Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Ultimate Reviews Part 1: Ultimate Origins

Ultimate Origins tells the origin of some of Ultimate Marvel's most popular characters. This five issue miniseries is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Butch Guice.

"It's all connected." Those words were spoken to Spider-Man by a powered down Bruce Banner in an early issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. Clues to how this is true have been scattered throughout the Ultimate imprint titles.

With Ultimate Origins, it's all revealed. Each issue deals with the origins of different characters. The confusing thing about Origins is all the time jumping. The main story involves the Fantastic Four and Carol Danvers investigating an ominous device that seems to be Watching... I mean watching them. This main story occurs right before the [[ASIN:0785129456 Ultimatum]] event. It introduces the Ultimate version of Uatu and the Watchers. This story is told throughout the series, with flashbacks about origins in-between.

Butch Guice's art is wonderful. His attention to realism in facial expressions is something that most artists in comics can't seem to match. The amount of detail poured into his work is great to. The flashbacks have a period feel to them, putting you in the year that they are taking place.

Each issue of the series details different events. The first issue reveals how Nick Fury, James Howlett, and a soldier named Fisk all served together in the World War II. The second one tells about the creation of Wolverine with the Weapon X program, how Nick Fury is connected to Project Rebirth and the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the birth of Captain America. Issue three focuses entirely on mutants, mainly how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr met and their early attempts at creating a mutant utopia. Issue four is mainly set in the 90s, and reveals the origin of the Hulk. The final issue is mainly set in the Watcher storyline, but highlights major past events such as the crippling of Xavier.

Bendis manages to weave an interesting and driving tale that kept me turning the pages until I was done. The Watcher storyline involving the Fantastic Four is okay, as it is mainly is about the prediction of the Ultimatum event that will "change humanity forever." The real treat in this series is seeing Bendis connect all these characters and events together in ways I could never have thought of. It was nice to see those dots finally connect. The fourth issue is my personal favorite. Peter Parker's parents make an appearance and it features a jaw dropping moment that had me surprised.

The characterization of everyone differs heavily than their 616 (The "main" Marvel universe) counterparts. Different in a good way that is. Nick Fury became one of my favorite characters after reading this miniseries. Fury is essentially the main character in Origins, which is good as his past has been an enigma throughout the Ultimate Marvel series.

Overall, this is a great buy for long time Ultimate fans or newcomers to the Ultimate line of titles. Nothing is revealed that will compromise enjoyment of future Ultimate series but it is a treat for fans who want to know the origins of some of their favorite characters.

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