Avengers vs New Ultimates 1
Martin Skidmore — 16-Feb-11
This confused the hell out of me. The banner at the top, where we expect the title to be, says Ultimate Death of Spider-Man; at the bottom it says Avengers vs New Ultimates 1. Fortunately I didn’t have to work out what it was, since it’s by Mark Millar so an automatic buy for me. It’s a good thing that that was my reason, since there is no detectable connection to the upcoming death of (Ultimate universe) Spider-Man. Unless Marvel are issuing a guarantee that it will tie in to that in some way, I hope they will offer refunds to anyone buying it because they thought it was part of that story. I am really mystified by that banner.
It’s old-fashioned fun to see your favourite superheroes fight each other, and there was plenty of that in the Avengers from the very start. Trouble is, it’s a much harder sell today than 50 years ago, or even half that. Even in the ’70s with as good a writer as Steve Englehart, I had a very tough time accepting that the Avengers bought the line for one second that Hawkeye, then a Defender, was plotting to take over the universe, especially given that the story came from Loki, of all reputable sources.
I’m hoping Mark does better on this one, but so far that isn’t clear – again we get someone not necessarily trustworthy (or just as plausibly, misinformed) telling the Ultimates (that’s the a-team, with Thor, Cap, Iron Man) that Nick Fury, the man behind the Avengers (his black ops team) are up to evil things. I’m hoping that they mistrust this info but find better evidence, maybe even that Fury really is behind it for complicated espionage reasons of his own, but we’ll see.
This follows straight on from the last Ultimate Avengers series, which I reviewed recently, so the Ultimates have some giant problems to deal with, and then they find someone has nicked some next-generation superhero stuff, which actually proves to be an experimental superhero. The scene I really enjoyed is when the Ultimates catch the bad guys, and the villains unleash the mighty experiment on them – this really is well worth reading just for that scene, honestly. Oh, we get a genuinely fresh (as far as I know) use for Thor’s hammer as well, which the comic leaves us to work out.
What you don’t get is what the cover promises: no Avengers involvement in the story at all, let alone a big fight between the teams, though I assume that will come in the next five issues. Shouldn’t be much of a battle – the Avengers I have seen so far wouldn’t stand a chance against Thor alone.
I don’t imagine there are many people who are interested in the Avengers or Millar who haven’t seen Yu’s work before. I’m not sure the grubby, unhealthy look he gives people suits the likes of the big guns here so well in general, but actually he handles all of the scenes here well, and I only had that reaction on a couple of panels. I don’t think he makes the most of the dramatic opening scene, but I really like his work on the favourite scene I mention above, except that one of the superpowers this experiment has seems to be extra teeth, which looks odd.
Anyway, I can’t say this strikes me as one of Millar’s best so far, but my huge faith in him and my old fanboyish, well, glee, almost, for these sorts of stories will certainly keep me buying.