Saturday, August 13, 2011

Super Saturday: The Ultimates

The Ultimates 1 & 2 were the Ultimate Marvel re-imagining of the Avengers by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, published between 2002 and 2007 (13 issues each). They definitely sucked me in, with what I consider to be gorgeous art, compelling dialogue, and generally intriguing characterizations.

Plotting by Mark Millar was perhaps a little more sketchy. One thing that really struck me, once I finished the complete work, was how almost perfectly parallel the two volumes were in terms of overall story arc. Below I present the Ultimates 1 & 2 Plot Point Comparison Table:

Plot PointUltimates 1Ultimates 2
Issue #1 opening-scene Captain America airdrop target is:Nazi nuclear missile baseIraqi terrorist kidnapping site
Issue #5 team powerhouse identified as a threat who receives a brutal full-team beatdown, and then gets imprisoned, is:HulkThor
Issue #6 Giant-Man embarrassing sideplot concerns:Domestic disturbance versus the WaspJoining the non-superpowered Defenders
Issue #8/9 team member identified as a threat who receives a shocking beatdown by one rogue member is:Giant-Man (at the hands of Captain America)Captain America (at the hands of Nick Fury)
Issue #9/10 method by which the entire SHIELD atomic helicarrier fleet gets instantly destroyed is:Alien nuclear bombStolen security codes
Issue #9-11 unearthly invasion force which takes over America is:Skrull alien space armadaLoki's Axis-of-Evil army, followed by Norse mythological monsters
Issue #12-13 character who returns by surprise, dropping out of the sky to fight and ultimately kill the otherwise-unstoppable enemy leader, thereby saving the world, is (and see issue #5 above):HulkThor

(Photo by Mr. Tea under CC2.)

3 comments:

  1. Yes, Millar's rather prone to repeating himself. Ultimates 2 is suspiciously similar to one of his Authority arcs -- the one where the team is replaced by a corporate sponsored team -- right down to whole scenes being "borrowed".

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  2. Huh...I never thought of that (which goes to show how unsophisticated my comic reading is...), but it DOES explain why, for me, Ultimates 2 feels like a bit of a letdown from the first Ultimates. It's basically recycled material!

    I also hate-hate-hate the whole "Axis-of-Evil" army...though it is a logical extension of the premise set-up with the creation of a "super soldier" program.

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  3. kelvingreen: Interesting about the Authority (which I've no read).

    JB: I agree. I really loathe the ending of the Liberators... every single one of them dies miserably crying for mercy, which really rubs me the wrong way. (Esp. when they were each allegedly tailored to be able to best their counterpart. Makes no sense.)

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