The Ultimates², Volume 1: Troubleshooters
Al Ewing Travel Foreman
One of the best and most under-rated team books at Marvel, this incarnation of The Ultimates under the pen of Al Ewing was fantastic in its first volume and in this second not only keeps up that fantastic but takes it to a whole other even MORE cosmic level.
So many comic “EVENTS” are happening in the big leagues (i.e, at Marvel/DC) where “the world will never be the same” and “everything is changed” and blah, blah, blah… but this book… this damned series is just gorgeous. It is some of the most amazing and interesting characters that don’t often get the love they deserve (except Black Panther & Captain Marvel who’ve been getting a big push recently, helped greatly by their movie deals) are part of a team that deals with problems that aren’t yet problems and tries to do a rare thing in the superhero game: pre-empt universal and even multiversal threats.
Blue Marvel has been a fantastic character and as much as I’d like to see him in more comics, I like that like this team, he is kind of in his own corner of the Marvel Universe only minimally affected by the stuff that goes on – which is a HUGE deal because of the Marvel tendency to keep shoving events into their monthly series which screws up so much. Thankfully be it Civil War or Secret Empire, this book has remained on its own level and even the supposed crossover issues into events are tenuous at best and almost just for the sake of slapping the event-logo on the cover.
America Chavez is a great character with a world of potential and this book is one of best uses/versions of her and her taking a lead in this volume was great – but for me her solo book was so over the top and ham-handed in its need to cater to people who wanted so much self-righteous diversity that even me who couldn’t care less about the characters race, religion, sex, whatever, felt myself constantly rolling my eyes and dropping the book.
Black Panther is, well Black Panther. He’s a badass and is portrayed and utilised very well without overshadowing anyone here.
Monica/Spectrum was always a very poorly used but awesome character to me but this series has been a fantastic way to give her space – and in this volume the stuff we see her do and her rapport/relationship with Blue Marvel is good. Also seeing her grow with her powers and skill was great fun to watch unfold.
Even Captain Marvel who went from great revived character not long back, to horribly misused and terribly portrayed and good-will destroying through the whole Civil War 2 debacle and the aftermath, was tolerable here. And the fact that they focused on her minimally and instead on her as the head of SWORD and Earths space-ambassador (sort of) worked well for her.
I was a little bummed out about the Galactus stuff in the middle but I suppose it was inevitable – in all honesty I suppose it’s good it played out the way it did because it could have happened in a far more poorly plotted way as happens too often with dramatic changes like this in comics. But overall considering the scale of the game unfolding and the potential fallout, everything was handled exceedingly well.
And unlike a lot of books out there, the artwork is VERY consistent, very unique and really suits the comic. Travel Foreman‘s art style in this book has made me a new fan of his and the colouring style in the book gels perfectly with the art – in fact the art is remarkable because it is reminiscent of the first series BUT still has a feel of its own. Very cool.
A highly recommended read for fans of cosmic level comics and especially for fans of Marvels cosmic stuff which only gets relatively minimal coverage in their huge line of comics every month.