Review: The Ultimates 2 #1

ultimates21-coverIn Ultimates 2 #1, writer Al Ewing, artist Travel Foreman, and colorist Dan Brown depart from the petty in-fighting that dominated the book thanks to Civil War II and return the Ultimates to their initial purposes as a team of intelligent powerhouses who solve cosmic scale problems proactively. The comic starts macro with a bird’s eye view of chained Eternity and goes micro as it focuses on the tense relationships between Blue Marvel and Spectrum and Captain Marvel and Black Panther for the brunt of the book before the team reassembles in a logical, yet epic way as the double page spreads from Foreman fly.

Since the beginning of Ultimates‘, Dan Brown has been a major ingredient in the comic’s success from his depictions of the multiversity as a slightly trippy and overwhelming place that would make Jack Kirby smile  to the different energy attacks that the characters use. His colors have given the book an extra level of grandeur, and he plays an even bigger role in Ultimates 2 #1 in matching Travel Foreman stride for stride as the artist goes from sketchy and slightly cartoonish to photorealistic from panel to panel. This might make it seem that Ultimates 2 has inconsistent art, but Foreman has a purpose behind the difference in his figures. He’s like a cinematographer who uses different camera filters to shoot varied and interesting scenes. For example, he draws Captain Marvel and Black Panther with lighter lines and more cartooning when they’re pretending to be on an awkward online date to avoid suspicion as they talk about possibly reforming the Ultimates. However, Foreman goes full photorealistic and Brown puts on a hearty helping of black and silver when Black Panther responds to Captain Marvel’s claim that he would do anything for Wakanda.

It’s a visual representation of the “I Am Wakanda” moment  as well as yet another example of what is sort of becoming a signature of Travel Foreman. In Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, he used nearly photographic flashbacks of Uncle Ben, the robber, and Aunt May to show how much loss affected Spider-Man as a hero in a ultimates2interiorpivotal moment. In Ultimates 2, he uses a fierce panther behind T’challa to show how much the legacy of ancestors means to him, and how his destiny is wrapped up in his state. But he still sees the bigger picture, and Brown opens up his palette with reds and golds as Galactus reassembles the Ultimates to fight the binder of Eternity as the issue comes to its conclusion.

Along with somehow reassembling the Ultimates and setting up Ultimates 2′s premise of Eternity being bound, Ewing spends a lot of time looking into the relationship between Blue Marvel and Spectrum. His usually clinical, scientific dialogue for Blue Marvel has taken on a new romantic angle as he has really fallen for Spectrum. Also, a good way to connect with your partner is to share their interests, and Blue Marvel takes this to a new level by trying to give himself Spectrum’s cosmic perception through light waves to himself. Superpowers have been used as a metaphor for everything from racial discrimination to puberty, but Ewing is more creative and uses Blue Marvel’s attempt to replicate Spectrum’s light powers to both show how he is trying to see the world from her perspective and also share something in common. It also connects nicely to seeing Eternity in pain bridging plot and character nicely.

Ultimates 2 #1 is a slow burn start to Al Ewing and Travel Foreman’s cosmic story of redemption as former baddies Galactus and Anti-Man lead the fight against a nefarious force that threatens to destroy the multiverse, timestream, and basically everything. But even though the comic’s scope is massive (And Dan Brown’s color palette is intoxicating.), they don’t neglect the individual personalities of the Ultimates’ members and their relationships between the double page tapestries of nearly omnipotent beings in pain. (Poor Eternity!)

Story: Al Ewing Art: Travel Foreman Colors: Dan Brown
Story: 8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review