REVIEW: The Ultimates #3

Story By: Al Ewing
Art By: Kenneth Rocafort
Colors By: Dan Brown
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino

There is nothing like discovering a new comic that you like. It’s akin to the feeling you used to get at Christmas, just before you tore into that present you know you’d been waiting for. This new team and take on the Ultimates is a lot like that. I can’t say that I’m familiar with Al Ewing’s work, but after reading such a solid take on a book I had long given up on, that will be changing
toot sweet. Ewing handles a team book the way that you pray a writer will. Each character comes off with personality and depth. The interplay between the cast keeps the book moving along and with a cast of oddballs and cast-offs (Remember Alpha Flight’s Puck? He’s here…and he works!) the story never lags.

I’m not going to get mired down in the social debate of race, but kudos to Marvel and the creative team for having a team book not only feature three black characters on the same team, but also featuring a squad that has more women than men. While it would be easy to blow the P.C. police whistle on this the book, it never suffers from having to stop and address any one character’s race or gender. The characters make sense in the plot and it works. Nice to see for a change.

Kenneth Rocafort has been a personal favorite of mine for years now and I’m glad to see him working his magic in the Marvel universe. He does his usual stunning panel work and facial expressions, but seeing his work on this title seems to “pop” even more, as I found I wasn’t distracted by “popular” characters. This cast of second and third tier heroes is the secret strength to this book. There are no hidden expectations to compare this team to the book’s namesake from Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch; that’s like comparing apples to Apple computers.

The story centers around the rebirth of Galactus, who has gone from world-eater to life-giving force of the universe. To investigate this and the broken space/time problem in the Marvel universe the team piles into a suped up Quin-jet and heads into the Neutral Zone. (Like the Negative Zone but without the bad vibes) This cosmic road trip reminds me of when the Fantastic Four used to be a book that was this exciting and well written.

The cliffhanger is best left unspoiled, but doesn’t it ruin your day when your spouse’s murderer is in the last place you expect to run into them? Like in the Neutral Zone…when you think that you have killed them? Man! I hate when that happens. This is a title that should be on the pull list of anyone that remember’s what great team books are supposed to read like, old FF fans, and for anyone that likes amazing art and a solid story. High praise for a new title that I’ll have to start picking up on the regular.

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