Or – “You Gonna Eat That?”
When they devastated the world of the Ultimates a few years ago, many said that Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line was dead. Now, the world-eater known as Galactus has been let loose in their universe, which has once again raised rumors of Ultimate Demise. Will this be the end of Miles Morales and the whole superhuman crew? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Well-drawn and colored.
Surprisingly engaging, with a huge “Oh, Crap.” moment at the end…
The Hype Machine has me not only NOT worrying that universe 1610 could be wiped out, but actively hoping that it will be…
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Hunger: In the hopes of keeping his world from turning to ash under the heel of robotic overlords, Wolverine travelled back in time to murder Henry Pym before the hero could create the Ultron AI. This, sadly, made the world even MORE of a clusterschmozz, and ANOTHER Wolverine travelled back from that future to murder the original Wolverine before he murdered Pym, beginning a cycle of temporal logistics and homicide that ended with a massive fracture in the space-time continuum. Though Ultron was stopped from destroying the world, there were consequences, not the least of which was transporting the world-eating force of nature known as Galactus into the alternate reality of Earth-1610, known colloquially as the Ultimate Universe…
THAT COULD BE BAD…
I am notoriously rude about the Ultimate Marvel universe, for reasons which are probably not entirely justified. I found the original expectation (retelling the stories of Spider-Man in a more modern way) to be acceptable, but a little mercenary, and many of the publicity stunts of early-21st-Century Marvel still stick in my craw a bit. As the world evolved, it became clear that they had a lot of interesting ideas, but that most of them consisted only of the type of inversions/subversions we used to get in issues of ‘What If?’ Case in point: This issue begins with Rick Jones, now transformed into the cosmic powered protector of the universe (I believe he was called Nova in his earlier appearances, though not in this issue) returning to Earth in order to get “what he deserves!” Before he can order his burger and fries, though, the cosmic Watcher possesses the server, and teleports Rick across the galaxy to witness a watershed moment in the history of their world. The Kree Armada is battling head-to-head with their centuries-old opponents, The Chitauri (*coughSkrullcough*) when something else appears on their scanners… something old, something bad, something deadly.
Gah Lak Tus.
…DEPENDING ON YOUR POINT OF VIEW.
The Ultimate version of Gah Lak tus is a swarm of techno-organic insectoid monsters, and both the Kree and Chitauri fleets are quickly overwhelmed. Visually, this sequence is pretty incredible, with a wide-screen double-page spread highlighting the utter devastation as the swarm tears the spaceships apart in glorious detail. As the battle becomes a foregone conclusion, The Watcher turns young Rick’s attention to a tear in the fabric of reality, an eddy in the space-time continuum (that must be his sofa, then), out of which comes… a massive, armored purple hand.
“HE IS HERE. HE IS HERE. HE IS HERE,” repeats the shell-shocked Watcher, as the rift widens to reveal the regular 616-issue Galactus, who is seemingly bemused by his new location. We (and Rick) watch as the Gah Lak Tus swarm turns on their Kirby-style counterpart, analyzing his form before their cries of “Consume. Consume. Consume.” are replaced with another, more terrifying battle-cry. “Merge.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: IS IT RUDE TO ROOT FOR GALACTUS?
The end of the issue is quite chilling, as the combined Galacti (looking like a roboticized version of the classic design) discover that TWO world-eating menaces together are doubly-hungry, and begin setting off for more things to consume. Fialkov does a great job with Rick Jones as POV character, and his use of this version of The Watcher (no oath of non-interference here, it seems) works to the tales advantage. The speculation on whether this is The Ultimate End turns out to be the least interesting part of the book, which I think is a good thing, as that conceit rings pretty false after all the times we’ve heard it before. Also interestingly, when the chronofracture causes Rick to see his alternate selves, all the images are of the life of the regular 616 Rick Jones, including his run as Bucky, as Captain Marvel’s partner, as a Hulk and as the A-Bomb, which serves as a nice continuity touch, but makes it feel like the story is thinking small. All in all, Hunger #1 looks quite nice, and reads smoothly, lacking in hyperbole or over boiled plot madness, serving as a strong first issue and a decent read, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. If this IS the end of the Marvel Ultimate line, it’s a decent start at giving that story some gravitas and metaphorical heft, something that the end of a whole universe should probably be given…