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

image“Slapping Galactus is not the plan”.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mark Bagley

Inker: Andrew Hennessy

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Cover Artist: Mark Bagley with John Dell and Jesus Aburtov

Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw

Editor: Mark Paniccia

Plot: The fate of the world rests in the hands Kitty Pryde and evil Reed Richards. This is their last chance to survive.

Thoughts:There is a lot in this issue I really enjoyed. My favourite moment comes towards the end, but if it’s okay with you I’m going to delay the pleasure and touch on that a little later.

In this issue we learn more about the Ultimates plan to save the universe. What I liked about last issue was the simplicity of the solution, and the guys on the podcast seemed to be in agreement. Using Kitty’s well established powers to destroy Galactus’s machine was a stroke of genius by Bendis. Here we learn Reed and Tony had a little something extra planned as well. Kitty was the distraction, the “suicide play”. The real plan was to send Galactus into the Negative Zone while his attention was elsewhere. 


With all the convoluted strategies I’ve read over the years I was so happy with how straightforward this solution is. You don’t have to over think it and it builds on what we already know rather than being created just for this story. Kitty’s ability, and Reed’s technology are well established elements so while Galactus’s is too busy trying to destroy Kitty, Reed and Tony open a portal behind him. It all comes together perfectly.

To get Kitty ready for her mission Reed reminds Kitty of what she’s fighting for. There were parts of this speech I liked and parts that felt a little cliche (“think about the children”, for example). The emotion behind it though flows with what we have already seen. Following from his trip to the main Marvel Universe, Evil Reed has become a little less evil. He is desperate to save the world, and he needs Kitty to sacrifice herself for that to happen. Asking her to think about the people she’s loved, and the people who have already died to save this world puts Kitty in the right frame of mind to attempt her mission. Bagley’s two page spread captures the highlights of the Ultimate Universe, and Peter Parker takes a prominent role on the page. This makes sense on multiple levels. Bagley launched the Ultimate Universe with Spider-Man, and Kitty’s relationship with him has been a huge part of the overall narrative. Reeds speech could be read as over the top, but I think it was more manipulative. Reed wants a chance at redemption, so he needs Kitty to make this sacrifice.


My favourite part of the issue comes just after the portal has opened. Kitty has made her sacrifice and is accompanying Galactus into the Negative Zone. Miles and Sue refuse to let Kitty die, and head towards the portal to save her. As they do Thor returns to the battle (and he’s “Asgardian pissed”). While Miles and Sue save Kitty, Thor delivers the blow that pushes Galactus out of the Ultimate Universe. This series has given each corner of the Ultimate Universe a chance in the spotlight, but here in the final pages; Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Ultimates all work together to save the world. They founded this new universe, and they aren’t letting it go down just yet.

The art in this issue is really strong. The image of Galactus being dragged into the portal, pardon the pun, really pulled me in. The image itself is masterful rendered by Bagley and the colors by Jason Keith really bring the intensity of the portal to life. I think Bagley’s only weakness is Miles without a mask. His Spider-Man illustrations are amazing, but his Miles just doesn’t look right to me. It’s a nitpick, I’ve just become accustomed to Miles being drawn by Marquez and Pichelli, whose styles greatly differ from Bagley. Apart from that, which I admit is a personal bias, Bagley is on top form with his story telling, I can feel the movement in the panels as Sue, Miles and Thor rush to aid Kitty.

Grade – B: A strong finale to the mini series. Bendis and Bagley recaptured the feeling that made the Ultimate line so interesting when it first started. They have told an exciting and tense story, but focused on the characters. I like action, but without engaging characters they mean nothing. I think people were so convinced the this line going to end because the story really did capture the feeling that this was the end of the world, which makes the hopefully ending even more worth while.

– Adam

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(4) Comments

  1. ryan3178

    You know that the "Think of the Children" is the cliche that needed to be thrown in. However, the conclusion does flow very nicely at the end but I do feel this was an issue too long. However, I'm excited for Miles's new book and the All-New Ultimates (New Warriors).

  2. Adam T

    That's the exact thought I had when I read it. Honestly most of the speech is really strong. It's purpose is to get Kitty to sacrifice herself, and it is a convincing speech, until Evil Reed quotes the Simpsons. He's able to pull it back, but it's like placing it in the middle of Aragorn's speech from the return of the King."Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you *stand, Men of the West!*

  3. hornacek

    When you described Reed's speech to Kitty it made me think of Mrs. Lovejoy saying "Won't somebody please think of the children!"

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