Bendis kills a character he’s already killed! The Tonys have it out! Spidey snacks! And the Hulks re-enact this issue’s cover!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Production Design: Manny Mederos
Assistant Editors: Chris Robinson & Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Variant Cover: Chip Zdarsky
STORY: The Thors come down and demand on behalf of Doom that everyone leave the dimensional rift alone. Hawkeye mouths off and gets executed for it. The two Tonys put aside their differences (or similarities) and start to work together. 616 Peter meets with Ultimate Aunt May and Gwen. Ultimate Hulk gets knocked into The Raft by a Hulk, allowing the Ultimate Punisher to escape as the heroes from both worlds race to contain the battle.
THOUGHTS: It should come as no surprise that I loved Bagley’s art in this issue! It’s top notch and I find his pencils nostalgic, modern, and comforting all at once. So, how does Bendis fare with the writing?
For starters, I felt much less confused this issue. Part of this is that the story definitely feels more established and clear than in the prior installment. I also have to give a shout out to poster Annoymouse, who pointed out in the comments for my review that the Ultimate characters’ dialogue is printed in lower case, whilst the 616 have theirs in upper case. A handy fact!
Seeing the Thor variations rendered by Bagley was a treat. I’m not surprised there is a Groot Thor given the character’s current rise in popularity. It’s also nice to see Beta Ray Bill and the frog version of Thor. I’ve got to admit that I’m not really a Thor fan outside of the MCU, but I still enjoyed seeing the different takes.
However, their appearance may cause a certain group of fans strife, as the Thors are the instrument of Bendis once again killing Hawkeye, the 616 version. Personally, I’ve always been more of a Green Arrow fan over at the Distinguished Competition, so it didn’t really bother me. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Bendis enjoyed poking the metaphorical bear with this one. Bagley does great depicting the shock in the faces of Scarlet Witch and Iron Man.
My favorite part of the issue was easily the Stark scene. There were a lot of great character beats that Bendis laid in, from Ultimate stating 616 clearly liked his Hawkeye more, Ultimate keeping his notes analog, and Ultimate offering 616 a drink and the resolution that brought about.
Ultimate Tony also quietly slips out that both Tonys know Doom has wiped the world away and started anew. Whether he is referring to the climax of Secret Wars #1, or untold events of Doom trying to start over a few times that we have yet to see, is unclear. It could all just be the supposition of a Futurist. Regardless of Hawkeye’s fate, they are going to meddle, acknowledging that there is some other thing they haven’t thought of yet. The scene ends playfully with them forming their own mutual admiration society.
In contrast, the 616 Peter/Ultimate May and Gwen meeting was a bit of a let down to me. It doesn’t outright acknowledge Spider-Men or the fact that Ultimate Peter was resurrected in the last of Miles’ series. I would think 616 Peter would be happy to see Ultimate Gwen and May again after the way things were left in Spider-Men. May does mention that they’ve had closure regarding the death of her Peter, but doesn’t let slip that he showed up alive and drove off into the sunset with his own MJ. You’d think they’d mention something like that and I’d love to see the Peters compare notes.
Bendis shows us that the Ultimate Punisher is still in top shape in prison as he takes out a fellow inmate who was heckling him prior to the Hulks’ interruption. Bagley treats us to a wonderful splash page of the Ultimate Hulk striking fear into the convicts. The prison erupts into chaos and The Triskelion quickly gets alerted to the situation. Bendis has Fury set up beautifully what we’re about to see next.
All too often with Ultimate covers the contents don’t mach the exteriors. That is not the case this issue! Bagley unleashes the carnage as Ultimate Hulk gets embroiled with another Hulk, but which one? It’s of the jolly green giant variety, but he speaks no words and has neither the hairstyle or facial hair of the one seen at the start of this chapter. Whoever he is, the heroes from both Earths race over the fleeing Punisher’s head to stop him. It’s a great final panel that also would’ve worked as a splash page for a little more detail.
Even though there were still some questions as to what the prior status quo was for some people, I enjoyed this issue a lot more that the first. There’s still more I’d like to see in this series and I hope we take some more steps toward it next time.
MY GRADE: B
JAVI’S HUH?: Hey, Futurist Ultimate Tony! Maybe you should look before you drop your flask onto the unsuspecting citizenry below!
This variant cover has “HUH?” written all over it…