I liked it, but I don't think it was as good as U1. GTA was a lot of fun. The only thing that I felt was a letdown was the identity of the traitor. It was such a damn copout.
Agree on all counts.
I did still love the ending issues though...Cap offing Al-Rahman's hands at the forearm with his shield; Hulk ripping up Abomination and eating him; Thor's godhood revealed (admittedly, it was a bit off to me, but still fun); Tony's always unexpected means of surviving situations through luck and freakish planning; Hawkeye's general bad-assedness (its a word in my language, back off ); the mega crossover event the last few issues turned into with Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the European Union, etc all showing up to fight back--it was a little corny and took a small bit of the sanctity of the Ultimates away, but it was all kinds of awesome to see a large portion of the Ultimate universe drawn by Hitch. That was a hell of a run on, I apologize.
It was great stuff, but I think it still failed to live up to the originality and classic, memorable scenes of the first series. Definitly a worthy sequel, and when read all at once--without several months of delays on individual issues and plenty of time for internet speculation and info leak--the traitor is at least less obvious to some degree.
The Ultimates - 9.5
The Ultimates 2 - 9.0
In the end, The Ultimates (first series) wins out. Its a certifiable classic. Ultimates 2 is a worthy sequel. There's a minor distinction.