Or – “I Don’t Know If You Heard, But There’s This New Spider-Man…”

The revamping of the Ultimate universe continues, as Quicksilver picks up where dear ol’ dad left off, and Nick Fury gets some very bad news…

ULTIMATE FALLOUT #5
Writer(s): Nick Spencer/Jonathan Hickman
Artist(s): Luke Ross/Billy Tan
Cover ARtists: Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary & Paul Mounts
Colorist(s): Jason Keith/Guru eFx
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Ultimate Fallout:  A lot of water has gone under the bridge (and through the buildins and into the lungs of a lot of innocents) in the Ultimate universe since Magneto put his final plan into action.  The remains of the heroes of this world have been struggling to rebuild, and it seemed like they were getting somewhere until Peter Parker was killed.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Two words: Quicksilver ascendant.

A Modest Proposal.

I’ll be honest:  I picked this up thinking there would be more Ultimate Spider-Man Version 2.0.  Instead, we get something a little more intriguing, as well as a lot more disturbing, on a number of levels.  We open with a couple of corporate suits preparing for a pitch meeting of some sort, with really impressive art by Luke Ross.  There’s a texture to the pencils in the first part of this issue that I REALLY like, giving the art a depth and photographic quality that you seldom see in comics anymore.  The meeting gets weird when we discover that the pitch is coming from Pietro (Quicksilver) Lensherr, and that his plan is simple enough.  Quicky wants to revive the importation and sale of the most profitable goods ever sold in American history: humans.  In a really brilliant bit of dialogue, someone tries to change the subject to the weather, which Quicksilver brings back to his topic, reminding them that he knew a girl who could control the weather and make the terrible day beautiful again.  Of course, he muses, she’s off being lobotomized.  It’s a horrifying, yet telling moment that really crystallizes Quicksilver as a threat equal to his father, perhaps even more so.

Bad Timing For Red Tape.

The second half of the book is much less interesting to me, featuring the stiff and awkward pencils of Phillip Tan, and focusing on Samuel L. Nick Fury as he tries to ready SHIELD for the threats to come.  I counted three little name-checks of standard Marvel continuity, but what it essentially boils down to is a budget meeting.  Jasper Sitwell (one of the name-checks, I might add) has come to tell Nick that, even though the President authorized them to expand their operations by 30%, their budget will be slashed.  “People will die because of this,” he says a little bit pathetically, and the pencil-pusher smiles a stiff but presumably-meant-to-be-insincere smile and leaves.  Fury sighs melodramatically and seems completely hapless.  We close the issue with an even moment in the psyche of Pietro Lensherr, as a romantic encounter is interrupted by the spectre of his sister, the Scarlet Witch.  Now, either she’s dead and he’s imagining it, or she’s alive and likes to possess the bodies of the women he’s sleeping with, but either way…  Raise your hand if, “EWW?”

The Verdict: Still A Little Hazy On A Few Things…

I’m really unclear on a lot of what has gone on in the Ultimate Universe, as there have been literally a dozen miniseries since Ultimatum, some of which don’t seem to be able to reconcile with the others.  The Avengers alone have probably had 30 issues since 2009, if you look at all the different minis.  This issue seems to imply that things are still a crapsack, and that even the terrorist son of the world’s greatest terrorist can do whatever he wishes, so long as there’s a sufficient profit margin involved.  (Sounds a bit like my day job…)  The art is split right down the middle, with the first half of the book sublime and the second completely forgettable, and a similar breakdown in the stories.  Maybe it’s just my lizard brain talking, but I’m not sure I want to see an emasculated Fury downtrodden in his seat of power.  Still, it’s different from what the mainstream Marvel U is up to, and it at least continues to differentiate the Ultimate Universe, which I’m all for.  Even with a decided lack of Miles Morales, Ultimate Fallout #5 earns a solid 3 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m not sure where it’s going, but if it looks as good as the first 10 pages, I’m willing to take the ride…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Is the Ultimate Universe really the lame-duck that some say it is?  Or can sufficiently entertaining stories save it from the 2099 scrap-heap?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. ryanchan
    August 14, 2011 at 3:32 am — Reply

    is wasnt the lame-duck for a while but i myself cant imagine reading this stuff after fallout ends, i mean spiderman is not parker(the boy that over comes all his obsticles) wolverine is not logan(the wel trained solider who will face anyone in a fight and walk away with a griin) and the really isnt mutants anymore it was all lab stuff and mr fantastice going all evill its just becoming a bit unbeliveible no mutants is wierd spidy without making web shooters and wolverines exspierence i just dont no how its going to last

  2. August 14, 2011 at 7:15 am — Reply

    Depends on what you want to read, doesn’t it? If you wanted a slightly different world than regular 616; then Ult. U isn’t for you anymore. If you want a radically different take on 616; your on board with the new regime. I would also say it depends on how you feel about certain characters. I don’t think Storm fans would be pleased with development you just told us.

  3. Ced
    August 14, 2011 at 10:11 am — Reply

    At first I found interesting the shade-of-greyness of the Ultimate Universe. But now it get tiresome as everyone except the spiderman “family” seem callous. I have a hard time identifying who are the “super heroes”, especially with the Avengers where they all somehow feel like callous pricks. The more it go, the more I am noticing that I don’t enjoy as much reading about those “heroes”.

  4. Windmillwacker
    August 14, 2011 at 11:27 am — Reply

    I have to disagree with any “lame duck” statement. I have found the Ultimate line to be a refreshing step away from the regular U. As fun as it all was at the start to see how they were going to twist the old stories, I’ve really taken to the new directions that have followed the differences in those story lines. Ultimatum may have gone a bit over the top with the death toll, but look at the world it’s left behind. This is a brand new world, with characters we love, filled with the potential to tell stories that cannot be told in the regular line: Peter Parker is dead and he’s not coming back. It’s refreshing to have my cake AND eat it too.

  5. Noobian74
    August 15, 2011 at 9:37 am — Reply

    Sometimes, the Ultimate universe reads like what would happen if Marvel snorted Image-laced cocaine. When it’s good, I support (Untimate Human, Ultimate Armor Wars). When it’s not (Ultimates 3), eh…

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