|Millar, Hitch, and a lot of pages.|
For those unfamiliar with the Ultimates, they were essentially the Ultimate Universe version of Marvel's Avengers. The book opens with Captain America's final mission at the end of WWII, before cutting to Nick Fury (who looks remarkably, and intentionally, like Samuel L. Jackson - just like in the Avengers movies) recruiting the other members of The Ultimates. It's worth noting that while this part already contains Bruce Banner bashing, it's basically the high point for Hank Pym.
The first issue ends with Cap being discovered in the ice, and the second issue follows up with Steve Rogers being introduced to the 21st Century (including a poignant reunion with Bucky who is married to Steve's former girlfriend). Granted it's another couple issues before there's any more fighting, but by that point the character's have been well enough established that they are believable, including Thor's rejection of the idea of working as a cog in the US machine and a discussion about who would play who in a movie about the Ultimates (off the casting choices given, only Sam Jackson got the gig, though my wife would tell you that Robert Downey Jr and Johnny Depp are the same person). Of course, it can't last and Bruce Banner decides it's time to try and shortcut his way through the super soldier problem, unleashing the Hulk on Manhattan, much to my delight (the idea of Hulk as essentially a horny, horny teenager with uber strength just tickles my fancy, and "Hulk want Freddie Prinze Junior!" is gold). The punishing handed to, and by, Hulk here is brutal, not least Cap's unconscious delivering kick to Banner after he's already de-Hulked.
|What does that letter stand for?|
Following the wrap up from Ultimates 1, we get an intron to Ultimates 2 from Jonathan Ross, who seems a bit pissed about just how fantastic Ultimates 1 and 2 were. I think that's fine, but really he should have just had fun reading them.
|I'm 19, dress like a tarty Viking...|
and want you to dress up as Cap. In?
For a bit of extra fun after that, we get Ultimates Annual #1 which is really about how Nick Fury is so awesome that he uses himself as bait to take out a hired assassin so good he's an actual security threat. There's not much more to it than that, and I'd be happy to skip it.
So that's a lot to read right? Sure it is, but it's a lot of quality to read. It is decompressed, but it's done well. The fights are made more meaningful because we connected with the characters first. We're also given versions of the characters that aren't just quick summations of their standard Marvel counterparts, and that's something that was lost the longer that the Ultimate Universe has run on. And while it may be a bad reason to recommend a book there are a number of must read points (such as the 8 page spread in Ultimates 2). The commentary is useful and points out a few of the easter eggs throughout the book, and the size of the Omnibus edition is just about perfect (though if some of the bonus materials like the cover gallery and the sketch and script pages weren't included it might have been a tad more manageable.
|Basically it's Where's Pietro.|
As I said at the top, it's a big price to swallow for the omnibus, and the only real reason I can give you to get that edition over any other is that it's an omnibus.
|The Ultimates 1: The Movie...|
Only Not Quite.
Well that's the larger part of this week's review, but join me again in a few hours for the second part.