Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ultimates 3 #4

Previously in Ultimates 3: Wolverine flashbacked up the joint, explaining how this one time he had sex with Wanda and Pietro’s mom and then a jealous Magneto magnet-ed him down a mountain, then he explained how Wanda made all the dinosaurs in the Savage Land through magic to stop him from killing Pietro, and how he watched as Pietro and Wanda discover a kind of love that “no one in this room can really understand” (because it is incest), Wolverine and most of the team traveled to the Savage Land to recover Wanda’s body from Magneto and there they met Ultimate Ka-Zar, Ultimate Shanna and Ultimate Zabu, and, back in New York, Iron Man revealed himself to be a robot who captured The Wasp (More here).

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And now, the penultimate issue of Ultimates 3, and this one is all fight. Except for a dumb flashback. And some dumb robot shit. But there is a lot of fighting!

This one actually opens at a point in the past, a point so far back in the past that it’s colored black and white (It’s after the Wolverine-sexes-up-Magneto’s-girl flashback though, and that was in color, so who knows).

“Eight hundred miles off the coast of Australia. Years ago,” the gray caption box says, above a panel of a plane. Young, bald Charles Xavier is in the pilot’s chair, talking about this young mutant Aborigine he’s found to his pissed-off looking friend Eric, whose all “Who gives a shit about your dumb shit Xavier, all I care about is that my children find a home.”

His children are, of course, Pietro and Wanda, who are very little here. Wanda’s scared of flying, and just as Pietro’s promising that nothing will ever happen to her as long as he’s with her, the wing BOOMs off, and the plane crashes.

Assuming the plane was made out of metal, why didn’t Magneto just float it down safely? I don’t know. He does use his mastery of magnetism to dramatically clear some wreckage out of the way as they walk away from the crash.

Oh, and as the plane is going down, look who spots it:
Lil’ Ka-zar, Lil’ Shanna the Lil’ She-Devil, and darling little Lil’ Zabu.

Why he’s just a cub!

Hey, is Ka-Zar quoting Star Wars, or is that just a coincidence? Normally, I’d guess a coincidence, but given the dumb movie quote Jeph Loeb’s got coming up this issue, I can’t be sure.

When a big, tough guy dressed in animal skins and carrying a huge spear asks if Magneto and pals are okay and who are they anyway, Magneto makes the most evil expression he can and says “We come in peace…”

This is a story that Ka-Zar and Shanna, who are now grown-ups and in color, were telling the Ultimates. They plan to join them in their plans of kicking Magneto’s ass since, over the years, Magneto and his fellow evil mutants have slaughtered over half of K.Z.’s tribe, including his parents.

“Kazar. There’s more than just you and Shanna, right?” Valkyrie asks. “I mean, we need help, bit time.”

“Big time, Valkyrie says, and we see another dude with a torch, and a bunch of silhouettes in the background, indicating a crowd of guys with spears.

Back at the mansion, Iron Man, or the robot posing as him, holds Wasp by the throat and is talking about how the new world order will be better than the old world order, and, well, this:

Ugh. Did Jeph Loeb actually have a character un-ironically quote Terminator? In a story that’s about an evil robot?
Yes, yes he did.

Jesus.

And what’s worse, just as “Captain America” is leading Wasp away from the scene, lightning starts shooting out of his eyes and mouth, he shouts “SKEEEETTT” and Hank Pym, dressed in his Ant-Man costume and riding on a big, fat flying ant, flies out of “Cap”’s open mouth.

The character we thought was Captain America for three panels was actually a robot disguised as a human. Jeph Loeb had a robot-disguised-as-a-human un-ironically quote Terminator.

He melts into a puddle of green, viscous liquid because whatever.

“I need you to shrink down to wasp size and come with me,” Hank says to Wasp. “There’s a conspiracy -- it’s everywhere…”

Back in the Savage Land, Hawkeye is picking off Multiple Man’s multiple men, when Sabretooth jumps at him and shouts “I’m gonna rip your head clean off!

It’s no “It’s clobberin’ time!” but then, Sabretooth is no Ben Grimm.

That’s when another genuinely cool, I’m-not-being-sarcastic-I-actually-thought-this-was-neat moment occurs—Ka-Zar’s sabretoothed tigers leap on Sabretooth and bury their claws and fangs into him. Sabretooth! Killed by sabretooths! That’s ironic!

(Well, I guess he actually survives, as Hawkeye "finishes him off" next issue, and I saw him ripping off Angel’s wings or something gross in last week’s Ultimatum #4, but as far as Ultimates 3 goes, this is pretty much the last we see of Sabretooth).

The only way this scene would have been cooler? If it was only one tiger—come on Zabu, you could have taken that punk solo—and if instead of Hawkeye getting saved, it was Captain America. And he replied, “You suck on that.”

Okay, maybe not cooler. But funnier!

(By the way, I should point out that as poor a comic book artist as Joe Madureira is, he’s much better suited to Loeb’s cartoonish ultraviolence than David Finch, the guy who’s drawing Ultimatum. This is probably because Madureira is a more cartoonish artists, and doesn’t do that ugly, little line-filled “realistic” style that Finch does. I mean, here we have two-thirds of a page devoted to two big tigers plunging claws and fants into a dude, and there’s not a speck of blood, no limbs flying off or exposed bones are intestines or anything. It’s extreme violence, but it’s relatively tasteful; Madureira apparently draws the split-second where the teeth and claws go in, rather than the split-second where the gushers of blood and shower of torn flesh would come out and off).

Meanwhile, stealthy, tracking-types with heightened senses Wolverine and “The Black Panther” are running through the Savage Land, when Ultimate Juggernaut, now the size of a small house, with hands a few feet wide, sneaks up on them and punches the shit out of them.

“@#$%!” Wolverine says, “The @#$%ing Juggernaut!?

Ha ha ha ha ha! Like in that one Internet comedy video from many years ago!

The Juggernaut raises his fists to smash Black Panther and, is this the end of the mysterious Black Panther whose identity we don’t know but whose costume has been torn to reveal white skin beneath. White? Oh my God, what is his secret?!

We’ll have to wait until next issue to find out!

Elsewhere, Valkyrie is flying around on her pegasus, when a spurt of flame makes him say “REEEEEE” and throws her off. She wakes up in a messy bedroom, wearing her old “costume,” which was just a half-dozen pie tins, while an unseen landlord knocks on the door and asks for the rent.

She’s experiencing her “own private hell,” the mind-controlling Mastermind says. Late rent? A messy bedroom? Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And since this comics series just hasn’t been gross enough so far, we get this delightful scene:
Meanwhile Thor, Shanna and a bunch of random guys with spears are fighting an army of Multiple Man. Why did the rest of the Ultimates split-up Scooby-Doo style? I don’t know.

This brings us to the scene that Unus the Untouchable fans have been waiting for! Ultimate Unus the Untouchable vs. Ultimate Thor!

Sadly, he never refers to himself as “Unus the Untouchable.” He just stands in front of a rock wall and says, “This place is untouchable” while Thor’s hammer hits a force field in front of him.

“You stand against a god, Unus,” Thor says, and then he raises his hammer and, in the next panel, we get a close-up look at his face, which is contorted into the very angry Madureira expression, blood splatters all over him from off-panel and he says in a special yellow-colored dialogue bubble that Unus is but a mortal, “a thing of mere flesh and blood!”

The implication is that Thor totally smashed Unus the Untouchable with his hammer, but in the very next panel, Thor and his hammer are completely blood-free, and there’s no dead body anywhere. (Or maybe that’s Unus in the far right of the panel? There are some dark, grey shapes being flung around, and I assume they’re Multiple Man duplicates, but its unclear).

Anyway, Magneto strolls up and he and Thor exchange generic dialogue, while Magneto uses his power to drag Mjolnir down through the ground, with Thor still hanging on to it, being towed along with it.

Back in New York, in a subbasement ten stories below the mansion, Ant-Man and Wasp watch through a ventilation grate, as an unseen person puts the Iron Man robot back together, and talks about how the robots are so closely patterned after the Ultimates that their personalities assert themselves strongly (that’s why the Captain America robot tried to save Wasp from the Iron Man robot).

Then we get the dramatic last page splash!

“Hank!” Wasp says “He sounds just like you.”

“There’s a reason for that,” Ant-Man replies, “He’s our son…!”

And on the last page, we see that the figure is Yellowjacket! Wearing a costume almost identical to the one that Marvel Universe Hank Pym wore when he was going by the name Yellowjacket, only with smaller shoulder pad wings and without the yellow bug symbol on the chest.

This Yellowjacket is surrounded by four others, the Iron Man, an Ultimate Thor that actually looks like Brian Hitch’s Ultimate Thor (Shorter hair and beard, slimmer build, the big half-axe Mjolnir), an Ultimate Hulk, and an Ultimate Captain America who’s wearing the uniform from World War II.

Here’s the dramatic monologue: “They think of us as toasters -- --alarm clocks -- --and vibrators. But when the war between man and mutant is settled-- --and most of the human population is dead, only then will they realize-- --the MACHINES have already won.”

Holy shit, a machine whose all “Rah rah robots rule!” that Hank Pym says is his son! Who is this mysterious new villain?! If you’ve ever read an Avengers comic, you probably already know. If not, you’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out.

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Tomorrow night: This is it! The ultimate issue of Ultimates 3! Who will live? Who will die? Who will utter the worst dialogue? Can a human being write over 10,000 words about Ultimates 3 in just five days and still retain their sanity?! Find out tomorrow night!

14 comments:

Hdefined said...

Does Jeph Loeb just steal all his dialogue, all his narration, from other sources? Does he not realize that if they weren't cliches to begin with, he's ensuring that they'll be considered such?

Daniel said...

Was there ever an explanation as to why Pyro went from temporary X-Man during Kirkman's Ultimate X-Men run to apparent Brotherhood of Mutants rapist?

Or did Loeb just not read any Ultimate comics?

The Philosophy Teacher said...

Unus the untouchable? This comic assing rocks!

John Foley said...

So....
Ka-Zar and Shanna knew each other as kids stranded in a primeval jungle? They seem awfully modernized for characters with such a feral upbringing.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Good lord, I don't envy you this experience, but I am enjoying the hell out of these write-ups.

Jeremy H said...

Heh, I had forgotten about the vibrators line. God, Loeb sucks so bloody bad.

jason quinones said...

toasters and vibrators taking over the world sounds like a fun comic actually.

how can anyone take a villan named unus the untouchable seriously???

i actually like joe mad's artwork. it wasn;t reason enough for me to drop money on this shit series but i do enjoy looking at it, even if it is sometimes difficult to read from a sequential comics reading point of view.

i prefer my comic books characters to be drawn in a cartoonier style rather than a hyper realistic style. or if they're drawn more "realistic" to be loose and free and not overly rendered.

for me personally, if comic book superheroes look "too real"...where's the fun in that???

Hdefined said...

"if comic book superheroes look "too real"...where's the fun in that???"

2008's Joker OGN.

Glenn Fabry's Preacher covers.

Michael Zulli on Sandman.

Alex Ross on Marvels.

Renato Guedes.

Tony Harris.

J. H. Williams III.

I'm not saying I prefer realistic art, I'm just saying generalizing's bad, mmmkay?

jason quinones said...

hdefined-
all really cool artists whose work i am very well aware of but by far not my favorites.

alex ross from a technical point of view he is a very good painter. he can paint the hell out of a comic book cover and some of his group shot cover art compositions are great.

but his work in the comic book narrative form can be stiff and lifeless.

if i had to give an example of a comic book artist whose work i enjoy because their work is "loose and free and not overly rendered" i guess i'd have to say john romita jr.

not a big fan of "realistic" animation either like beowolf or polar express.

jason quinones said...

hated kick ass though. not even jr jr could save that crap!

about as bad as ultimates!

Jeremy H said...

I have to apologize to both U3 and Ultimatum. I just read the first four issues of Loeb's Red Hulk series. Sweet jeezum crow, that is some bad comics!

zzdoublerzz said...

Caleb,

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IMAGES FOR THE COVERS OF MARVEL COMIC BOOKS? I'm specifically talking about what you use for your Weekly Haul feature. Marvel's website won't let me save the images. Go figure.

Hdefined said...

Jason, I'm not advocating that you become a fan of realistic art, but I do think you shouldn't generalize that comics with realistic art can't be fun.

caleb said...

Daniel,

No real explanation, but when Valkyrie wakes up and he's backing away from her, he mentions something like, "It wasn't my idea, I'm not so bad, I wasn't even on the X-Men for a little while" or something like that.


Jason,

I like Madureira' style quite a bit, but not how he uses it, if that quite makes sense. I think he'd make a better cover/pin-up artist that a comics artist.

Jeremy,

Oh man, I'm kind of looking forward to that someday. At least the Defenders/Offenders story arc, which is probably a long way from being collected yet.


"zzdoublerzz,"

I usually don't have any problems cut-and-pasting the covers from marvel.com. I don't know enough about computers to guess why you might though. Comics.org is usually my first stop, but they didn't have most of these covers. And sometimes I just google image a title and number.