Sunday, August 2, 2009

Review Classic: Ultimates 3 #1

I recently reviewed a book by Jeph Loeb (as soon as it is live there will be a link blog). It inspired me to look up this old one from the pre Broken Frontier days. With the writer and the recent end of the Ultimate Universe, this one seems like a good one to pull up. Originally posted at

Ultimates Vol. 3 #1
Written by Jeph Loeb
Art by Joe Madureira

I have not been a big supporter of the Ultimate Universe. Ultimate Spider-man just rubs me the wrong way, I could care less about Ultimate Power and let’s face it, Ultimate X-Men is where great writers decide to write garbage. All that being said there have been a few titles I have enjoyed. Three to be exact. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, Ultimate Iron Man and Ultimates. I was a huge fan of The Ultimates 2. I have yet to read Ultimates Volume 1, I have it in hardcover somewhere, but volume 2 started when I was just getting back into comics and to me, it was everything I ever wanted an Avengers comic to be. It was dark and seemed like it could be happening here.

Ultimates 3 seemed like a good idea. Jeph Loeb has always been hit or miss with me, although I really like his Batman and Superman books. However, his recent work has left me cold. The Fallen Son series suffered from being incredibly uneven in it’s writing and in a couple of issues (yes I am looking at you Spider-Man) laughably bad. His recent stint on Wolverine was so bad that after the second page of the second issue of the arc, I gave up until Loeb went away. This book is just nonsense. Am I to assume that Hawkeye’s new darker image is a result of the conclusion of the last series? Well, to drastically change a character like that needs some development and any attempt at actual characterization is absent here. Instead of getting to be introduced to Ultimate Black Panther, we get hints at a mystery. In an incredibly poor choice (that I can’t believe Marvel editorial let happen), Loeb decides to make the book more adult by introducing an incestuous relationship and then never bothers to show why the involved characters feel this way. The rest of the issue is a big fight with a villain that is just an obvious plot device to bring Spider-Man onto the team. All of this leads to what is supposed to be a shocking cliff hanger, but the problem is, I didn’t have any emotional investment in the characters so I didn’t care.

Joe Madureira is the artist on this issue. I work in a comic store, so while I was not reading books when he was drawing them, I get to see the mad passion that people have for his art. The muddiness (that is cause primarily by Lichtner’s colors) and over boxiness of the charaters made me rush to the back issue bins. I had to see what all those folk see in Battlechasers. Well, I lucked out and had an issue six in the regular runs here at the mall store (note Ultimate Comics no longer has a mall store - check the link above for locations). I took a peek, the lines were strong and the colors bright. There was some boxiness, but it just gave a distinctive quirk to the art in that book. I rushed back to my copy of Ultimates 3 #1. Then I rushed to look at the sketches in the back of Iron & the Maiden #0, they resembled the Battlechasers work. I rushed back to my copy of Ultimates 3. I am not convinced these are the same artists. Ultimates 3 is the work of a sloppy amateur. Sure he has been out of the game for a while, but why let the prototype sketches in the back of a book he let someone else draw be more polished then his hyped return to comics? Go back to games, I don’t need you. Your best work is on the cutting room floor and I get this garbage when I spend money?

Ultimates you are on notice, you have one more issue to stay on my pull list. I am even giving "One More Day" more of a chance then that. You better bring it next time.

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