Ultimate Power

I have thought about mentioning for a few books now as it kept getting coming up (but then ultimately never did so) that things have changed within S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization that is mostly concerned with terrorism, superheroes and supervillains, and the management thereof. Good old Nick Fury, one-eyed ass-kicker extraordinaire, based on Samuel L. Jackson for the appropriate level of badassery right out the gate, has gone missing and is no longer in charge of the Ultimates or much of anything else. And people keep talking about how weird it is that he’s missing and wondering if he’ll ever come back. I had been expecting something along the lines of Ultimate Power to come along and explain this to me, and not only was I right, but it turns out I should have actually opened it earlier in my readthrough; who knew it came out in a hardback version first? (Must definitely re-order these books correctly, once I finally have the missing X-Men volumes back.)

Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four is working on a promise to change his friend the Thing back to human form, because being a giant rock creature is just not very pleasant for some people, even when they’re stronger than just about everyone and practically indestructible. As part of that project, he sends a handful of probes into several parallel dimensions[1] in search of scientists willing to assist him, against Nick Fury’s explicit orders. Naturally, moments later[2], angry superheros from one of these other dimensions[3] appear to arrest Reed, because his probe nearly destroyed their planet. Being a stand-up guy, he agrees to be arrested and tried; being a master tactician with Marine sensibilities, Fury immediately mounts a rescue operation including pretty much every good character in the Marvel universe. And then, you know, things explode or generally go down in strange ways.

The story was pretty okay if you can get past only being able to follow the two-thirds of it that involved Ultimate characters. But it had massive continuity problems. Because, all the people wondering where Nick Fury has gotten to, in other books? They were in this book to see. Also, there’s a completely inexplicable appearance by a character who, last I knew of, should not have been available for this particular event. But writers sometimes do things because they’ll look cool without worrying about whether it makes much sense. And this did look cool.

[1] Not unlike the N-Zone that he was running teleportation tests through when he accidentally created his group’s superpowers in the first place.
[2] Probably, it took longer? Comics as a medium can fail to properly express the passage of time.
[3] I took a little while to catch up here, as none of these characters was familiar. Apparently, they are meant to be a crossover from a different current Marvel series about the Supreme universe, in which all the heroes are ripped off from DC. It is not clear to me why this would be compelling, but there you go.

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