The Ultimates Vol 1
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Brian Hitch
Published by Marvel Comics
As you can see folks I have posted enough photos and trailers for the upcoming Thor and Captain America live-action films that you can tell that I'm really hyped up to watch them on the big screen.
And I decided to prep myself a little bit more by reading the first 6 issues of The Ultimates - a comic book limited series by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch which spotlights the adventures of the Ultimates - a superhero team that appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe and is basically a remake of the company's high-profile superhero team, the Avengers. More realistic, more humane, and more kick-ass.
Titled "Super Human", this collection deals with the formation of the team by S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury and their first major mission: stopping an angry and rampaging green monster known as the Hulk, after Bruce Banner (Hulk's human alter-ego) injects himself with the "super-soldier serum" that prompts him to transform into his big bad-ass self.
The team is composed of Iron Man (Tony Stark - the money guy of course), Ant-Man/Giant-Man (Henry Pym - a molecular biologist who has the ability to grow himself), The Wasp (Janet Van Dyne - who is portrayed as an Asian and has the ability to shrink herself the size of an insect), Captain America (Steve Rogers - the old man), and finally the Thunder God/nutjob, Thor.
This book is my favorite Marvel storyline because of Millar's modern take on the superheroes - particularly Captain America - making them more "relatable" for new readers and fit for the modern world. Here are some of the highlight's of the book that I liked:
- Captain America's "resurrection "after being thought as dead in his last reported mission in 1945 was awesome. And through-out the series, he is established as an undisputed champion and an effective leader the team, despite having put in a state of "suspended animation" for 50+ years.
- But at the same time, Cap is no longer the ideal American hero, but more an action hero that you see in the movies: will fight for the truth and justice, but also knows when to use brute force and kick some ass in situations where diplomacy is no longer an option.
- Millar's portrayal of Captain America as a man lost in the modern world/society is painful, as I got to see him as vulnerable as ever. You see him in moments where he has just become so impotent and its heartbreaking. I guess Cap described it best: "All I did was blink and the world just left me behind."
- Real life problems/issues are also tackled by the writer such as domestic violence (especially on women).
- Millar even uses some psychological disorders (e.g Bruce Banner's insecurity / inferiority complex) as a plot device which I thought was really creative.
- Political issues are also raised by Millar in some part of the book, as shown when Thor declined Nick Fury's offer to join the Ultimates, thinking that its just the US government using super-powered heroes for their own personal gain.
- The cynical and aggressive tones in some of Millar's dialogue is something that I thought worked as part of the "modernization" of all its characters in general.
- Thor's appearance towards the end of the book is EPIC.
- Shannon Elizabeth has a cameo with Tony Stark (no nudity though).
- And finally because Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is fucking awesome:
Did I say already that this graphic novel is also a great eye candy? Bryan Hitch's photo-realistic art is something to enjoy and he really does know how to give that cinematic edge to all of his scenes. Its like watching an Avengers movie in your widescreen HDTV.
I give this a 8.5/10. And I think very few people would disagree with me if I say that this is one of the greatest Marvel graphic novels in recent memory, and one that certainly stands out if we're talking about superhero team-ups.
Don't believe me? Try to read this then, and if you didn't get pumped up for the 2012 Avengers film or if you think this one sucked - send me as many hate mails to your hearts content or murder me in the comment box.