Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ultimates 3 #3

Previously in Ultimates 3: Hawkeye fought Spider-Man in Central Park for seven pages and then stopped, Hank Pym is unconscious at Ultimates Mansion having consumed an unknown quantity of unknown pills, Quicksilver brought his murdered sister Scarlet Witch’s body back to base, Magneto and his mutant terrorist organization The Brotherhood attacked in order to recover the body of his daughter Scarlet Witch, Sabretooth told Captain America to suck it, Wasp begins to think all of the team’s recent misfortunes might be connected, Quicksilver evacuates the Brotherhood at super-speed and absconds with his sister’s body, and then Wolverine shows up and threatens everybody for no reason. (You can read the 2,000-word version here).


Welcome to Ultimates 3 #3! This issue has my favorite cover so far: Naked Wolverine having the bottom half of his body chomped by a Tyrannosaur. I wouldn’t mind having a huge version of that in a really nice frame over my mantle. The variant cover is by Frank Cho, and it makes Scarlet Witch’s costume look extremely uncomfortable. My nipples and nether region hurt just looking at it. (What, too much information?)

According to the confounding dateline captions, this issue opens at the Tony Stark’s mansion, which is still located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and it takes place “last night.” You’ll recall the second issue ended “two seconds ago.” I think the narrative is actually traveling back n time…? Perhaps that’s why there’s a dinosaur on the cover? I guess we’ll find out soon.

So, the previous issue ended with Wolverine popping his claws with a SNIKT and telling the Ultimates they have a bigger problem. It turns out he was threatening them with violence after all, he was just saying hello.

Here he scowls and raises his claws, summarizing the events of the last two issues.

“And before her body is even cold, The Brotherhood-- led by Magneto himself--conveniently shows up here, hands you your collective asses and makes off with the evidence… And none of you want to ask why?”

Er, I know this is nitpicking, but they all have their own individual asses. A collective ass would surely be singular, right? A bigger concern is that everything that Wolverine described happening, from the shooting through Magneto’s attack, happened in within fifteen minutes. News travels fast I guess; fast enough for Magneto and the Brotherhood to have heard about it and arrived to attack, and for Wolverine to have heard about it and dropped by. Maybe they were all in the neighborhood.

(Is it worth noting that Joe Madureira seems to be drawing Marvel Universe Wolverine, rather than Ultimate Universe Wolverine? The Ultimate version had long, more human hair than the weird mane/hair helmet of the original, and had a stupid little soul patch. Maybe later artists on Ultimate X-Men started drawing Ultimate Wolvie more like Original Recipe Wolvie, but there will be some scenes set around the time of the first few issues of Ultimate X-Men later in which Wolverine is sans soul-patch and looks like the stocky little monster troll of the Marvel Universe, instead of the younger, sexier Ultimate version.)

Wolvie says Pietro/Quicksilver called his father Magneto, but Hawkeye disagrees:
Wow, that’s pretty mean, Wolverine.

How does Hawkeye react to Wolverine flippantly bringing up the murder of his family?

By shooting Wolverine five times in a two-page spread, shouting, “That is, mutie, you wanna go, let’s go!”

Wolverine doesn’t like being called “mutie,” as that is apparently a very bad slur to call a mutant, maybe the mutant equivalent of the K-word for Jewish folks or the N-word for black folks?

His eyes turn red, and he shouts “ ‘MUTIE’!?! Oh, I’m gonna DIG this, Barton,” while cutting off half of Hawkeye’s stupid mask.

He retracts his claws when Hawkeye says “I’m better off dead anyway.”

This brings me to one of the parts of the series I genuinely thought was kind of cool, along with the KARAKKAKATHOOM sound effect for Thor in the first issue, and the fact that artist Madureira actually drew Sabretooth with outsized teeth on the cover of the second issue, thus justifying his name…a little (I never understood why Sabretooth was called Sabretooth, since he just had slightly pointy teeth and fought with his fingernails anyway).
So look, neat swearing!

Yeah, it’s still that childish “I’d like to say ‘fuck,’ but since this comic actually kinda sorta for kids even though we say comics aren’t for kids and its full of incest and violence anyway, we have to use four symbols to stand in for the F, the U, the C and the K, even though anyone who’s ever heard a swear word before can deduce from the context that we mean ‘fuck” stuff, these are at least some creative symbols. Kinda like Bettle Bailey swearing, when Whover Draws That Series Know draws little storm clouds and skulls into Sarge’s swearing. Here, the F-word contains a tornado, a radioactive symbol and a skull and cross bones. That’s kinda neat.

Thor doesn’t think so though. He’s had “ENOUGH!” of this shit, and will brook no further fighting amongst the Ultimates.

Wolverine huffs and puffs a bit more about “Pietro and Wanda Lensherr” (shit, I thought there last name was Maximoff? Maybe it’s different in the Ultimate Universe?). When Wasp is all like, “Er, not that we aren’t glad you’re here to help boost sales, why do you give a shit?”

Wolverine explains that, “We’re not talking about just any girl here. We’re talking about Magneto’s daughter. And she could’ve been mine.”

What’s that? Perhaps a Wolverine-narrated flashback will help explain!

It’s “after the war”—I’m guessing the Gulf War—and he’s wandering through the Balkan Mountains in the harsh winter, looking for Wundagore, which means something if you’re familiar with the Marvel Universe (Has Wundagore appeared in any Ultimate books?). He collapses—healing factor on the fritz?—and is found by Magda, Wanda and Pietro’s mother.

See, Wolverine was looking for the Witch of Wundagore, hoping she could help him end his immortal life. Instead, he finds himself naked in her bed, with her standing naked in front of the fire. And then they totally do it. In silhouette, of course, because remember, this is for teenage boys, because what other audience wants to read about Wolverine fucking Scarlet Witch’s mom, but also can’t be permitted to see actual nudity?

(There’s a close-up scan. I didn’t scan it myself, but just found it when google image-ing to see if I could find a scan of the two-page spreads. It’s from a review of this very issue by James Hunt, which you can find here. It’s well worth a read, as Hunt seems to have noticed a whole bunch of little continuity glitches I didn’t, like the number of Hawkeye’s dead children, and the state of Wolverine’s memory during the flashbacks. The Ultimate Universe was only about seven years old at the point this book was published; there really wasn’t much continuity for Loeb and his four editors to have to get right).

That’s when Eric Lensherr, who would one day be Magneto, walks in and finds his wife/girlfriend/lover/whatever in bed with a naked Wolverine. Magneto powers up and then throws a big cauldron at Wolverine, throwing him naked down the mountain.

“I’d been cast down out of heaven…” he says, “…Only to learn that I could not find Wundagore ever again.”

Flash forward to The Savage Land, when Wolverine was working for Magneto (as seen in the first arc of Mark Millar’s Ultimate X-Men). Wolvie recognizes Scarlet Witch as Magda’s daughter.

Magneto orders Wolverine to track Wanda and Pietro when they go exploring in the jungle, and kill Pietro.

Pietro clasps his sister’s hand and tells her she looks more like their mother every day (Ew), and Wolverine says he “wasn’t sure what would’ve happened if I hadn’t…interrupted.” (Ew). He sticks his claws in Pietro’s chest (although he narrates that he wasn’t trying to actually kill him, just spook him enough to get him to leave his father), but then TWO-PAGE SPLASH!
Wanda glows pink and the background fills with glowing eyed dinosaurs. Apparently, it was Wanda who filled the Savage Land with dinosaurs, as she was able to bend time in space and rearrange reality; Magneto simply took credit for it. A T-Rex chases Wolverine away.

Once they think they’re alone, well, I guess they start doing it, and Wolverine watches…
So yeah, ew.

Wasp splits up the team, sending half after Magneto in the Savage Land, and keeping the rest with her. Thor, Valkyrie, Wolverine and The Black Panther are the Savage Land team, and when Wasp sees BP, she asks where he’s been and where Captain America is. He doesn’t answer, and Wolverine takes one look at the Panther and asks incredulously if “that’s the Black Panther.” Oh my God, have you figured out his secret yet?

If not, a few pages later, Wolverine let’s the Panther know he knows his identity and he can’t figure out why he’s doing what he’s doing.

Back in New York, Iron Man tells The Wasp he examined the crime scene and discovered that the bullet used to kill Scarlet Witch was a D.N.A.-specific one and was manufactured by Stark Industries. And then he removes his faceplate to reveal…a robot face underneath? And then he hits Wasp with a bolt of electricity!

The Ultimates’ transport lands safely in the Savage Land—hey, I thought people always crash-landed when they visited the Savage Land?—and meet Wolverine’s contacts there, who get introduced in a last-page splash.

There are two admittedly rather cool looking sabretooth tigers, and posed between them are two mostly naked figures.

“I’m Shanna and this is my boyfriend Ka-Zar,” the female says. Sweet, it’s Ultimate Shanna the She-Devil and Ultimate Ka-Zar! And, while it doesn’t say so, I assume the sabretooth he’s leaning on is Ultimate Zabu. How does he differ from "616" Zabu? He's striped. Bad-ass.

And that’s the third issue. We’ve passed the halfway mark!


Tomorrow night: The Ultimates vs. The Brotherhood! Another genuinely cool scene! An attempted rape scene, demonstrating that this is all very serious and adult! And Ultimate Unus the Untouchable! And don’t forget to come back in a few hours for this week’s Weekly Haul


Richard Cook said...

As terrible as this comic sounds, now I feel like I have to read it, if just for the trainwreck factor.

SallyP said...


Johnny said...

"According to the confounding dateline captions, this issue takes place 'last night.'"

WHAT!? Okay, forget it...I take back what I said yesterday about this being a legitimate narrative strategy. Loeb clearly has no idea what he's doing.

The Philosophy Teacher said...

Caleb, you've made another sale.