“No one can stop us now, We are all made of stars
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 Marvelâ€™s Ultimate Origins.
As Bruce Banner says in the first page of the story, â€œitâ€™s all connected.â€ 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 doesnâ€™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; itâ€™s not all Oscorp hijinks, and radiated spiders, itâ€™s genetic mutations created by the good olâ€™ 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 havenâ€™t read every MUU tale out there, but from what I remember in The Ultimates and Ultimate Spider-Man, Iâ€™ve never seen Nick Fury go all Fire Starter. What I do find interesting is the way Bendis hints at the real â€œoatmeal experimentsâ€ performed on people during the time period.
Iâ€™m not too keen on the art by Butch Guice, only because Iâ€™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 Guiceâ€™s interpretation of Bruce Banner, and a supposed teenage Spider-Man contradicts what we have seen before. Heck, Ultimate Nick Fury doesnâ€™t even look like Samuel MutherFâ€™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.
Bendisâ€™ story telling is perfectly paced, and Iâ€™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.