Friday, June 12, 2009

Ultimates 3 #5

Previously in Ultimates 3: The team in the Savage Land joins forces with Ka-Zar, Shanna and their people to attack Magneto, Hank Pym rescues the Wasp from robots disguised as Iron Man and Captain America, Sabretooth and Hawkeye fight, Black Panther and Wolverine are attacked by the Juggernaut, Valkyrie is attacked by Mastermind and Pyro, Thor touches Unus the Untouchable only to be vanquished by Magneto, and Pym leads Wasp to the robotic villain living in their basement. (More here).


So there’s been a lot of yelling and fighting sexing so far, but remember what the name of this story is? Er, yeah, it’s “Sex, Lies and DVD.” But remember what they changed the name to, for the purposes of the cover? Yes, that’s right, Who Killed The Scarlet Witch?.

It is time we find out, as our heroes Ant-Man and Wasp listen to the robot Yellowjacket record a report, which he addresses “to my creator Henry Pym.”

“You sought to provide androids to S.H.I.E.L.D. as a replacement for super soldiers," he says. "You called it Project Ultron.”

It’s true! He did! In Ultimates Vol. 2, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. This was when Pym was on the outs with the team for beating his wife and having ants attack her. Remember? He tried to give Fury some androids, and there was a scene where Scarlet Witch was talking to one, and Pietro was like, “Were you flirting with that machine?”

This was just a little Easter Egg type thing, since in normal Marvel Universe continuity, Wanda and android The Vision would fall in love, get married and I think maybe even have some magic kids or something…? It was so funny a joke, Millar re-used it at the end of the second volume, when Scarlet Witch asks an Ultron robot out on a date after they liberate America from the Liberators (on whose side Pym and the Ultrons fought

Or was it?

“Something happened to my original programming. Something…unexpected, Ultron/Yellowjacket says. “It was as if I were under some kind of spell. Improbable. Impossible. But…she was, after all…a witch.”

So Ultron fell in love with, and became obsessed with Wanda, even while he was demoted to a butler android in Ultimates Mansion. That’s right! There were androids serving drinks on the very first page!

It was Ultron who made and leaked the sex tape, and he created a Venom robot to capture the Scarlet Witch, which explains why Venom didn’t look like Ultimate Venom much.

There was some kind of flaw in Ultron’s design for his robot constructions though, so that when his robots were destroyed, they would melt. He knew Pym would notice, so Ultron drugged him. And then he used the time-honored trench coat and wide-brimmed hat disguise that Ben Grimm and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles use to walk unseen in New York City to trail Wanda and Pietro:

Not at all suspicious.

“It was a crime of passion,” Ultron says. “And no one suspected the butler did it.”

Considering that the murder weapon was a bullet programmed specifically to home in on Wanda’s D.N.A., and to also maybe be able to dodge or somehow compensate for possible super-speed interference from Quicksilver, that’s one well planned-out crime of passion.

On the fourth page of this explain-athon, Ultron talks about renaming himself Yellowjacket and to build robot versions of the Ultimates, and that his robot duplicates worked much better when he had live hosts to extract DNA from, which is why he has Tony Stark in a big basin of fluid.

Back in the Savage Land, Magneto is in the process of raining pink lightning on Shanna, Ka-Zar and their people, when Yellowjacket and his Ultimates attack. This seems contrary to his plan as he had previously announced it, to wait until Magneto and mutantkind’s war with humanity was over in order to claim earth for robotkind, but whatever, this book’s almost over, let’s just go with it.

Stowing away on Yellowjacket's shape is Tony “Iron Man” Stark, freed by the Wasp and Ant-Man, and wearing an all-black stealth suit which, we’ll see later, has War Machine-style gun shoulder-pad thingees.

“Elsewhere in The Savage Land,” Juggernaut is pounding on the Black Panther, whose costume is so torn up that now we can even see blond hair sticking out of his mask. Oh man, who is this guy?!

Juggernaut is about to say that “nothing can stop the Juggernaut” for like the third time in two issues, when all of a sudden he is impaled by the biggest fucking triceratops ever, and Wolverine, who is riding on it, quips, “Yeah, yeah, we knowlast time I heard that one, I fell off my dinosaur.”

Wolverine is about to finish off Juggy—who apparently not even a triceratops in the gut can stop—when Black Panther catches Captain America’s shield (thrown by the about to arrive Iron Man) and then takes off his mask.

Oh my God! It’s Captain America! That’s why the two of them were never in the same place at the same time! (Except on covers). And that’s why Panther wouldn’t talk! And why Captain America was the only one who knew anything about Panther! And why Logan recognized the Panther even though he was disguised, because he could smell him!

Wasp is all, like, “You were the Black Panther? What the fuck, Captain America? That makes like no sense.”

And he says, “We’ll discuss it later, Jan.” This is a lie; it is not discussed later.

You may not remember, because I didn’t scan it or summarize it because there were so many crazy awful things happening that issue, but in the very first issue, Wasp asked Captain America why he didn’t respond when she called for him during the Venom attack episode, and he responded tersely that “I had to get a life of my own, Janet.”

See, he needed time away from The Ultimates, so, naturally, the best way to do this was to invent another identity so he could be an Ultimate in a different costume, or…yeah Captain America, that makes no fucking sense!

Back at the scene of Valkyrie’s attempted rape, Mastermind assures Pyro that his victims never wake up as he’s licking a crying, paralyzed Valkyrie’s face, when suddenly a mysterious figure appears in her hallucination about not being able to pay the rent. The figure explodes open the door behind which the landlord was just knocking, and says in a scratchy font, “I did not give you power so that you could die this day. We made a bargain. And you intend to keep it. Go now. Slay your enemies.”

Oh, so that’s why Valkyrie has powers now—she made a bargain with her landlord.

No, actually, it’s never revealed who the fuck this guy is. Wouldn’t want to tie up all the loose ends. Loeb might want to explore that in future issues of—oh yeah, this is the last issue of the series. Well, maybe in the next volume of the—oh, right, right. There is no next volume of the series. Huh.

Anyway, Valkyrie says “Men.” And then she chops off Mastermind’s head. And Pyro holds up his hands and tries to explain this wasn’t his idea, and she chops off both of his hands.

The Robo-Ultimates attack Magneto, causing him to lose his hold on Thor, whom he says he was holding “at the earth’s core.” Ultron informs Magneto that although he and his team are androids, there isn’t any metallic alloy on them. And then “KRAKA-THOOM” the real Thor appears holding his hammer, and he’s so pissed his back muscles are four times bigger than the last time we saw him.

Then the real Ultimates show up, Loeb walks away from his laptop, and a fourth-grade boy apparently climbs in an open window and scripts the dialogue for the next few pages.

Check this shit out:
Ha ha ha ha! Yellowjerk!

You know what we haven’t had this whole issue? A two-page splash!

Well, here’s one, featuring the two squads of Ultimates fighting. That’s followed by five panels checking in with each pair of combatants, in which terrible lines are spoken.

The Wolverine vs. Hulk panel is kind of amusing though. “I kinda wish you were the real Hulk. Me and him got unfinished business.” Wolverine says. This would have been published during Damon Lindeloff’s three-year break between issues of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk, see.

You know, Loeb may be a terrible, terrible comic book writer, and this may be the worst comic book every published by professionals (that I’ve read. I’ll try to follow up on some of your suggestions in the comments over the last few days). But at least he can write 22-pages of shitty comic every 30 days, and work in television simultaneously. It took Damon Lindeloff over three years to write about 132 pages of shitty comic (Well, the first half was pretty shitty; I gave up after the break, but it was basically just a fight comic. Lindeloff wasn’t writing From Hell or The Black Dossier or something requiring years of rigorous research).

Oh, wait, the dialogue gets worse than that last panel I scanned.

Yellowjacket tells Wasp that he’d rather not kill her, because “You’re almost like a mother to me.”

Ant-Man grows to human-size behind him, puts him in a headlock and says, "Then I guess that makes me--"
I…I don’t have words for this.

Okay, with Yellowjacket/Ultron’s head ripped off, the robots all collapse, and now it’s just Magneto staring down the Ultimates. While they’re talking, crazy old Hawkeye grabs a sharp piece of junk, shoves it into his crossbow gun, and shoots it at Magneto.

But, this:
Quicksilver takes it in the chest, saving his dad! He doesn’t use his super-speed to knock his dad out of the way, he doesn’t catch it, or put a piece of wood or rock or metal in front of it, he doesn’t even put a non-vital part of his body in front of it, he just uses his super-speed to get his chest in front of it.

Pietro is the world’s dumbest super-speedster.

As to why Magneto, using all his vaunted powers, couldn’t deflect the projectile, I wondered that myself upon the first reading, but there’s a pretty good chance that it was a piece of non-metal alloy taken from one of the destroyed Robo-Ultimates (The panel showing Hawkeye picking it up also features the robot Iron Man’s head on the ground next to it).

Magneto has now lost both of his kids to the Ultimates, and he’s so pissed that he uses his incredible powers that were unable to stop piece of plastic garbage shot out of a gun/cross-bow to lift his entire base up into the sky. Thor tires to give chase, but Magneto snatches his hammer from his hands and sends Thor hurtling to the earth below.

Here is Magneto, being very sad:
But what’s this? Pietro’s dead body is crying? Well then, obviously he’s not dead, right? Did Magneto not bother to take a pulse?

Well anyway, that’s the end of Ultimates 3 #5. We still don’t know who Valkyrie’s benefactor was, or where Pietro hid his sister’s body, or what’s up with his crying not-dead body, but hey, at least the question on the cover was answered. Ultron killed The Scarlet Witch.

Or wait, still one page to go…?
Oh yes, of course. It was Dr. Doom, a character who never appeared in the series at all, or was ever even mentioned in it, who was actually behind it all. That’s actually a pretty fitting end to this terrible, terrible comic book series.


Next: There is no next, that’s the end! Thank God Loeb and Madureira didn’t actually do the 12 issues of this volume that was originally announced, huh? I know Loeb follows this up with Ultimatum, which is still ongoing, and thus unavailable to borrow from the library for a few months yet, but I suppose I’ll check that out when it is available. If anything has a chance of taking the Worst Comic Ever crown from Ultimates 3, Ultimatum sure seems like a contender.

Or maybe I’ll see about tracking down Ultimate Power, once I recover from this week.


John Foley said...

Oh, I'd definitely advise you to check out Ultimate Power if you're looking for the next terrible series to review.

The Philosophy Teacher said...

Ahab, the Whale is dead.

Hdefined said...

I know it must have been mindnumbing to cover this material, but I wish this last review had been used to look at the series as a whole and examine more threads of characters (or lackthereof), pick out the instances of violence and censored cursing, and try to look, as desperate as it may be, for a point to why this story was written (besides money).

Bill said...

I skipped ultimate power, though it did look pretty terrible. But Ultimatum, I wouldn't consider as terrible as Ultimates 3. At least in the sense of having fewer pointless/stupid plot twists and terrible dialogue and bad art. It's just a couple pages of setup followed by a dismemberment (rinse, repeat) for several issues so far.

John Foley said...

I just made myself suffer through this series all over again. I read it cover to cover, trying in vain to understand why any of it was ever made.
I failed. It's just awful. Irredeemably so.
And yes, Ultimate Quicksilver is the dumbest speedster ever.

Eric Shonborn said...

Wow. I read this entire series of reviews in one sitting. I wish Ultimates 3 had been 12 issues, just to read your take on 'em. Now it's over, and I feel like I've lost a friend...

Josue said...

Let´s be sincere, we would all ask our dead grandma´s (with an exploded chest) if they are really dead and then tell them all our future plans just in case they aren´t really dead and want to appear on an unexpected moment in the future.
We wouldn´t feel their breaths however...

I´m the motherfucker-- that one made me laugh

Josue said...


For me Batman´s Death in the Family keeps being the worst comic ever

Nicholas Yankovec said...

So I can probably already guess the answer - was there any reason for Wolverine showing up and taking the Ultimates to the Savage Land to attack a greiving father?

It occured to me that maybe Wolverine was an Ultron android trying to stir up conflict between the Brotherhood and Ultimates, but Ultron wouldn't have had his dna, would he?

SallyP said...

Yes, Quicksilver really is that stupid. Jeez, next to him, Wally looks like a Rhodes Scholar!

I do have to admit however,that your line about getting a Triceratops through the guts did make me smile.'s just so comic booky.

James Eyeklll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MOCK! said...

The subtitle of your blog "All you need is me" has proven correct. Now I can be glad I never bought an issue of this beyond the first one.

I left comics (for several reasons) for a while back when Madueria and his ilk were all the craze...glad to see I didn't miss much (at least visually).

The Pretentious Fool said...

This series, plus Ultimatum, prove that Jeph Loeb has single handedly ruined the entire Ultimate line. That, in and of itself, is a feat that many bad writers would be incapable of. Even when the Ultimate titles were at their worst, they were still much better than Loeb's take on the entire thing has been. it makes me sad that I no longer care about anything Ultimate, when it used to be the titles in this imprint were my favorites from my pull list.

I also feel the need to point out that after he was fired from Heroes, the show got noticeably better. So...makes you wonder how the guy keeps getting work.

caleb said...

John Foley,

Well, don't read any of Millar's Ultimates for a while. I made the mistake of re-reading "Grand Theft America" just to see exactly where Millar left the various characters for Loeb to pick them up and, wow. I remember being disappointed in the end of Millar's Ultiamte's run, but it reads like Shakespeare after Ultimates 3.


Well, regardless of what one thinks of the story or writing, it DID have Aparo, so it was lightyears ahead of Ultimates 3. Maybe I need to reread it though; someone also mentioned Death in the Family as a bad Batman comic in the comments over at Blog@, and I can't remember it being bad.


Hmmm. No, not really. I guess to lead the team to The Savage Land, but they probably should have had some way to figure that out themselves.

Charlie said...

Ultimate Power, while an exercise in mediocre fight comics and Land-ian porn face for the first six parts, becomes VASTLY dumber, not to mention incoherent, in the last three parts. The parts written by none other than... Jeph Loeb!
Porn tracing! Double entendres! "Jokes!"
Face it, true believers, this one... eh, I'm done.
In conclusion, in Ultimate Power, Jeph Loeb was actually able to suck harder than Greg Land. Yeah, I said it.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Caleb, I advise you to remember Magneto's last line when eventually reading Ultimatum. It figures prominently in the story.

Hdefined said...

How bad is Ultimatum? Even IGN Comics hates it. It's THAT BAD!

caleb said...

Regarding Ultimate Power, sadly/happily the Columbus Metropolitan Library does not own a copy of the trade.


"They will all pay the ultimate price!" That line?

Daniel said...

Theres a hardcover out of the most recent ultimate annuals, I think. There's a Cap story by Jeff Loeb or one of his Heroes writing buddies (I forget his name, but whoever took over Ultimate X-Men after Kirkman wrote JUST like Loeb, and it was awful). Anyway, that Cap story is supposed to explain why Cap was pretending to be Black Panther. I kind of want you to review it just so I can know why without having to read the garbage.

I'm not usually one to do the whole "so and so ruined/killed/destroyed such and such", but Loeb really, really did ruin the Ultimate Universe for me.