Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #3 Review
- Published on Friday, 15 April 2011 04:36
- Written by Kevin
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Like Ultimatum and Siege before it, Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates has not lived up to its supposed “11 year build-up” Mark Millar and Brian Bendis have said this “event” to be. No, instead this new mini-series just reads like another volume to Millar’s Ultimate Avengers, which after a great first volume, has failed to deliver. But, with that said, because I have been reading Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates since issue #1 I want to see this through till the end. Let’s see if Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #3 improves on this mediocre event.
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Leinil Yu and Stephen Segovia
Inkers: Gerry Alanguilan, Jason Paz and Jeff Huet
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After everything that has gone on Thor and Tony each try to get some R&R in their own way. Thor by going to bed with Jane Foster (guess Thor got rid of Valkyrie) and Tony by having a model dress up like a nurse (Ultimate Night Nurse?).
At Stark International, Carol Danvers and Tony’s brother use all of their resources to continue their search for Nick Fury. After getting intel on what agents in other countries have gathered Nick actually appears right behind them. Carol tries to shoot Nick but he has an invisible wall in front of him in the form of War Machine.
Right as War Machine is about to use his weapons Iron Man appears to block them. Iron Man and War Machine start fighting across New York.
Using this opportunity, Blade appears and he and Nick take out all of the SHIELD agents. Blade knocks out Carol and takes her outside where Hawkeye is waiting for them in his car. As they drive off into the city they are stopped by Giant Man (not Hank Pym sadly) and Wasp.
At the same time, Nick tries to escape underground but before he can Captain America appears and beats him to the ground. With all of the Ultimates busy fighting the Avengers in different parts of the city it is just Captain America and Nick on the bridge or so they think. A shot of the top of the bridge reveals Punisher is ready with a sniper rifle to take down Captain America.
Just as Punisher takes his shot Spider-Man appears on the scene and is able to get save Captain America but not himself. He is shot right through the stomach much to the surprise of Captain America, Nick Fury and Punisher. End of issue.
The Good: Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #3 was actually an enjoyable read. This issue was an improvement over the last issue. After two issues of set-up, Mark Millar finally ramps up the story with this fast paced issue. At the same time this issue continues to suffer from the same problems that have playged this title since Millar returned to the Ultimate Universe.
First, as a writer, Millar has always had a blockbuster movie mind set. It is both his biggest strength and biggest weakness as writer. From his work on Ultimates and Civil War he has shown the capabilities of writing a fun blockbuster comic book. And in this issue Millar does a good job channeling the old Millar in order to make sure this issue moves at a fast and enjoyable pace.
The fight sequences that were spread out in the final two-thirds of this issue between the Ultimates and Avengers were well choreographed. Each character is given the right role in all of the action sequences that it makes the whole issue flow together nicely. A fight like War Machine vs. Iron Man was something the reader wants to see and Millar delivers that.
Now, even though the final sequence will be the big star of this issue what also helped this issue be much better than the previous two is how well Millar wrote most of the characters. As someone who is the father of the Ultimate Universe, specifically the Ultimates, he knows these characters better than anyone. The big showcase of this is how he portrayed Nick Fury, Iron Man and Captain America.
The opening scene with Tony having a model dress up as a nurse is just like Tony. The scene does a great job showing Tony as the playboy billionaire and someone who is dealing with some depressing thoughts that he does not want to say out loud.
As always, Millar does a great job writing Ultimate Captain America as the ultimate badass who does not take anyone’s crap. Ultimate Cap is a character that once he sets his mind on something you cannot stop him. With so many characters now looking at things in shades of grey, it is awesome having some like Ultimate Cap that only sees things in black and white and will not change for anyone. We just do not have many characters like this anymore.
Then there is Nick Fury. Since writing Ultimates, Millar has always shown this version of Nick as someone who is always in control. Whether he has the power of SHIELD behind him or not, Fury is someone that always has something up his sleeve. This issue showed this aspect of the character well as he had almost complete control of the situation, until Captain America showed up.
Now I am sure that the final pages will be something that will have fans split on how good or bad it was. The truth is that you should read Ultimate Spider-Man #157 before this issue. With USM #157 you can get the context to why Spider-Man shows up. Since I did read the Ultimate Spider-Man issue before reading this issue I actually found this ending as a cool hook ending. Seeing Cap and Nick’s reaction to Spider-Man saving Cap and being the one to be shot should lead to an interesting next issue in both series.
The Bad: With Millar's heavily reliance on writing his comics as if they were a big summer blockbuster movie he has forgotten one important element with this mini-series: who should the reader root for. Three issues in and we have no idea who the heros or villains are. Sure, this might be Millar’s idea from the start to keep things ambiguous. But, by doing this he makes all the characters look unlikable jackasses. With no context on whom the actual hero or villain is all the characters unlikable characteristics are much more noticeable.
Unfortunately, because of this it also makes the first third of the issue feel like a recap of the last issue, save the Punisher scene from the last issue. Because of this it makes it look like Millar is stretching the story out to be the mandatory six issues all events have to be. This issue could have easily been combined with the last issue which would have been better for both issues because it would have told a much tighter story. With another three issues left in this event the story does feel like it has already reached its end with no more than two issues worth of content left, including the aftermath part of the story.
Now, even though Millar finally delivered on the title of this event being called “Death of Spider-Man” the whole handling of introducing Spider-Man story is amateurish. The worst thing a comic book writer can do when writing a big event mini-series is assume they are reading all the tie-ins. No writer should force the reader to have to read tie-in issues of another series in order to give the reader the full story. If the writer is unable to tell a full story in six issues that he or she is given than there is a major hole in the story.
And for Millar that big hole is that before the final page the reader there was no set up to Spider-Man’s appearance. The whole appearance by Spider-Man was random and Millar could have easily plugged in any other character to in Spider-Man’s role and it would not have read any differently. If it was Ultimate Moon Knight in the role the character reactions would have been the exact same. With zero set up to Spider-Man’s involvement in the story so the reader has very little to care when it comes to him being shot.
This is probably the weakest art that Leinil Yu has done since his run on New Avengers. The art is just all over the place as there is a huge lack of consistency. The consistency problem is made even worse with the inking and coloring of the issue. The inking and coloring team made all the characters look lifeless which all falls back to how stiff Yu’s pencils are in this issue, even with Stephen Segovia help.
Overall: Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #3 was an improvement over the last issue’s weak showing. The story was not without its faults, which were big, but by the time I got to the end of the issue I actually found that I enjoyed the issue for the mindless action comic it was. Even though I am mixed on the ending with Spider-Man’s involvement, I am looking forward were Millar and Bendis will take the cliffhanger ending in their respective titles.