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Ultimate Comics Avengers by Mark Millar Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here. And because it’s release day in the rest of the world, here’s a second Avengers-related review. And it’s a long one.

They say you can’t go home again. The Ultimates was easily one of the best comics of the past decade, and perhaps the comic that really got me into the medium. A clever, timely, astute and well-considered exploration of the superhero in the twenty-first century, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch undoubtedly had a massive influence on everything that followed. Of course, all this would seem to be for nothing when Jeph Loeb took over the franchise for Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum, two stories that were very poorly received and damaged the franchise quite considerably. So Millar’s return to write four six-issue miniseries of Ultimate Comics: Avengers seemed like a breath of fresh air. Critical and fan reaction to his twenty-four issue run has been somewhat muted, and there’s no denying that a lot of the magic from that origin story was lost. That said, I’ll concede to finding it an interesting, complex and occasionally compelling examination of Millar’s views on superheroes.

Not quite the ultimate Avengers comic…

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Ultimate Human – Ultimate Hulk vs. Iron Man

Well, I guess the Ultimate line is supposed to be a vehicle for redefining old Marvel stories, so it seems appropriate that the Ultimate Hulk has been getting around knocking seven kinds of crap out of various heroes. He was the first opponent Mark Millar’s superteam faced in The Ultimates, he had this themed face-off with Iron Man last year and this year he squared off with Wolverine in the infamously delayed Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine series (in a fitting echo: Wolverine originated as a Hulk opponent). The book is an obvious attempt to cash in on Marvel’s two big summer blockbusters last year: The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. Still, as cash-ins go, it’s reasonably diverting.

ultimatehulk

I quite like him when he's angry...

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Ultimate Iron Man

The first member of The Ultimates to get spun-off into his own book, the ultimate version of Iron Man is also the only one to get his own miniseries (and he even supported another miniseries, Ultimate Human, last summer and has a new one, Ultimate Armour Wars, this year). Here we have all the ingredients for a great superhero saga – Andy Kubert as artist on the first six issues and Orson Scott Card as a writer – but it just doesn’t come together quite as well as it should. Though Card posits some interesting theries behind the psychology of Marvel’s current poster-boy, he doesn’t really deliver anything of interest on the story front, and really suffers from attempting to write rebellous teenage characters and somehow feeling required to craft his observations into something resembling a cookie-cutter superhero plot.

ultimateironman

Nice Suit...

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