“No one can stop us now, We are all made of stars

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Short of stealing directly from Moby, or Lost, or any other story that has everyone connected in some way or another, Brian Michael Bendis brings a different take to mutants, heroes, and villains in Marvel’s Ultimate Origins.

ULTORIGINS001.jpgULTIMATE ORIGINS #1
COVER BY: SIMONE BIANCHI
WRITER: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
PENCILS: JACKSON GUICE
INKS: SIMONE BIANCHI
COLORED BY: JUSTIN PONSOR
LETTERED BY: CHRIS ELIOPOULOS

As Bruce Banner says in the first page of the story, “it’s all connected.” The babbling of a nerdy scientist is enough to attract the attention of many a people including Spider-Man and an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. task force sent to bring him back. But before the web-head can get a handle on who Bruce Banner is, and what he is babbling about, he Hulks out and escapes to New Jersey.

It seems like a confusing way to kick off a series that is supposed to make sense (or demolish, depending on what rumor story you are reading), of the Ultimate Universe, but thankfully, via flashbacks we begin to see the big picture.

Thanks to Marvel Ultimate Universe (MUU) President of the United States F.D.R., the super soldier serum is the key to winning any war – the first Super Soldier was killed while trying to take an island in 1942, and the images of a dead hero on an America flag, just doesn’t sit well with the Pres.

So it is back to the drawing board. A majority of the story takes place during the 1940s, as we discover more than one person being subjected to experimentation. One thing that will surprise readers is the Super Soldier Formula was not just used on Steve Rogers and then later on Bruce Banner; from one experiment to another, the scientists ultimately create the mutant gene that will itself mutate, escape containment, and spread to the rest of the world.

In these pages, Bendis does a believable job of creating a backstory that explains why so many mutants are running around in the modern MUU; it’s not all Oscorp hijinks, and radiated spiders, it’s genetic mutations created by the good ol’ MUU U.S. of A. This probably also explains why there are so many more mutants in the United States than have been revealed in other countries.

When an author decides that everyone in a story is connected, it is easy throw in moments where Wolverine, Nick Fury, and Kingpin are working together. Is it a neat moment when you realize who James Howlett will become? Yes. Is it cool to see Wilson Fisk before he bloats up and becomes an evil crime lord? Yes. Is it cool to see Nick Fury thrown in prison and experimented on? Not so much.

I haven’t read every MUU tale out there, but from what I remember in The Ultimates and Ultimate Spider-Man, I’ve never seen Nick Fury go all Fire Starter. What I do find interesting is the way Bendis hints at the real “oatmeal experiments” performed on people during the time period.

I’m not too keen on the art by Butch Guice, only because I’ve become used to the art stylings of Mark Bagley, who did a huge run on Ultimate Spider-Man. Yes, you can tell who people are, but Guice’s interpretation of Bruce Banner, and a supposed teenage Spider-Man contradicts what we have seen before. Heck, Ultimate Nick Fury doesn’t even look like Samuel MutherF’in Jackson, which is the whole point of Ultimate Nick Fury.

If Marvel is looking for a way to cancel much of the Ultimate line, then Origins certainly allows that door to open a crack. If the government can create a mutant gene, then surely there is a way to create an antidote that would shut the mutant gene down, thus ridding the world of the superheroes and villains.

Bendis’ story telling is perfectly paced, and I’m hoping the pace remains the same for the rest of the mini-series. Ultimate fans will get a kick out of this series, and if it leads us down the path I think it is taking us to, the Ultimatum series could indeed be the last hurrah for MUU. Ultimate Origins is a good read, I would recommend it, and it earns a 4 out of 5 rating.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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8 Comments

  1. Baal
    June 5, 2008 at 10:55 pm — Reply

    My only problem with the issue (and I haven’t read enough Ulti-stories to spot inkonsistense-seas (I was having so much trouble spelling that word I decided to go for broke on it)) is that the mutant gene was only created in the forties. Considering mutants are a worldwide phenom in the UU, james has had to have gotten laid nearly every minute between then and at least the early 80’s. You think science isn’t Bendis’ strong point?

  2. Mark I.
    June 6, 2008 at 2:21 am — Reply

    Wait, wait, wait…isn’t this how Garth Ennis explained superpowers in “The Boys?”

  3. shamon
    June 6, 2008 at 5:12 am — Reply

    Nice review and after reading the book i have faith this story will in turn to something to remember and the whole fury being apart of the program was a crazy twist so what happen to his powers?

  4. Rodrigo
    June 6, 2008 at 9:32 am — Reply

    you know what I think is going to happen?

    people will really like this book, and it’ll convince Marvel that they shouldn’t shut down the line, so they’ll make MUU2 and everyone will hate it.

    SO IT IS WRITTEN AND SO IT SHALL BE!

  5. June 6, 2008 at 9:45 am — Reply

    Rodrigo: You are probably more right than you know…

  6. Cory
    June 6, 2008 at 11:38 am — Reply

    Yes, Brian Bendis is retarded in regards to science. I lost all hope for the Ultimate Universe.

  7. Maximus Rift
    June 8, 2008 at 11:12 am — Reply

    Considering that Ultimate Universe makes hella more sense than current 616, I really don’t understand why they would end it. Are they trying to force people to buy 616? They do know that some people don’t like the current 616 and are buying MUU instead, right?

  8. June 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    Yes. But they also know that many people refused to pick up MUU from the beginning, asserting (as I occasionally have) that the only Ultimate Marvel Universe is the one Stan and Jack created in the first place. :)

    Still and all, Ultimate Origin just leaves me cold. It’s an example of why “closed-system” writing isn’t as much fun… Like in the movies, where we have to have the villain of the movie be intriniscally tied into the heroes origin (Jack Napier in the 1989 Batman, Lloyd Sandman in Spider-Man III, Doom in Fantastic Four) trying to tie up all the loose ends makes the shared universe concept less fun… How many of the best Marvel concepts weren’t retconned in until well AFTER the universe started?

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