Robot Overlord: I find that the most vexing thing that you meatbags continually engage in is the repeated use of “remakes” and “adaptations” to cover for your inability to create something correctly the first time. To that end, I have assigned Stephen and Matthew to review together something from Marvel’s Ultimate (comics) Universe, in the form of Ultimate Avengers 3 #2. They, as always, have complied.
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS 3 #2
Writer: Mark Millar
Penciler: Steve Dillon
Inker: Andy Lanning
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Ed Mcguinness and Morry Hollowell
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Previously, on Ultimate Avengers: The Ultimate Avengers are very similar to our worlds Avengers in many ways. They were founded by a Super Soldeier, a god, two size-changers and a dude in a tin can, but what happened next was somewhat different. Magneto finally achieved the lifelong villainy he had been searching for, destroying a goodly portion of the world, and leaving little besides Peter Parker and a few of the Ultimates standing. Last issue, vampire attacks led the Avengers team consisting of Hawkeye, a new Wasp and Black Widow, War Machine (James Rhodes) and a clone of Bruce Banner to get involved with vampire slayer Blade and a brand-new successor to the mantle of Daredevil. Of course, having one of their own turned by the evil vampire Overlord didn’t help, either…
WHAT THE HELL!?
MATTHEW: Okay, Stephen, here’s my first question: WHAT. THE. HELL??
STEPHEN: That’s what I thought when I first opened this issue. First of all, you have to remember this issue consists of a flashback of events that occurred before the first issue, but before it is all over it comes full circle to take us past the events of last issue. Confused yet?
MATTHEW: I was under the impression that this was meant to be LESS confusing than regular Marvel Comics, but this is truly bizarre from all angles. We have THREE new characters wearing OLD costumes of original 616 universe characters, we have a clone of Bruce Banner whose apparent hero name is “Nerd Hulk” and we have a story which bears a striking resemblance to that happening in regular Marvel U. titles, right down to the special guest star… Where’s the new and different, again?
STEPHEN: Well Nerd Hulk is indeed a clone of Bruce Banner – think Grey Hulk without the grey, and with powers equivelent to what Captain America calls a scientist – a LADY scientist. OH SNAP! Yeah… the entire issue is about that lame. I haven’t been following everything going on in the Ultimate (comics) Universe since Magneto went all wacky-in-the-wikky-woo, so I probably missed the moment the Hulk returned, and I’m willing to let that go had he not been taken down in about three pages of no fighting.
Nerd Hulk wants to go to the big city to get his comic books signed by his favorite comic book writer of all time. There is a nice nod to Midtown Comics, which is good for the comic book store, but really takes the reader out of the comic make believe. While Hulk’s favorite writer of all time is not named, the sudden appearance of the first issue of Trouble let’s us know that Millar thinks mighty highly of himself in the Ultimate (comics) Universe. I think all of this would be all well and good if this issue actually had the balls the first Ultimates series had instead of the boring and dull dialogue scattered throughout the issue. It’s almost as if Millar is saving his “good” stuff for his other projects, and this issue comes off as if Millar is doing Marvel a favor by lending his name to their little book… Of course I could be a bit bitter after seeing Nerd Hulk get taken down by a vampire in an old Iron Man suit, and Captain America actually falling for Kid Daredevil’s “Help me I’m bleeding – BUT I’M ACTUALLY A VAMPIRE GOING TO BITE YOU” schtick. For an issue all about vampires, there is absolutely no fighting at all in this issue, and the only good vampire slaying doesn’t come from Blade, but from a priest he brought in to do his dirty work. Ugh…
MATTHEW: Having not read the previous issue, I’m glad that we have gotten the “behind-the-scenes” explained vis a vis Hulk Bites (which I believe was a Def Leppard single from ’91) and how and why the creature even got here, but the appearance of the Vampire Lord wearing the original gray tin-can Iron Man armor bugs me again. In the original Ultimates series, Iron Man’s stuff was much more sophisticated and the implication was that his armored career was shorter, why would this thing even exist?
NO, REALLY. WHAT THE HELL!?
STEPHEN: Well I could explain it to you, but it would probably enrage you to the point you could actually beat up Nerd Hulk. So… How ‘bout that art? That Steve Dillon’s got nothing on Bryan Hitch, right?
MATTHEW: I don’t mind Steve Dillon’s artwork, exactly, but it feels really inappropriate for the story being told here. His lines are clean, and his quirky human anatomy seems better suited to the stories like Preacher or Hellblazer than to this sort of thing. Captain America especially seems a little bit awful with an elongated neck (a bad idea with vampires about.)
STEPHEN: Yup, couldn’t agree with you more. As I said in my last review, there are a lot of art shortcuts in this book that drive me up the wall. For me the figures are okay (to each his own I guess), but the backgrounds – or rather lack of – seem so cheap it brings down the worth of a book that I paid $3.99 for.
BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU ARE MARK MILLAR OR MARVEL, DON’T LOOK
MATTHEW: In my final analysis, this is one of those odd stories that the creative team seems really keen on telling and wants us to believe is awesome, but it reads like fanfic. Given that Millar’s Ultimates have always been pretty much unlikable to this man, I can’t put much fear in the possibility that this Cap might be turned into a vampire… Nerd Hulk feels like nothing so much as a “$&$@ you!” from the writer, and the reveal of his favorite comic book) was little more than the Mark Millar hype machine in motion. I can safely say that my decision not to return for Ultimates 2 and the subsequent issues is one that I was probably correct for me, as Ultimates 3 #2 earns only 1 out of 5 stars from Matthew. Combine incoherent art with confusing plotting and indistinguishable character dialogue, and you’ve got a completely forgettable twenty-odd pages for me…
STEPHEN: As much as the Robot Overlord wants us to read a book and have completely opposite takes on the subject, thus leading to our own fighty-fighty it always seems to backfire on him. I’ve never called an issue complete trash before, so here you have a Major Spoilers First – Ultimate (comics) Avengers 3 #2 is a complete and utter mess from start to finish. This issue doesn’t even belong at the top of the trash heap, but needs to be buried deep down never to see the light of day again.