Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #1 (of 5) Review


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The original Ultimate Spider-Man team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley reunite for the battle of the decade! Nay, the battle of the century! Nay, the battle of Galactus proportions! That’s right, Galactus has entered the Ultimate Universe and he is HUNGRY! Can the combined might of the Ultimates stop him?

CATACLYSM: THE ULTIMATES’ LAST STAND; PART ONE OF FIVE
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

PLOT: Miles Morales and his buddy Ganke walk down a street in Brooklyn, and Ganke admits to not believing that Miles previously saw a giant man flying through the sky. As they chat about this, Galactus appears right in the middle of the city. As Galactus calmly walks through buildings, Ganke tells Miles it’s time to suit up. Spider-Man swings toward Galactus, not knowing what to do, when the world-eater begins his consuming process. He causes mass destruction of New York (and Jersey), and S.H.I.E.L.D. quickly responds. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying headquarters and all available jets fire at Galactus while he swats them down King Kong-style. Spider-Man focuses his efforts on saving as many civilians as he can and stopping street-level danger when the Ultimates finally arrive. Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Thor, and Captain America all hit Galactus with everything they’ve got. For a moment they seem successful, but they quickly realize that they have only made Galactus angry. He blasts them with energy, and Sue Storm does her best to protect everyone with her shields. Tony Stark has his suit scan Galactus’ energy residue, and he realizes that the world-eater is not from their universe. When the Ultimates ask Tony what Galactus wants from them, his only answer is, “I think… Everything.”
TO BE CONTINUED…

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THOUGHTS: Ohh, man! That was intense. Okay, so I’m just going to come out and say I loved this. I had a few problems, but they can’t hope to outweigh all that I loved in this issue. Just to start, my opinion is that this series will be the end of the Ultimate Universe. I think that it’s clear by this point. The universe started fresh, with new ideas and great re-imaginings, but after Ultimatum, it felt as if the creative teams all lost their ways. The Ultimate U went from the re-imagining and refreshing of the Marvel Universe to the world where “ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN”. In my opinion, that took away what was special about these comics. Now, after the second unnecessary reboot, Miles Morales’ story has been a consistent high point. Miles is a character that Brian Michael Bendis has a great grip on, and he really has hit his stride with this latest volume of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. I don’t want to see (nor do I feel the creative team will have) Miles done away with. That said, I understand why Marvel would feel that it’s time for the rest of the Ultimates to go out with a bang. And what bigger of a bang could there possibly be than a battle with your favorite world-eater in a purple hat and mine, the 616 Galactus? And what creative team could possibly end this universe than the ones who started it all, Bendis and Bagley? I’m in.
Mark Bagley is my all-time favorite Spider-Man artist. Not only do I feel that he has mastery over small-scale emotional scenes, but his action is simply enthralling and he truly gets the mechanics of Spider-Man’s body. That cover is fantastic and the art in this book is beautiful. I can’t even describe how beautifully the destruction is captured. If you haven’t read the issue, please check out the images for yourself. The colors are immersive and make both the Ultimates’ and Galactus’ blasts look incredibly powerful. The fight just looks ridiculously strong and the destruction is nearly jaw-dropping. The Ultimates aren’t quite as strong as their 616 counterparts, but they certainly get some good shots in. Thor’s lightning hit was impressive and that was some great artwork. The whole book just looked gorgeous, but as much as it pains me to nitpick Bagley art, one problem I had was Ganke. Mark Bagley has never drawn this character before, but even so, this doesn’t quite look like Ganke. In some panels he even looks like an older man. His face is just off. But other than that, I loved the heck out of it. Seeing Bagley draw the black and red Ultimate Spidey suit was a treat, and Miles couldn’t look better saving those civilians.

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While he has his hot and cold series, Brian Michael Bendis is one of my favorite writers in Marvel’s current regime, not always because of his running titles but because of his past work. If you like his work then you may share my opinion that he is a master of dialogue. He makes his characters speak in ways that are both natural and smooth, yet also entertaining. That’s why I was a little surprised with the first scene of this issue, the only real down-time we get. Miles and Ganke’s dialogue feels kind of forced and the exposition is also a little jarring. Ganke recaps how Miles’ dad hates superheroes, which is oddly unnecessary both because steady readers of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man already know this, and because there isn’t any reason to start this story out this way. One other nitpick for me was that some jokes were oddly placed. I liked how the Ultimates were immediately serious about this threat, but I don’t feel like Johnny Storm would still be chuckling around when New York has just been dealt five times the damage in Man of Steel (which as Kevin Cushing stated, “had a higher body count than freaking World War II”). But for the most part, the team had the quiet resolve you would expect when facing a threat of this magnitude. One serious question in my mind here is, WHY IS HAWKEYE HERE?! He’s cool and all but my God, the team is fighting GALACTUS! Hawkeye is a skilled archer and Sue Storm is giving him a ride on a force field disk, what is he doing here? I think Captain America just feels guilty telling people to stay behind.

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I can understand why someone would feel like this issue was light on plot, and it probably was, but that doesn’t really matter to me because this issue did an excellent job of showing Galactus catching the entire Ultimate Universe completely off-guard. I loved the contrast between the epic battle scenes between the heroes and villain, and the street-level scenes of Spider-Miles doing everything he can. Judging by the cover of the next issue, Miles will be playing a bigger role in the story and I very much look forward to that. I don’t exactly know what I want from this story. I definitely want Miles Morales to make it through this, but I don’t necessarily want him to have a permanent place in Earth-616. I’m conflicted. But what I’m not conflicted about is how awesome this issue was and how firmly in Marvel’s pocket my $3.99 for the next issue is.
PROS: Truly incredible art, exciting plot pacing and storytelling, loving this story’s direction, great contrast between Miles and the Ultimates, couldn’t possibly be more sold on the next issue.
CONS: Ganke didn’t look like Ganke, some clunky dialogue, a few misplaced jokes.
GRADE: A- This was a fantastic start to what is looking like an incredible ending to the Ultimate U. If this universe really is ending, I couldn’t think of a better or more exciting way to do it. Do you guys agree? Are you ready for the Ultimate Universe to end? Do you want me to eat my words? LEAVE ME A COMMENT! I cherish each and every one. Thanks for reading, Web-Heads. 

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