Ultimate End #4 Review

image“You’re not God. And this is me talking.”

Everybody fights for some reason as Doom does nothing! Miles cameos at the end!

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

PENCILER: Mark Bagley

INKER: Scott Hanna

COLORIST: Justin Ponsor

LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit


ASSISTANT EDITORS: Chris Robinson & Emily Shaw

EDITOR: Mark Paniccia

STORY: Everybody goes after the Tonys since they stole a Hulk. The Tonys respond in kind by launching all available Iron Man armors to stall them. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Punisher tries to assassinate Bombshell, who in turn gets rescued by Cloak and Dagger. The Punisher escapes and Ultimate Iron Man recruits the teen trio for something. At Doomstadt, Valeria questions why Doom allows the anomaly of the two Earths cohabiting Manhattan, especially as the Tonys are investigating opening a rift of their own. The heroes erupt into battle inexplicably as Miles swings into the last panel. image

THOUGHTS: What a disjointed, nonsensical mess. Before we get into what I didn’t care for, let’s offer a brief focus about what worked, namely the art. It should come as no surprise that I again have to give high marks to Bagley and Hanna. They really are the highlight of this issue. Everything looks great-from Spidey’s Spider-Sense going off, Fury’s shock, the reenactment of the Iron Man 3 finale, all of it. The only small caveat I have is that Valeria looks a little close to Gwen Stacy in certain shots. Job well done, gentlemen. While we’re at it, Justin Ponsor’s colors are as vibrant as always. image

So, Fury takes the heroes of Earths 616 and 1610 to go after the 616 Hulk who was freed last issue by the Starks. They are greeted by an impressive sight-just about every Iron Man armor you can think of. We’re talking old and clunky to All-New and I loved zooming in to admire all the variants I could identify. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I have a soft spot for the Silver Centurion and the red and yellow suit that followed the first Armor Wars. Bagley even threw in the Heroes Reborn armor!image

Everyone starts to tussle and because he’s Ultimate Captain America, 1610 Steve Rogers quickly realizes it’s all a distraction, prompting the Tonys to depower all the suits, save one. Ironically, it’s the suit Stark was wearing when the Avengers discovered the Capsicle back in Avengers #4, a relevance lost on Ultimate Steve. 616 Tony declares Ultimate Fury has no authority over himself or 616 Banner.

This whole scene is much ado about nothing. Two huge forces fight for some reason only for the Tonys to simply give up their distraction once they get found out. What are they stalling for then? It boils down to a childlike “Let’s fight cuz you’re not the boss of me” and it’s over. Does the team extract 616 Banner? Does Tony, either of them, pull a rabbit out of their hat ensuring their freedom from Fury, the dimension, or Doom himself? No. The only point I can see for this beat to exist is for the art to just look cool. image

The story transitions to Bombshell, trying to cope with an unhinged 1610 Frank Castle. He gets enveloped by Cloak and somehow fights his way out of his shadow dimension. This surprises the heroes as much as the reader. Is Doom magnifying the Punisher’s abilities from behind the scenes, or has the merging of Earths taken its toll on Cloak’s abilities? Maybe it’s just story convenience. Ultimate Iron Man, or at least the Ultimate Iron Man armor, appears after the Punisher’s escape, asking the young heroes for help. What could he have planned? image

Meanwhile, at Castle Doomstadt, Valeria tries to bring a matter to Doom’s attention, mainly that a faction of the Manhattan inhabitants are violating the direct order handed down by the Thors to them after they executed 616 Hawkeye. As Valeria briefs Doom in voiceover, we see a rift form in the team-up between Tonys as 616 wants to keep their research under the radar and 1610 wants to present their findings to Doom in order to play it safe. Doom keeps his reasons for why he created Manhattan that way to himself, but it seems as if he is making it his own petri dish. image

Where this falls apart is when the Tonys gather their sides against each other. Did their division happen with the combined heroes outside? How did they rally everyone from their world to their side? You would think that some would agree with one Stark’s perspective, and some with another, no matter what world they were from. There is no major inciting incident to cause them to fight so wantonly. Does one need to read the not-released-yet Secret Wars #5 to gain understanding? And where the hell did the Ultimate Hulk come from? His whereabouts were left a mystery last issue and we get no payoff from that. Then, Old Man Logan randomly pops up on the side. How did he get into Manhattan? We are now finally caught up to where we were at the beginning of the first issue, except we still have no answers really as to what’s going on. 

We have one issue left and I don’t feel this story has lived up to the publicity and hype that Marvel drummed up prior to its start. If you’ve followed the Ultimate Universe, especially the Spider-Man corner of it, none of it has really had any play in this series, not in terms of wrapping up the universe. Even Miles, who is on this issue’s cover, literally swings in on the last page for one panel. ONE PANEL. He doesn’t even interact with anyone. Also missing this issue is a hero interacting with their doppelganger in a one-on-one character moment. We’ve gotten Spidey/female clone, Iron Men, the Hulks, and the Punishers, but no one gets their moment this issue. The Caps could’ve had an ideological discussion prior to the fight, at least!

The art saves this from a lower grade, but from a story standpoint, this series has not met expectations, and with one issue left, we are far away from an appropriate send off. Here’s hoping Bendis can tie this all up with one issue to go!image


JAVI’S HUH?: The digital solicit reads, “Whose side are you on? Tony vs. Tony, Clint vs. Clint, Hulk vs. Hulk! The tear between domains deepens. How long can two territories occupy the same space? Here comes Miles!” Obviously, whomever wrote this didn’t pay attention that one of the Hawkeyes is dead and this issue doesn’t feature a Marvel Zombies cameo. Also, thanks for spoiling the last page and creating the anticipation that the Ultimate Universe Spider-Man would FINALLY show up, when in fact it’s only for one panel!


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(15) Comments

  1. Al

    @#14: Well first of all Bendis has done that. not that he is alone in doing that, remember House of M Spider-Man? And obviously mistakes happen. But I don't truly mean it as a criticism. It's partially to resolve an important continuity issue and partrially me seeking a way in which basically all the characters we've loved for decades didn't actually die in the most meaningless and undignified way possible and for the guys running around Battleoworld now to actually be people we can emotionally invest in since they are in fact the real deals. As in I don't know about you, but I really, really, really don't want for it to be set in stone that yes actually Ultimate Peter and Ultimate MJ, and 616 Aunt May, Jonah, MJ, Flash Thomspon etc all died when planets decided to imitate a game of marbles and collide into one another. And now what we're left with are just figments of Doom's imagination basically. Remember how no one liked how Peter was a clone in the 90s? Yeah, this is basically just like that. IF you go with the idea that yes these are in fact copies of the real characters. Which to my understanding hasn't been concretely established at all. Again, no one has actually pointed to me where it's stated clearly and undeniably that yes, everyone here on Battleworld are copies but not the originals. Well, no we don't as a matter of fact. That aspect has been unexplained in this story. The replica idea is as of this moment honestly (and I don't mean this insultingly) nothing more than a No Prize theory by fans. Wolverine appeared in far more titles than it is possible for him to show up in. Does this mean there were LMDs of him running around? No it does not. By extension if Doom is capable of virtually anything, including brainwashing everyone into thinking Batleworld has existed since forever and hasn't just been here for 8 years, why is messing with Peter's memories of Miles something which either he or Strange couldn't do? Or again, is just a mistake by Bendis? In fact now I think about it, it actually makes MORE sense that Doom would've resurrected everyone as opposed to just creating replicas of them. He's made Battleworld from the remnants of the Multiverse. How and why would he create copies of the citizens there if he can make them into anything and everything he desires? I mean...how does he even know to create a Mayday Parker who is grieving her father because of Spider-Verse? Why bother making a copy of Spider-Man UK and then having his creation be able to sense that there is something wrong with Battleworld? If the theory is that he's created Battleworld from the surviving remnants of the Multiverse then in theory what he's done is probably closer to reassembling the molecules and atoms of everyone there the way it was before, topped off with brainwashing them for their own safety. It actually is EXACTLY what he did to Kang in the very first Secret Wars. Kang was genuinly dead, he'd been vapourized. Doom with Beyonder's power reassembled him and brought him back to life. Similarly the Beyonder did something like that to the New Mutants in Secret Wars II, including making them his hench soldiers temporarily.

  2. Interpreter

    @#13: You seem to be going out of your way to say that Bendis is ignoring continuity and making things confusing even though everything is pretty much explained in the main Secret Wars books. But still, even if everyone else isn't a replica, we do know that the Spider-Man in the Ultimate End book is a duplicate, because we know that 616 Peter was in the raft, and he does know Miles, and thus does remember being in the Ultimate universe, which the Spider-Man in Ultimate End clearly does not.

  3. Al

    @#11: Yeah but no outright official canon set in stone word has claimed the people he put back together are the originals or replications. The Beyonder and Doom himself in Secret Wars I and II demonstrated they are fully capable of legitimately resurrecting people straight up and warping reality, including memories. To this end whilst Doom, Strange et al are surivors pre Battleworld that doesn't make everyone else copies necesarilly. Just ressurected people who've been brainwashed by Doom @#12: Again NOTHING has SAID everyone is a simulacrum at all. Just that Doom created Battleworld from the remnants of the Multiverse. Yes he and others remember the original Multiverse but why does that mean everyone else needs to be a copy. Like I said, if Doom is all powerful (even moreso than he was in Secret Wars I when he had the Beyonder's power, a Beyonder who was just a child) then logically resurrecting everyone from each patch of planet shouldn't be too hard. He killed and then resurrected the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Kang the Conqueror, Spider-Man AND other heroes in the very first Secret Wars literally without even meaning too. Klaw tricked him into thinking up a scenario about how the heroes might've survived and since he couldn't control himself he inadvertently caused that scenario to become reality. If he could do THAT back THEN surely now he's stronger and more in control her could bring back everyone who died in the different regions for real instead of just popping out new yet similar versions out of thin air.

  4. Jack

    @11: I don't think we need to pretend. I believe that is what actually is supposed to have happened. The only real survivors of the cosmic cataclysm were Strange, Doom, Molecule Man, and the two groups of raft refugees. Everyone else is a simulacrum.

  5. Interpreter

    @#10: We could pretend, but as was shown in Secret Wars #3, the only real characters are Doom, Doctor Strange, and the folks who were in the two arks(Peter and Miles were both on arks, so they're both the real deal). Everyone else died. And then Doom put together Battleworld from the remaining universes that existed as best he could.

  6. Al

    @#9: But if he's a recreated Miles then that means all the Secret wars characetrs in all the series really did die in the incursions and we're following a bunch of clones. I mean...what a shitty way for the REAL 616 and Ultimate characters to get axed off. Can't we just say these are the real deal with messed up memories and Bendis is just doing WTF he wants in his own bubble like he always does.

  7. Interpreter

    I agree with #6. I think that the Peter that has been in this book has been a recreated Peter who never met the Ultimate folks before. I think that the Miles that showed up at the end was the Miles off the Ark, just like I think the Peter in Edge of Spider-verse is the Peter off the Ark.

  8. Frontier

    Now I'm worried about Iron Man and Miles' new book...Bendis seems to be in a pretty bad decline writing wise, judging from how his X-Men run is going and how he ended MIles' last volume, not to mention how this is turning out.

  9. Al

    I am so lost with all this. Obviously this is going to factor into the post-secret wars stuff but it seems like a colossal mess. I fucking fear they will like have it so that Miles has 'always' been in the regular Marvel universe and everyone remembers that since everyone obviously isn't going to remember Peter is Spider-Man. Have we had any word on whether the populace of Battleworld are like duplicates Doom's created or not yet. this is the series that started that idea but we've gotten no word confirming or denying that one way or another.

  10. Javi Trujillo

    Peter didn't seem quite like he had retained those memories, tho. I got the feeling he was meeting them for the first time as far as he knew. I'm also not sure this is the same Peter that is in the Secret Wars series. It's certainly not the married one from Renew Your Vows. I thought Cap was dead, too. Maybe Doom resurrected him? Old Man Logan does have his own pocket world and based on the pic I posted in the review, I don't think it's a severely aged James Hudson. This guy is grey. Can someone remind me, what's happened to Ultimate Doom? He was unlocking all this multiverse stuff in All-New X-Men and I don't remember where we left him.

  11. Gifford

    But earlier in Ultimate End, Peter 616 goes and visits Ultimate May and Gwen; so he must have his memories (on top of him recognizing Miles in Secret Wars). Also, isn't Ultimate Cap supposed to be dead? And are we sure that's Old Man Logan? Given that it's an Ultimate story, it could be James Hudson (the new Ultimate Wolverine) just drawn a bit older. All in all, I agree with your review. The story is quite messy and it glosses over many characters and possible character and plot moments without much thought. The Ultimate Universe hasn't been at its best in the last few years (other than maybe Spiderman), but I still feel attached to that universe and I'm sad to see it go. Especially with it's last story being like this.

  12. Javi Trujillo

    "Unbeknownst to the populace or the heroes of the world, Victor Von Doom has finally conquered all of reality. He has taken control of the world and created pockets of controlled chaos that all fall under his purview. All they know is the reality Doom has created for them. But Manhattan is in a real predicament. Two different universes are existing in the same place. Heroes from two different dimensions are running around the city at the same time. Some that are very similar to each other and others that are wildly different. The heroes of both universes are trying to figure out how to undo the damage and coexist. But Doom's Royal Guard, the Thors, have assassinated Hawkeye. Spider-Man's identity is known to most of the public. And the Hulks have clashed, accidentally causing a high-security prison riot that led to the escape of the assassin of criminals known as The Punisher." I don't know why they mention Spidey's identity being made public. Four issues in and that hasn't affected the character or story in any way, unless the Punisher is going to come gunning for Ultimate May or Gwen in the last issue.

  13. Al

    What does the previously even say? And how can he not remember Spider-Men? Unless Doom is retconning his memory

  14. Javi Trujillo

    Nope. A vague hint in the "previously" and that is it. This Peter apparently has no memory of Spider-Men. The one page splash that Miles gets is his first appearance in the series.

  15. Al

    So, have we addressed the discrepancies between this and the main Secret Wars book yet? Namely how the Hell Miles and Peter play into this?

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