Did I mention I bought a stack of these? I mean, I know I’m still far behind, but seriously, a stack. And despite being so good, they read easy. So, y’know, probably expect more, is what I’m getting at. The Ultimates is the least transparent title in this new Marvel Universe, so I will specify that it’s a retelling of the Avengers storyline. As the first volume, Super-Human, is an origin story, this means that through various and occasionally familiar twists of fate, Iron Man, Captain American, Giant Man and the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk will be brought together for the first time and form a team of (not so whimsically as in the original telling, from what I can predict so far) ever-changing heroes tasked with defending America and the planet from the self-acknowledgedly sporadic threat that super-villains pose in the modern age of Bush, terrorism, and of course mutants. (I mean, it’s still a comic book world.)
The thing is, though, wow was this awesome. Broken and unhealthy relationships litter the landscape, the Norse god of thunder is doubling as a hippie who leads demonstration marches against the World Trade Committee, and Tony Stark… well, okay, he’s pretty much the same as in every other medium I’ve seen, but since that translates to a distilled essence of debonair awesomeness, I can dig it. Also I’m pretty sure that, reading between the lines, his butler is gay. Sure, there was eventually a climactic battle in which they came together against a terrifying threat, but it was almost an afterthought, I guess because the story of the characters was holding its writer as enthralled as it held me. Ultimate Fantastic Four that I read yesterday was cool, but still quite kiddish. The Ultimates, however (if the trend holds), is very adult-oriented in all kinds of good ways. I’m going to have to work at holding off on skipping straight to the second volume, thanks to a pulse-stopping cliffhanger.