Ultimate Power #1


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Ultimate Power #1


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Greg Land
  • Inks: Matt Ryan
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: Ultimate Power Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 11, 2006

The impetuous Ultimate Mister Fantastic tries to find a cure for the Ultimate Thing only to open a door to a different and dangerous universe . . . um . . . again.

Yes, the next big Ultimate story begins here. After the Thing begins to molt . . . or something . . . and some snake themed super-villainess says of him, "Look at you!! You’re sickening!! You’re a horror!!! You’ll die alone!!!" Reed ‘s desire to cure his best friend is reinvigorated because apparently the opinion of a cliché themed lunatic is very powerful. So he uses his super-smart brain to create some sort of interdimensional retrieval construct to search other universes for a cure (Since going into other dimensions has worked out marvelously in the past). What do these constructs bring back? J. Michael Straczynski’s popular incarnation of Squadron Supreme!

I wonder, have critics gotten to Brian Michael Bendis? Some have said all his characters sound alike, all of them speak with his voice. While I have never been one to follow that line of thinking, this issue, more than most, backs up my opinion. While this is clearly a jumping board, rife with exposition and little else, each character is his own being. Reed’s guilt over his best friend’s condition is evident in his words and actions. Nick Fury’s stoic, unfeeling determination in the face of a persuasive super-genius is telling, perhaps mostly when he says:

Just this year we’ve had Gah Lac Tus, an alien invasion, your zombie accident, Atlantis, mole men, Hulk’s out there doing God-knows-what . . . It’s just not a good time . . .

And that’s it. Regardless of the writing, which is pretty good so far, if a bit formulaic, maybe we don’t need another Ultimate book at this moment. I mean, is it just me, or are things becoming a bit convoluted in the Ultimate Universe?

Convoluted, you say? Speaking of that, let’s talk about Greg Land’s art. Now and again, where others have insulted, I have praised. His photo-realism, especially when considering his backgrounds—which, in case you haven’t noticed, I am particularly interested in when I review the art—is amazing to say the least. And Matt Ryan’s inks and Justin Ponsor’s colors only add to the real-life images he tries to set. But frankly I’ve had enough. It isn’t that much fun for me anymore to try and pick out which famous person Land has based this or that character on.

Let me really drive the point home. In writing you learn in freshmen classes at the local community college that naming characters in a story after famous people can give your piece unwanted connotations. For instance, writing a series story but naming two guys in it Carl and Lenny (if you don’t know who they are, where have you been for the past twenty years?). The same can be said for art. Reed Richards is not Donny Darko. He’s Mr. Fantastic. Why can’t he look like him?

I don’t know. The verdict isn’t in yet. I like the Ultimate line, and as much as I criticize, that’s just the cynic in me. I like Bendis and I like Land. Also, right now, in this story, things can only escalate . . . .

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