The team brought together to confront the most cosmic of threats is dead, put down by one of its own members. But nature abhors a vacuum, and much of nature appears to hate change, too, so when the universe comes calling, everyone better be ready to bury the hatchet and re-assemble in Ultimates2 #1. Is it good?
The Ultimates2 #1 (Marvel Comics)
To kick off the new volume of Ultimates, we’re reminded that Eternity, the personification of all that is, has been chained by a secret, apparently omnipotent jailer. Mondays, amiright? We come closer to seeing the fiend than we ever have before, but his identify still lies just beyond reach.
We get some flashbacks to both the previous series and to Civil War II, as both are evidently integral in continuing the narrative of Ultimates2. All the team’s moving personalities bounce off each other, we find out why Black Panther did what he did, and the group’s first real leader is revealed — it may or may not be who you expected.
Is It Good?
The first issue of a relaunched series is a tough puzzle to solve. You have to return to square one and include a razzle dazzle hook for potential new readers while at the same time assuring the previous audience that ongoing stories will continue to develop, and not just through reruns. Ultimates2 writer Al Ewing does as good a job as anyone could under such exacting conditions, utilizing the aforementioned flashbacks and also classic foreshadowing of a cosmic war that no one would ever want to miss.
Ewing’s dialogue is crisper than it’s ever been, with genuine laugh-out-loud moments that are mysteriously absent from his other series, and in a time with strangely abundant positive portrayals of science, the Blue Marvel delivers possibly the best lines on the subject ever.
Travel Foreman’s art, sadly, is a step down from that of his predecessor, Kenneth Rocafort. It has the same graininess that gave Ultimates its identity, but body proportions tend to vary and the backgrounds aren’t as detailed. Consummate colorist Dan Brown does his best to round it out with bright flashes where called for, but Foreman doesn’t give him a lot to work with.
The overall package, however, is still extremely satisfying. Ewing continues to utilize Civil War II, rather than be utilized by it, and even though not all that much happens in Ultimates2 #1, it sure FEELS like it does, an impressive feat when so many comics produce the exact opposite result. This is a long-form story with little payoffs on the way to the (presumably) biggest of throwdowns, almost like a more soluble Jonathan Hickman epic.
Ultimates2 #1 continues the momentum from the previous series while still introducing all the players and plot points for a potential new audience. Travel Foreman’s art is slightly less-suited to the story than that in the first volume, but writer Al Ewing still succeeds in feeding his readers a slowly unraveling epic where the journey is just as enjoyable as we hope the final destination will be.