Ultimate FF #1 (Comics Review)

Recently the Ultimate Universe was invaded by the 616-universe Galactus in a cataclysmic event that was first told in the pages of the mini-series Hunger and then in a big crossover event called Cataclysm that ran through several Ultimate Universe books. The end result is that the mainline alternate universe of Marvel’s comics underwent some serious changes and in the wake of that event we have had a relaunch of several books as the Ultimate Universe line-up gets simplified and renumbered in keeping with Marvel’s current All-New Marvel Now! phase.

Ultimate FF is among these new books and it presents a new vision for the Ultimate Universe version of the Future Foundation. I haven’t read any Fantastic Four/Future Foundations books in the Ultimate Universe, so I have zero idea what the teams have been like previously, but in this new book things seem very haphazard. It is nothing more than a “new” version of the Ultimates, which is the UU’s Avengers team. And the art is very disappointing as well. It lacks polish and appears half-finished. Ultimate FF is definitely not off to a good start with this issue.

Ultimate FF 01New team books always have that problem where the characters are just getting together and there are a lot of personality and ego clashes involved. This is a staple of the genre and Ultimate FF #1 is no different. However, the execution is sorely lacking in both the story and the art so the issue comes off as even less pleasant than it would have been otherwise. The main thing here is that the story just doesn’t make all that much sense. And there is next to no explanation for all the weird costumes that the team is wearing.

The members of this team are Susan Storm (Leader of the FF), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Danny Ketch (Machine Man), Phil Coulson (Director of the FF) and Sam Wilson (Falcon). It is an interesting line-up for sure, but it feels really weird. We don’t really get a good sense for any of these characters and we don’t really get how Cataclysm has changed them. All we seem to find out is that Reed Richards became some kind of a tyrant and a villain and that most of SHIELD’s superpowered agents are all out of jobs at the moment. That’s all pretty thin on the ground. There is effectively zero context on how these characters have changed in the last eight months. Dimensional rifts are still occurring on Earth and that is what brings these guys together, and that’s all there is to this issue.

The worst bit of this issue character-wise was that Tony Stark is an insufferable and arrogant jerk. He is apparently bankrolling the new team and he throws his weight around quite a bit. It really put me off the character despite the fact that I like Tony Stark generally. Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov plays up the tropes of the character and he does it in the worst possible way that leaves little to like about him. And the same goes for Susan Storm as well since she comes off as someone angsty and all-too focused on her problems with her husband. That seems to be all that defines her character in this issue and so she appears to be little more than one-dimensional and ultimately flat.

The dialogue in general in this issue is sub-par. It is forced and none of these characters seem capable of a normal angst-free conversation. Which is pretty weird. Fialkov’s writing, what I’ve read before, has been all over the place and this issue seems to fall on the extreme side of “not good”. I just couldn’t get into the story or the characters at all.

Mario Guevara and Tom Grummett do the pencils here while Juan Vlasco does the inks, Rachelle Rosenberg does the colours and VC’s Joe Sabino does the letters. The art, much as with the story, is all over the place. Characters seem to change in their visual design from page to page, there is a lack of definition with the inks, and even the colour palette is quite limited unfortunately. I usually love Rosenberg’s colours but this issue is not her best work, by far. And as for the pencils themselves, I just hated how run-together they were. It wasn’t easy to pick out the different characters and there were quite a few weird cases of perspectives in a few choice panels.

Overall, this is one of the most disappointing new number #1s from Marvel that I’ve read.

Rating: 2/10

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Posted on April 21, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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