Penned by Mark Millar with arts by Bryan Hitch, Ultimates Vol. 1 is the perfect comic book for those who wish to introduce someone to the world of funny books. This comic is made to resemble the closest thing possible to a movie turned into a book, with some pretty ballsy and dramatic camera angles, a twisty plot full of surprises in almost every issue and multi-dimensional characters that add plenty of intrigue and complexity to boot.
Basically this is a retelling of Captain America’s beginnings after being brought back to life in our time, as well as other important Avengers with an updated look, which is why Henry Pym, Giant-Man, is now having marital problems and abuses his wife Janet, The Wasp. Tony Stark is still the millionaire playboy who can’t operate his armor unless he’s drunk on scotch, and Bruce Banner is having severe self-esteem issues after his divorce and his inability to recreate the super soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into the legend he is. Finally, the biggest and most awesome reinvention goes to Nick Fury, who is still SHIELD’s Commander-in-Chief, but is also a cold-hearted capitalist who resembles Samuel L. Jackson.
These updated revisions are already par for the course in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, the very same where you’ll find Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and so on. This universe is different from the “normal” world we’ve always known which Marvel refers to as Universe 616, and it was created in 2000 as a way for the House of Ideas to tell new stories with slightly updated characters in an attempt to bring in new young readers.
In the long run, other Avengers will jump into the fray, such as Thor who is now a humanitarian activist holding a beef with president Bush, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Magneto’s offspring, always “saving” other people’s lives without being noticed, and Hawkeye and Black Widow, private mercenaries for hire.
The series is already in its second arc and with three years going strong it still doesn’t have a steady release schedule, adhering firmly to the “it will be out when it’s out” calendar. Still, trade paperbacks are easy to digest and not hard to find. This added to a couple of animated features called Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2 will provide plenty of action for those who can’t get enough.
You can tell this is a Mark Millar joint because these Avengers have no problem shedding blood, having sex or showing us the grimmer side of superhero life. They won’t shy away from cursing at an enemy or even stepping up to a teammate when they get out of line. It’s a very realistic take on these characters and it even takes into account events from the real world just to sink in the idea that this world is very real and much more violent than what we’re used to seeing.
Currently in its second volume, The Ultimates are getting even wilder, but for someone still on the fence on whether or not to dip their toes in caped comic books, volume 1 is the best reason to jump in head first.