Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Volume 3

This third volume marks the last of the Ultimate Marvel Team-Ups, and I cannot say I’m sorry to see them go. For every reasonably good story, such as Spidey’s encounters with the woefully underused Ultimate Black Widow or the Chinese storybook account of his meeting with an ultimate (as opposed to Ultimate) fighting guy (Shang-Li, or something, who I guess was relevant in mainstream Marvel continuity at some point, that point probably falling in the 1970s?), there’s a kind of terrible story about him running into Blade (Blade, for fuck’s sake!) and Elektra and the old-people version of the Fantastic Four[1] and a particularly bitchy Daredevil, all for no apparent reason. Yet even here, there are moments of good writing, such as when he has a conversation with Johnny Storm about power and responsibility as related to stable living, or when he gives a class speech about his research into a hero. The last bit, in fact, rose above every attempt by writer and artist alike to be cloying and overwrought, and I have to give mad props to the soul of the story for managing that in the face of such strong opposition from its creators.

Which I guess is my point in a nutshell. It really has been a very rarely bad series, but I’m so used to unadulterated brilliance from the majority of the Marvel Ultimate universe that something merely okay but with moments that shine still feels like too much work. So, I’m glad it’s over because I’d continue to go looking for those moments, and now I won’t have to anymore, secure in the knowledge that I’ll have them dropped in my lap by ongoing future titles instead, where the rhythm has already been perfected. (These three books were among the earliest written in the Ultimate continuity, in case you were not previously aware.)

Oh, and I’m also glad it’s over because the art kept changing, sometimes in the middle of the same story, and as annoying as that sounds, I also almost never liked any of that art. Would stable and bad have been better or worse than fluctuating and bad? This is a question I hope never to consider again.

[1] Who have since been replaced-or-retconned in Ultimate continuity, as you will no doubt be aware from my review earlier this morning, and from the nine previous ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.