The Ultimates #1 boasts a great team and cast of characters all rolled into one.
Will that translate into success for the title? Is it good?
The Ultimates #1 (Marvel Comics)
Let’s refer to the solicitation (leaving off the last sentence because there’s a spoiler for the actual ending of the comic in it):
Black Panther! Captain Marvel! Ms. America Chavez! Spectrum! Blue Marvel! The ultimate super team comes together to find and fix problems beyond the limits of the infinite! From cosmic forces lurking on Earth to what waits on the outside of the omniverse- the impossible is where they start!
The Ultimates #1 feels like something Jonathan Hickman would write; big scope and science fiction ideas on display, along with exposition dumping in order to explain everything. For some, that’s a great thing, since they liked Hickman’s prior work or are really into science fiction in general.
However, the big difference between Hickman’s work and this is that here there is a lot character and personality on display as well. That is the strongest thing going for The Ultimates: the characters. Al Ewing does a terrific job capturing the spirit of the characters through their dialogue and interactions (though, Captain Marvel feels kind of underused here). Everyone is very likeable, intelligent and distinct (especially regarding their reactions to different situations). Plus, Ewing also shows most of them in action or putting their intelligence to good use, so you can see what each character brings to the table for the team.
Another strength The Ultimates #1 has going for it is Kenneth Rocafort on art duties. He does a fantastic job creating some utterly captivating and beautiful looking sci-fi antics and imagery, replete with beautiful shots of space and technology. You’ll find it hard to ignore every little detail that goes into each page and enjoy taking it all in. Rocafort’s action sequences flow well and his characters look great. Even though there is a bunch of wasted white space in some of the pages, this is a great looking book and Rocafort was a perfect fit for it.
The biggest problem with the comic goes back to my previous comment: this comic has a lot of exposition dumping and is frustratingly slow most of the time. Every time a character is introduced or starts talking about some sci-fi concept, there are paragraphs of exposition just trying to explain what it is or explaining about what they are doing. It is a very dull, dry, and feels overwhelming. There’s so much exposition and dialogue that it keeps the book from ever getting to a reasonable pace and slows down the action at times (like with Spectrum and America Chavez fighting for the first time and Spectrum narrating the over it, explaining who she and Chavez are). It’s tedious, it hurts the writing in general, and it just doesn’t work most of the time, especially in a first issue when the writer should be trying to get the audience pumped and thrilled about what is going on.
Will there be a test on this?
Is It Good?
The Ultimates #1 is a comic with great characters and fantastic artwork that has potential to get really exciting with its big concepts and huge scope. However, the exposition-fests cause the pacing to really drag the first issue down and prevent it from getting as exciting and thrilling as it should have been. Combined with the fact that the issue is mostly just setup and doesn’t really get going until the end, you are left with a good comic instead of a great comic. Overall, I would still give it a recommendation regardless, but I hope that it improves significantly and becomes the comic it’s meant to be.