and the Asgardian souls who speak to Thor are not nearly as solemn as you might expect.  Captain Britain manages to get on many peoples nerves, provoking a fight with Thor in the beginning and later boring Spider-Woman into screaming at him when he waxes poetically about their situation.

Low Points

Spread Too Thin: Like the Ultimates themselves, this title is spread too thin.  Too many stories are being told at once, and there are a ton of conflicts to keep track of.  Ultimates is nowhere near as complicated or slow-paced as Ultimate Comics: X-Men, but there’s still the desire to see more of certain characters and situations.

Looking Ahead

The Metahuman War: All hell is breaking loose as of Issue #8, and it looks like the two new major metahuman powers are going to war.  That is assuming the Children and Tian don’t turn their focus on the U.S. for throwing nukes around willy-nilly.  Since both the Children of Tomorrow and Tian are comprised of metahumans of one variety or another, the war is going to be incredibly superpower heavy, with a whole lot of new characters likely to be introduced.

Ultimates Post-takeover: As if the rest of the world going crazy wasn’t enough, the U.S. eliminating S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to lead to even more chaos.  What is going to become of the Ultimates following this change, especially since they were notified of the change in leadership at gunpoint?  Nick Fury has managed to avoid one takeover of his job several years ago and isn’t likely to give in so easily, but what sort of effect can Fury and the Ultimates have if they can’t even secure U.S. support?

Kratos Club: They own 9% of the world’s wealth.  Tony Stark and the rest of the club hope to remake the world using this power.  Granted that was before the Children of Tomorrow and the Tian Nation even existed.  Assuming enough of the nations of the world survive long enough for them to enact changes, the Kratos Club may be the only chance of rebuilding, but what sort of place will the world become when shaped by those willing to killing hundreds of thousands?

Spider-Woman: As already well-established in Ultimate Catch Up: Spider-Man, I’m a big fan of Ultimate Jessica Drew.  I originally started reading Ultimate Comics: Ultimates because she joined the team.  While the few moments we’ve had with her are entertaining, Jess and other Ultimates, like Black Widow, have had very little in the way of screen time.  I love what they’ve done with Thor, Iron Man, and Nick Fury, but I’m ready for the women to get involved a little more and look forward to the day when Ultimates gets around to telling these stories.

 

Kristine Chester, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

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Favorite Comic Book SeriesAtomic Robo Favorite D&D Class:  Wizard Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  Cookies N' Cream

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