Thursday, December 25, 2008

Third Greatest Comic Book Cover and Ultimatum

Why is it that Jeff Loeb can write such a great comic as HULK featuring the new all different RED Hulk and the totally appreciated SHE-HULK and her LADY LIBERATORS and in the same month release the totally crappy ULTIMATUM from the Marvel's Ultimate line. Now I understood that Marvel created the ULTIMATE line so that they could avoid the 30+ years of continuity that they felt was keeping new readers away from their comics (when in truth its the desire to know more about their character's histories that makes one want to dig into the vast backstories and adventures). But Magneto breaking the neck of Professor Xavier??? What was so wrong with the way things were in the regular Marvel Universe that needed to be fixed by such a radical change. Just so Captain America can be an asshole and Colossus can be gay? How ground breaking -urg!!! The only character that I think benefited from the ULTIMATE way of re-imagining comics is Ultimate Spider-Man. There was plenty of room for stories involving a young, inexperienced Peter Parker and there always was because the original concept was so strong. Many argued that the mixed up continuity from 30 years of Marvel stories cried out for a reboot but I fear that the reboot has itself gotten away from what makes Marvel comics special. I am supposed to go into reading the Ultimate Line without knowing anything that had happened to these characters before - they all have fresh histories. I can deal with a black Nick Fury - in fact I kinda like that he looks like Samuel L Jackson and is played by that actor in the Iron Man movie but if you want me to feel for a character like Magneto after the death of his children Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch then you have to give me time to get to know these characters so that their deaths are relevant and shocking. It seems like change for change sake is all the Ultimate Line is about. Bendis understands that hitting us over the head with these 'shocks' can become numbing after a time and ineffective. Maybe that is why ULITMATUM much like everything that lead up to it like ULTIMATE ORIGINS leaves me with that hollow, unsatified feeling. Even Ulitmate Fantastic Four suffers from the fact that Reed Richards is a child and that was a role that he was never meant to play. He was always the father figure of the group and to reduce him to some kind of child protegy creates a whole new relationship dynamic between him, Sue, Johnny and Ben - one that I would argue gets away from the FAMILY dynamic that makes the Fantastic Four special. So I will continue to read the ULITMATE line because it free to do so but I remain unimpressed and underwhelmed.

No comments: