Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Volume 2

After being underwhelmed by the first Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, I was looking forward to getting through the remaining volumes quickly so that I could move on to some of the side storylines I’ve been seeing in the future that look pretty awesome, and the moreso because apparently there’s some kind of big Ultimate Universe event coming up, and I can’t be more than halfway through the accumulated catalog yet. To my surprise, though, the second volume of the series’ rather short run was thoroughly enjoyable.

The stories are all short and fluffily irrelevant to solid continuity in a way that the other runs and one-shot storylines are not. But they are far more strongly written than last time, including another visit from the X-Men[1] to explain human-mutant relations that clearly predates the UXM series’ start, and a ridiculously non-canonical visit with the Fantastic Four that was over the top hilarious. It also included the origin of Dr. Strange via a direct rip-off of the first Spider-Man/Strange crossover story back in the ’60s. The best moment, Logan/Peter notwithstanding, was the Lizard-Man origin issue. Curt Connor’s tragic scientific success is one of the best “villain” arcs I’ve seen out of Marvel in either universe, even if there’s an underlying message about the consequences of meddling with nature that I’m not so happy about.

The art varied between perfect, wonkily appropriate, and just plain wonky. Really, the only thing I was unhappy with was that three issues were outright skipped between the first and second book, resulting in my need to either scour comic stores for the missing issues directly, or to rebuy the Ultimate Marvel Team-Up run in a single volume. Both ideas are pretty solidly meh, at the moment. But I’m sure I’ll do one of them, eventually.

[1] Plus, yay, more Logan/Peter interaction. Still easily the best Ultimate crossover relationship, though the Nick Fury/Peter and /Professor X interactions are quite interesting. It’s just, Fury is so damn unlikeable most of the time.

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