Ultimates 3 #1 and 2
January 25, 2010
Ultimately incestuous! Ultimately banal! Ultimately confusing!
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. I get a lot of requests for bad comics, but aside from "Sonic the Hedgehog" comics, I don't think I get more requests to do something than a comic called "Ultimatum".
(A montage of comments to Linkara's site is displayed, asking that he review "Ultimatum")
Poster called "The Overlord": You know what a good pick for a bad comic to review on Atop the Fourth Wall? Ultimatum.
Poster called "Empty Wall": I don't know if somebody asked for it already, but what about Ultimatum...
Poster called "FullmetalNinja25": I'll say it again...Ultimatum.
Another poster whose name is cut off: ...but this time he as to [sic] read Ultimatum...
Poster called "FullmetalNinja25": The Marvel Ultimate Universe's equivalent to DC's Countdown....Ultimatum.
Poster called "Brad": Also, I would like to suggest a comic for you to review Ultimatum.
(The montage continues as Linkara continues to read the requests for "Ultimatum")
Linkara (v/o): "Personally I found Ultimatum to be worse than Countdown..." "...or the worst so-called event of 2009, Marvel's Ultimatum..." Ultimatum, Ultimatum, Ultimatum!
Linkara: (frustrated) WHOA! People, chillax, okay?! Yes, I'll get to "Ultimatum"! You guys just want me to jump right into it? How can I review "Ultimatum" if I don't first review "Ultimates 3" and the Ultimate universe as a whole?
(Cut to a montage of shots of a comic called "Ultimates 3")
Linkara (v/o): The Ultimate Universe is a Marvel imprint started in the year 2000. The idea was simple: create an entire continuity using existing characters that could deviate from the norm, but start from scratch so you could get new non-comic readers on board that wouldn't be scared away by decades of continuity.
Linkara: I've never understood the logic of hooking non-comic readers on like this. If they don't read comics in the first place, how the hell do you advertise to them, "Hey, pick up this new comic"?
Linkara (v/o): But anyway, the Ultimate Universe proved to be a huge success, with titles like "Ultimate Spider-Man", "Ultimate X-Men" and so forth. But instead of having their own Avengers team, the premiere Marvel super team, they had The Ultimates. Both "Ultimates 1" and "2" were hyped as basically the comic equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie, with the biggest, most lavish possible settings and scenarios, epic storytelling, and gorgeous artwork and writing!
Linkara: Yeah, I'm not really a fan of them. Don't get me wrong, there are parts of them that I like, and there are great moments and ideas, but a lot of the time, the characters aren't all that appealing to me, especially when half the time, they're more motivated by ratings than they are actual superhero work.
Linkara (v/o): And please don't accuse me of "just not getting it" or wanting me to analyze some deeper meaning that Mark Miller is trying to convey that will somehow make me call it one of the greatest works of our time. I just don't like it. It's just my opinion on it, but if you really want me to give something up for saying such a thing, then I'll say there are parts of "Watchmen" that I don't like. For that matter, I dislike the Ultimate Universe as a whole; this idea that somehow superheroes in the real world are going to be assholes, or that the governments of Earth will try to have the perfect super beings as weapons, or etc., etc. Just doesn't appeal to me! It's just me here; I don't want to read about a Spider-Man where he's still a teenager, and he faces a Green Goblin who's some ten-foot monstrosity, or that Gwen Stacy was killed off by Carnage. It's just not for me.
Linkara: So, yeah, I freely admit that I'm walking into the Ultimate stuff not liking it to begin with, but whoo, boy, up until "Ultimatum" came out, it was "Ultimates 3" that had everyone raging mad, so let's dig into (holds up comics of review) "Ultimates 3 #1" and "#2" and see what's got people so angry.
(Title sequence rolls; title card has Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" playing in the background)
Linkara: Now, before we begin, we should also talk about the writer, Jeph Loeb. Comic fans can be very opinionated when it comes to liking or disliking certain creative teams, and Jeph Loeb is certainly one of the more polarizing creators out there.
(Cut to a montage of comics by Jeph Loeb that he has done, including several Batman comics like "Hush" and "The Long Halloween")
Linkara (v/o): For me? Eh, he's hit and miss. I personally found "Hush" to be one of the best Batman stories of the last decade, but others have made heavy criticism of it. Conversely, I found "The Long Halloween", one of his more critically-acclaimed series, and his other Batman works with artist Tim Sale, to be slow, confusing, and altogether boring. Loeb, like many other writers, seems to work better when he's not working with previously-established continuity, the problem being that when you put him on a book with established continuity, the flaws seem all the more glaring.
Linkara: For that reason, I'm not going to be too harsh in reviewing "Ultimates 3"'s breaks in continuity with the previous two series... but I'm also gonna be slapping my head at the stupider bits, too.
(Cut to a closeup of the cover)
Linkara (v/o): With that, I'm also not bothering with the covers this time, since I'm reviewing from the hardcover and, well, frankly, I think all of the covers of "The Ultimates" have been pretty lackluster. (the comic opens to the first page) We open to a video of Tony Stark and the Black Widow having sex.
Linkara: Well, looks like they finally dropped the pretense and are just trying to turn superhero books into porno mags.
Linkara (v/o): No, actually, this is kinda sorta something from "Ultimates 2", where the Black Widow was actually a traitor on the team intending to ensure America wouldn't succeed in a super-powered arms race and almost married Tony Stark. The Wasp reveals that this footage has been leaked all over the Internet and on TV, with both CNN and NBC broadcasting it.
Linkara: Well, looks like they finally just dropped the pretense and are trying to turn mainstream news into porn! (beat) Wait...
Linkara (v/o): By the way, this whole thing ends up having nothing really to do with the story, so I don't get what the hell the point of it was anyway. However, the real concern is that they realized the footage has been edited, as if someone was in the room with them, but Wasp says to forget about the security breach and instead worry about the public relations fiasco it causes. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, and then Venom attacks. Yeah, just out of nowhere. Okay. He starts demanding to know where "she" is, and then we're outside for some reason, with Hawkeye blasting away with his guns. Now he's got a crossbow on his wrist, and if it seems like I'm confused, it's only because I am. The colors on this are horrendous. It's all in darker shades or in orange, as if everything was taking place during sunset. As such, I can't tell what's going on.
(Editor's note: "As it turns out, I was reading from really bad scans. It is rather dark and the color pallet awful, but it's much more readable than this. I've tried to use more accurate scans for the rest of the review.")
Venom: And now I have something for you.
Linkara: (as Venom, proudly showing off his chest) Here, check out my awesome pecs! Damn, it's good to be a Symbiote!
Linkara (v/o): Then Black Panther appears and punches him. Where the hell did he come from? He wasn't in either of the previous Ultimates books! And all he does is punch Venom for a bit, and Venom tosses him out like a rag doll. Wasp flies off to get help, and Venom launches out some of his Symbiote goo at Hawkeye's face.
Venom: Eat. This.
Linkara: (as Hawkeye, pretending to eat something) Mmm. A bit salty, but delicious. Venom, you got yourself a tasty snack food right here!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and then Valkyrie shows up. She was in "Ultimates 2", but basically was there to act as eye candy for a second-rate team of wannabe superheroes. Now she's Thor's girlfriend here. Not sure how that happened. So Valkyrie's sword is sadly no match for Venom.
Venom: You're a very silly girl-- who'll look much sillier without a head!
(Editor's note: "One Decapitation Later...")
Linkara: (as Venom) Hmm, nope, I was wrong. You look much sillier with your head. (reaches his hands out) Here, let me just put this back for you.
Linkara (v/o): Thor, as he is wont to do, brings down the thunder and incapacitates Venom. Hawkeye starts shooting at the puddle of goo, as if that will actually do something, but Wasp berates him, since the ricochet of the bullet could harm someone. (he then yawns heavily, which makes the next part hard to hear) Hawkeye gets all indignant, and they argue about him trying to get himself. And well as you can tell, (normal) it's as boring and played out as you'd think it'd be. The next day, Captain America talks to the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver about the Scarlet Witch maybe not wanting to wear such a revealing costume. I don't know why he suddenly got weirded out about this now, since in the previous two Ultimates books, both the Wasp and Giant Man's clothes came off whenever they used their shrinking or growing powers in full public view, but whatever. The point of all of this is to establish that the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are a couple. And they're also brother and sister.
Linkara: (horrified at the revelation) You know, I'm all for loving, consensual relationships between two adults, but this is still creepy, especially given that they're supposed to be iconic Marvel characters! Seriously, Marvel, what the hell?!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but the best part is that Wasp has to giggle at Captain America's attitude about it, as if it's just some quaint attitude that comes with having come from the 1940s.
Linkara: No, Wasp, it's still unbelievably creepy! You don't see Superman shacking up with his mom! Because it's creepy!
Linkara (v/o): Hawkeye is still pissy and thinks that the media is going to have a fit once they find out about the two.
Hawkeye: Unless we do something about it.
(A dramatic sting is heard,as the camera zooms in on the panel showing a closeup of his face as he says the above line)
Linkara (v/o): Ooh, ominous closeup that won't have anything to do with the story! That blatant red herring totally distracted me from the fact that we have FRIGGING VENOM ATTACK YESTERDAY!! And all they care about is their PR crap! Hawkeye says he's going to find Black Panther since he hasn't returned yet, as well as trying to find Spider-Man to see what he knows about Venom. Also, someone needs to set up some lamps or something in Tony Stark's mansion, because this darkness can't be good on their eyes, superpowered or not. Wasp points out that Cap hasn't been around lately, and he says he needed to find a life of his own, which again doesn't jell with what we saw in the previous volumes, but whatever. She's all sad because they used to date, blah, blah, blah. Wasp goes to her ex-husband Hank Pym to exposit how Tony Stark has been drinking himself into oblivion...
Linkara: How the hell would she notice? He's Tony friggin' Stark! I don't think there was a single panel in "Ultimates 1" or "2" where he wasn't holding alcohol.
Linkara (v/o): ...the fact that Valkyrie just showed up one day without any explanation for her powers...
Linkara: Then why the hell did you let her on the team?
Linkara (v/o): ...and that Black Panther's only real security clearance is that Captain America vouches for him. By the way, I have no idea why Hank Pym suddenly got so much freedom. Oh, did I forget to mention, yeah, in the first Ultimates book, he unleashed a horde of ants against Wasp while she was shrunken and almost killed her because he's psychotic and they had an argument. Then in "Ultimates 2", he joined up with superpowered terrorists because he wasn't allowed to be on the team anymore.
Linkara: And they let him hang out in their basement, apparently. Sure, why not? It's certainly not the dumbest thing we're gonna be seeing in this comic.
Linkara (v/o): When Pym fails to answer her, Wasp reaches out and turns his head!
(The panel shows Pym's face, dead, his mouth covered in... something or other and his eyes dull)
Linkara: (gasps) OH, MY GOD, HE ATE TOO MUCH PUDDING!!!
Linkara (v/o): So, while Hank Pym collapses, no doubt trying to escape from the comic while he can, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch walk around, being in a creepy, incestuous relationship. Then suddenly, BANG!
Linkara: Ooh, bang, bang, he shot her down. Bang, bang, she hit the ground. Bang, bang, that awful sound. Bang, bang, her baby shot her down.
Linkara (v/o): Well, okay, Quicksilver didn't do it, but he immediately spots the massive bullet heading for her and tries to call for help while he goes into superspeed mode. Somehow, the bullet actually manages to change direction as he tries to stop it. Finally, he just puts his hand in front of it, but as we see here... (the panel shows that the bullet goes right through his hand, leaving a gaping hole in it)
Linkara: (holding up his hand, as Quicksilver) Oh, cool! Hey, sis, check out what I can do now!
Scarlet Witch: Pietro... it... hurts...
Linkara: (as Quicksilver) No, actually, I don't feel a thing at all! Weird, huh? I... (looks over behind himself and becomes shocked) Oh, wait...
Linkara (v/o): A doctor on a walking stick comes running up, trying to help. Now, this is probably just fan service, since the implication is that this is Dr. Donald Blake, Thor's alter ego, but in "The Ultimates", he doesn't really have an alter ego, but the point being the issue ends with Scarlet Witch dead.
Linkara: And because she's actually now fallen down, I can legitimately actually do this... (raises his index finger in the air)
Nancy Sinatra: (singing offscreen) Bang, bang, he shot me down / Bang, bang, I hit the ground / Bang, bang, that awful sound / Bang bang...
Linkara: I love that ditty.
Linkara (v/o): Issue 2 begins with Spider-Man, the teenage variety of the Ultimate Universe, for no particular reason hitching a ride on a cop car. Hawkeye, being out of his flippin' mind, suddenly opens fire on him to get his attention.
Linkara: (smiling) What a nice guy. (holds up magic gun) I say hello to people by shooting them, too!
Offscreen voice: Hello.
(Linkara aims and fires his gun at whoever said that)
Linkara: (looking over at where he shot) Hello!
Linkara (v/o): Spidey recognizes him.
Spider-Man: Do the rest of the Ultimates know that you're 40 crayons short of a box?!
Linkara: Yeah, sanity evaluations from the guy wearing a skintight spider costume. In the middle of winter, no less.
Hawkeye: Maybe I have gone a little crazy. Maybe every time I hear a gunshot it takes me right back to when my family... my kids...
Linkara (v/o): (as Hawkeye) Dot dot dot. (normal) You know, if that is the case, maybe you should STOP SHOOTING BULLETS EVERYWHERE, NIMROD!!
Hawkeye: Or maybe it's all an act to mess with you.
Linkara: Nah, you're cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, no doubt there.
Linkara (v/o): Spidey gets paralyzed, thanks to one of Hawkeye's tranq darts, but before he can finish threatening him, Captain America suddenly arrives and tosses his shield at him, telling him to get back to the base.
Hawkeye: What about the Panther?
Captain America: He's my responsibility now.
Hawkeye: How so?
Captain America: Because I just said so.
Linkara: Captain America: symbol of freedom, purveyor of hope in the Marvel Universe, and apparently reducing himself to grade school taunts.
Linkara (v/o): Back at the mansion, Wasp has gotten Hank Pym to a bed and his robots are attending to him.
Wasp: Hank. Hank, if you can hear me, we need to know what you took. There were dozens of pills...
Linkara: (as Hank, leaning his head back on the couch in imitation of his lying position) All I did was swallow a Tic Tac. How the hell can this happen?
Linkara (v/o): Quicksilver bursts in to yell and ramble that his sister is dead and he couldn't stop the high-tech bullet that was programmed for her DNA. Seems like an awful lot of trouble when you can just poison her or something, but whatever. (the Scarlet Witch's dead body is shown) Oh, and get a load of this shot, lovingly framed so that we can't see the bullet wound, but we can see her rather generous cleavage and her pouty expression while her hair tumbles around her like a frickin' Pantene Pro-V commercial.
Linkara: (giving a thumbs-up) Thanks for keeping it classy, Marvel!
Linkara (v/o): When Wasp tells her that she didn't get any of the distress calls, Quicksilver gets indignant and says that he should have stayed with the Brotherhood of Mutants. Before their argument can continue, the main power supply to the mansion fails. I guess Stark, being the multi-billionaire that he is, forgot to put in a backup power supply. Or if there is, it's a piece-of-crap one since all it does is make everything go red – seriously, the lighting in this place can only get worse if there wasn't any at all – and have a nice announcement saying that the power is out. The only instance of competence here is that when the power goes out, the mansion goes into lockdown mode. For all the fat load of good it does, since right afterwards, the freakin' wall explodes, revealing the Brotherhood of Mutants!
Linkara: This really can't look good on Stark's insurance claims. Supervillains keep breaking his walls.
Linakra (v/o): Among them are Mystique, the Blob, Multiple Man, some woman named Lorelei, and Sabretooh, and they all look utterly ridiculous! Mystique is standing there in a tank top, because that just screams "commando raid". Sabretooh looks like somebody scrunched his face down towards the center; Lorelei apparently has a bloody nose or something; and the Blob... well, the Blob, ladies and gentlemen.
Linkara: And by the way, I am quite disappointed that not one of them shouted (holds up fist) "OH, YEAH!!" when they burst through that wall.
Linkara (v/o): Despite the fact that we just saw Mystique down near the wall she crashed through, all of a sudden, she appears to Tony Stark as the Black Widow in his window, trying to screw with his emotions. How the hell did she get up there? Wasp, however, suddenly appears and knocks her out, telling Stark to get ready since she thinks the sex tape leaked Venom's attack, the Scarlet Witch's assassination, etc., etc., are all connected.
Linkara: (exaggerating) Noooo, really?! And here I thought they were all just completely random occurrences that just happen to have been done to your team over the course of 48 hours! Why are you the leader again?
Linkara (v/o): Thor and Valkyrie finish their own private Ragnarok. You know, the expression that someone needs to get laid? Having read all three of the Ultimate books in a row, I've got to say these people need to stop getting laid; it never ends well for them. However, a woman named Lorelei uses some sort of siren song on Thor to make him attack Valkyrie. And here we see Valkyrie's awesome acrobatic feats, which are impressive, but only serve to remind us that she's wearing a chain metal bikini. Hmm, how did Valkyrie look in the regular Marvel Universe?
(A shot of Valkyrie in the regular Marvel Univere is shown, wearing a one-piece with a cape and a spear; dramatic music is heard)
Linkara: Yeah, the Ultimate Universe is just so much more mature and realistic, isn't it?
Valkyrie: Listen, you bitch. I knew a girl like you in high school. Played all the boys 'cause she was this hottie. She even messed with a guy I liked.
Linkara: (as Valkyrie) And that girl's name was Bella Swan!
Valkyrie: The big difference between then and now...? I couldn't chop HER head off.
Linkara: (as Valkyrie, pulling out a sword) And then I will be the only Highlander!
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, the Blob is moving to the mansion, and of course, being as stealthy as a 1,000-pound overweight mutant can be, runs into the Wasp.
Blob: Wasp! Gonna eat you up!
Linkara: (disgusted) The people who have read "Ultimatum" have (points to his face) this same expression. And you will, too, when we finally get to it.
Linkara (v/o): Iron Man suddenly bursts through the floor under him.
Iron Man: Didn't you see the sign on the way in, Blob? "The management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone."
Linkara: Which might have been a decent line if they were based out of a restaurant and not Tony's friggin' mansion! You might as well have quipped, "No shirt, no shoes, no service."
Linkara (v/o): Suddenly, Captain America and Hawkeye are back at the mansion.
Captain America: Shoot to wound, Hawkeye. I need at least one of them to interrogate.
Hawkeye: Yeah, well... you know what the best part of killin' multiple men is, Cap? There's always plenty more where that one came from.
Linkara: Disobeys orders, kills at the drop of a hat, shows no forethought about his actions. Yeah, I see why they kept him on the team after his family was killed right in front of him.
Linkara (v/o): Sabretooth comes up behind Cap and slices him right across the back, producing quite a bit of blood, which explains why his costume and his back in general are perfectly fine in the next panel. Wait, what?
Captain America: I want you OUT of this house, Creed.
Linkara: (as Cap, pointing to exit) And don't you come back until you have thought what you've done, young man.
Linkara (v/o): So, what's Sabretooth's reaction to such a well-thought-out demand?
Sabretooth: SUCK IT!
Linkara (v/o): Hmm, yeah, this shot and that line certainly deserve a splash page. Well, actually, I need it because it's one of the few in this comic that actually has some variety in the color. It's still painful to look at, but I'll take what I can get.
Captain America: Using language like that is what's tearing apart the moral fabric of this country.
Linkara: Remember, kids, don't say naughty words like "suck". It's tearing our country apart! That's why, today, I'm gonna say "This comic blows" instead.
Linkara (v/o): Back with Quicksilver, Magneto arrives.
Quicksilver: I thought you were locked away...
Magneto: Perhaps I am locked away. And this is all an illusion.
Linkara: Oh, how I wish that were so.
Magneto: Now is the time to be with family.
Quicksilver: Family?! I'm your son and-- you shot off my kneecaps!
Linkara: (as Magneto) Look, how many times do I have to say I'm sorry about that, okay? I really thought it was on your Christmas list, right after the Lego bricks! (as Quicksilver) I wanted a Turbo Man doll, not bullets in my knees! (as Magneto) You know, when I was younger, I would have been grateful for getting bullets in my knees. (as Quicksilver) Oh, here he goes, another "when I was a–" (as Magneto) You're such an ungrateful child!
(Linkara as Magneto and Quicksilver start arguing with one another, but it's too inaudible to make out, beyond Magneto never complaining about bullets in his knees and Quicksilver complaining that his sister is dead)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Magneto convinces Quicksilver to join the Brotherhood, since they'll have a better chance of finding out who killed the Scarlet Witch. Yeah, why would you want the money and resources of an international multi-billion-dollar company, with ties to government agencies and the like, when you instead could rely on a terrorist organization run by a guy with a garbage can on his head? Quicksilver gets the Brotherhood out of the mansion, and the Ultimates quickly realize he's turned on them. And so, our comic ends with someone appearing off panel.
Voice: I know you think you've got a murder to solve. But, believe me-- (it is revealed to be Wolverine) you've got a MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM on your hands!
Linkara: (excitedly) Oh, my God! It's Wolverine! Oh, man, this comic's about to get good! I mean, sure, these first two issues were badly drawn and colored, the dialogue was insipid and boring, and the plot points introduced here will ultimately be stupid... BUT IT'S WOLVERINE! You know what that means! ADAMANTIUM RAGE!
(He punches the camera, causing the picture to cut out)
(TO BE CONTINUED)
(End credits roll)
Some have told me that the first part of Ultimates 3 WAS that dark, hence the scans are accurate, but since reprints all have the lighter tone, I still dropped the ball on this one.
Chainmail Bikini vs. Norse Armor. Taking bets!
He's Counting Down from 21!