Writer: Michel Fiffe
Artists: Amilcar Pinna
Color Artist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Production Designer: Idette Winecoor
Cover Artist: David Nakayama
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Plot: The All-New Ultimates (minus Kitty) must face the fallout from their skirmish with Diomandback’s gang of Serpent Skulls.
Thoughts: The art in this issue really improved. Although it could be that the story is now at a point where the art has started to work with it instead of against it. In this issue the All-New Ultimates are dealing with the consequences from their brawl with the Serpent Skulls and as a result Black Widow and Cloak are experiencing psychotic visions. Pinna’s art style is perfect for that.
I think I mentioned in the last review that I found the psychedelic art distracting, but here as Jessica deteriorates the art is able to show the reader exactly how she feels. Her vision and hearing have been effected by her attacker’s poison, and it is truly scary. I can see now why this artist was chosen for the arc, his style captures what it may feel like on a bad trip or how bizarre it must be to travel through Cloak. The action sequence at the front of the issue also felt like it had more momentum, particularly when Spider-Man threw Diomandback into her ‘goons’, only to have them throw her back at him. However some of the character designs, particularly Bombshell and Black Widow, still feel wrong to me. They are not in line with how these characters have looked in Ultimate Comics previously. Bombshell looks too old, and Black Widow’s costume is in the wrong decade.
I also found the plot to be more developed than last the last issue. One of the reasons I was initially interested in the series, was that it was an opportunity to tell stories about fledgling superheroes being out of their depths, and that was really explored this issue. Once the group meet on the roof, following the battle, they fall to infighting very quickly. They gang up on each other, and the Spider-Duo are clearly keeping secrets from the rest. I really enjoyed this dynamic, as it shows that these five characters all have their own motivations and are not just their to make up the numbers. Miles and Jessica have a bond of trust, and I like that Bombshell feels left out as a result. This helps to develop the characters. I am still a little disappointed that Bendis’ work on Bombshell has been undone to some extent, and she is now more like her old self, but I assume this is to allow her to have an arc within the series. Under Bendis she was already well on her way to redemption, Fiffe has moved this back a little to enable him to tell the story his way.
I am beginning to see what Fiffe is building regarding the Ultimates, and am interested to watch that grow, however there are a lot of other characters in this book, and even though they all receive introductions, it is hard to keep up with them all. 11 other characters are given title cards, but they tell you little other than their name and affiliation. I suspect that many of them are just back ground characters (one of them was dead before the issue started), and I would rather Fiffe show me why these characters are important than just name what are essentially extras. I do like that the story centres on a gang war as it is ambitious with many different factions, but feel it needed more room to grow these characters organically. It may have benefited from being a b-plot for a few months to build an atmosphere. There are multiple gangs and the police, and at present none are really fleshed out. I do like the inclusion of what I am assuming is one of the Chameleon twins, who seems to be a rogue element in all of this. The inter-cutting of this character’s scenes with the others was a very effective story telling technique. It built tension and drew me in.
Miles Per Issue: While I do think this series could become something I enjoy, if it wasn’t for Spider-Man I probably wouldn’t have read past issue #1, so I thought I should take a moment to review Miles contribution so far. Like much of this issue, it was an improvement over the last. Previously Miles place felt hollow, here however he seemed to really earn his spot in the book. Black Widow is the leader, but he is her advisor. During the meeting she looks to him for his opinion, as I mentioned above, showing how much they have come to trust each other in such a short time.
Miles is also in character throughout, watching out for the police and trying to call a time-out until the injured parties can be cared for. My only negative would be the errors between this book and Miles own series. In this issue Miles and Ganke are staying in Miles’ apartment, while in his own book Miles has to sneak into his apartment and is living with Ganke. It’s minor, but annoying. I can’t imagine anyone is just reading this and not Miles’ series as well.
Grade – C: Overall a step in the right direction. I feel I have a better understanding of the plot, who some of the players are and am looking forward to how it develops. Miles feels as though he has a role in the team, rather than just being a sales bump. The art is starting to tie into the story and helping to sell certain aspects of the story. I am hopeful this series will continue to grow.