Is UFF the nail in the coffin?

Fuzzy Birds

Well-Known Member
Ultimate Fantastic Four has ruined the Ultimate Universe.

Although it's quality is inconsistent at best, Ultimate Fantastic Four is still a damn sight better than most comics out there. My gripe with the comic though, is what it does to the Ultimate Universe as a whole. Let me elaborate.

The Ultimate line was created not only to provide an answer to new readers facing continuity problems, but to place stale characters in refreshingly modern and realistic enviroments. Well, as realistic as Spiderman and the X Men can be. The end result was a pleasingly streamlined, accessible world, held in high regard for sticking to logical ideas, usually grounded in reality.

Prior to Ultimate Fantastic Four, the most unbelievable concepts we had were Animal Evolutionaries, Phoenix Forces and Thunder Gods (all of which from Mark Millar). Okay, so Thors godhood is questionable, and so are Jean's Phoenix abilities to that point. We even had an alien invasion, which proved to be very well written indeed, with great thought being put into the motivations and origins of the would be invaders.

(Although I still don't forgive those Animal Evolutionaries.)

Anyway, to the point in hand: up until UFF was released, the Ultimate Universe was portrayed as a reasonably believable world, with the more over-the-top aspects and characters from the regular Marvel universe being toned down in favour of realism.

In the first 6 issues, just one arc, we are introduced to a parallel universe in the form of the Negative Zone; long extinct, technological societies in the form of the Atlanteans (which look to be resurrected in the form of Namor pretty soon); and huge subterranean sea monsters. While the next arc, Doom, would stick pretty close to the ground, the third arc, N Zone, would fly off the handle again with travelling between parallel universes, giant flying lizards in space, and hammy 'I want to rule your world' aliens from said parallel universe. Think Tank is a harmless two parter, but the real **** hits the fan when Millar picks up the reigns from Warren Ellis (technically from Mike Carey, but you know what I mean) in Crossover, an arc that, so far, is responsible for time travel and genuine alternate universes. And zombies.

That's not to say it hasn't all been one hell of a ride. Ellis in particular stays interestingly close to acceptable scientific theory, and Millar just writes one heck of a good story. But, there's still that niggling little thing about the book that just doesn't fit with the rest of the UU.

Of course, it could be argued that without these plot devices, the book would be less deserving of it's 'fantastic' moniker; that the whole charm of the Fantastic Four are the unbelievable and downright ridiculous situations they find themselves in. And I agree. But when that silly, adventurous charm sacrifices credulity and believability for an entire universe, you gotta step back and look at the picture. The Ultimate Fantastic Four are destroying what made the Ultimate Universe so pleasing in the first place.

All this said, I'm still a huge fan of the book, but out of all the titles, I think UFF is the one that really doesn't fit, feeling, in fact, more like a regular Marvel universe book.

Anyway, after writing faaaaar too much about a comic book than I really should be, I'd like to hear others' opinions on this topic please.

Disclaimer: I aim no criticism or dislike towards any of the writers I mentioned, (it's just that Millar seems to be the biggest culprit here).
 

jtg3885

Banned
She's saying the UFF's departure from the Ultimate Universe's "grounded" mission might be, should other factors make things a bit more unstable for the series, the thing that ultimately (pun intended) sinks it.

I think...

Right there with you though.

*pouts* And they didn't even show Josie and her Stealth Corset!
 

Guijllons

Well-Known Member
You're right.
I was never keen on Millar's X-men run, his Ultimates run has been so well played I find it hard to judge badly, and I also felt that the Negative zone (which is integral to the FF) was also well done.
But!
This traveling through time and popping across to parallel dimensions isn't on. It seems to casual. Reed, as bright as he is, does need to exercise some thought when making massive leaps in technology and these "hey kids, let's build a time machine" stories don't really sit well with me.

oh, and the giant subterranean monster in the first arc was a throwback to an earlier 616 FF issue, just something of a nod or an easter egg. I can forgive that too. But Millar does need to ground himself before he allows things to get too uncomfortably science fantasy.
 

E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
Fuzzy Birds said:
but the real **** hits the fan when Millar picks up the reigns from Warren Ellis (technically from Mike Carey, but you know what I mean) in Crossover, an arc that, so far, is responsible for time travel and genuine alternate universes. And zombies.

Technically the zombies aren't part of the UU. :D

Seriously, you make a valid point. The monster at the end of The Fantastic sort of ruined the story for me because it removed that last bit of believability from the book - all of the books skated a very fine line between comic book and regular fiction, if that makes sense. That monster did more to ruin that than the Chitauri did.

No argument here that Millar is stretching hte boundries of what the UU is/has been/should be. It doesn't really bother me though...as weird as it might sound, a terrorist group holding a key step to evolution hostage is more believable than a big monster coming up from out of the ground. I dunno...maybe "believable" isn't the word...

I have the same complaint about the Ultimate Iron Man mini. A kid with a brain growing throughout his entire body? Maybe if the story around it had been better, it might not be as bad. But it wasn't.

And maybe that's what it all boils down to - the way the story is presented. Looking back, the concept of the Chitauri is as ridiculous as a monster coming up out of the middle of Earth. But the story is so well done and the people's reactions to it were much more realistic...maybe that's the difference.
 

Guijllons

Well-Known Member
I would my rather the inhumans or atlanteans or whatever ancient civilisations to be just cults or something. But, Millar thinks differently.

Pity.
 

Bass

Nexus of the World
Huh?

This must be one of the silliest arguments I've ever heard.

The whole point of the F4 is to face such bizarre and completely otherworldly entities. The same is for the Ultimate F4.

It'll be a problem if Spidey, the Ultimates, and the X-Men get messed up in this mess because it would be inappropriate for them.

But for the F4, it makes perfect sense.

For ****'s sake, mutants are in this universe, and aliens, and genetically engineered monsters.

But having the most scientifically advanced characters, those whose purpose it is to investigate and explore those strange things and places, is a nail in the ultimate universe coffin because it's too out there.

The N-Zone seems to be more scientifically accurate to me, than the entire Marvel concept of mutants.

My god, it would be really exciting if, instead of fighting otherworldly creatures, the imaginauts of the Ultimate universe fought cultists and armour clad CEOs. Anyone actually see the F4 film? No imagination, all dull.

The real nail in the coffin of the ultimate universe is Bendis, who likes wasting potential characters in long, drawn out arcs with bad dialogue and plodding stories that don't go anywhere.
 

Fuzzy Birds

Well-Known Member
You make a valid point there E. I wonder if, it was handled better, I would accept the time travel and alternate universe schtick.

Bass, I do agree to an extent, time travel and alternate universes would seem horribly out of place in Spiderman or the X Mens world, and are better suited to the FF. However, do they not all share the same world?

Oh and jtg? I'm a guy. Either that, or my chromosomes are living in denial.
 
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E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
Bass said:
The whole point of the F4 is to face such bizarre and completely otherworldly entities. The same is for the Ultimate F4.

Agreed. Was it ourchair that had that awesome description of the Ultimate books? Spidey was the teen/drama book, X-Men was the social commentary book, Ultimates was the political book, and UFF was the sci-fi/fantasy book. Fits perfectly and goes along perfectly with Bass said about keeping the right things in the right books.
 

Lithium

Well-Known Member
well, i am enjoying the book, BUT... you make a valid point. The UU was meant t bring in new readers and place fan--favorate characters i a more modern and Realistic setting. i dont think UFF is the nail in the coffin, i think its Mark Miler.
 

Guijllons

Well-Known Member
Mutants we can do nothing about, they couldn't have been changed in any way. Not much anyway.

N-zone, works, alternate earths and time travel? no chance.

While the FF are explorers, it doesn't mean that the problems of exploring shouldn't be there just because reed is quite bright really. I have issue with the way in which technologies were introduced with no pain, no trial. And the discovery of ancient civilisations, we don't need reed richards to find them, we'd know already. Like SHIELD knew about the Skrulls, they would know about Namor.

The problems of secret knowledge and technological realisation would have far been preferable to jaunts across the entire history of Earth.
 

Fuzzy Birds

Well-Known Member
jtg3885 said:
Sorry. Really intelligent post + identical Thor avatar = mistaken Seldes moment.

Oops.

Well seeing as you said 'really intelligent post' I'll forgive you......

Now, pardon me while I go swaggering around with my newly inflated ego.
 
jtg3885 said:
She's saying the UFF's departure from the Ultimate Universe's "grounded" mission might be, should other factors make things a bit more unstable for the series, the thing that ultimately (pun intended) sinks it.

So the point is not that UF4 will sink the entire Ultimate chain (poor sales are likely the only thing which can do that) but that UF4 isn't a very good book because it's so unrealistic, right?

I thought Fuzzy Birds was making a case about how UF4 would end up bringing down the Ultimate line which, as I stated above, is foolishness.
 

jtg3885

Banned
Fuzzy Birds said:
Well seeing as you said 'really intelligent post' I'll forgive you......

Now, pardon me while I go swaggering around with my newly inflated ego.
Uhh, I still thought you were a girl.

LOL.
 
I'd also like to say, I'm happy to see Millar on UF4. He has some F4 ideas which wouldn't work in 616 because they would disrupt too much. So, like his year on MK Spider-man, he gets this little tangent book to give them a go. It seems like a good set-up to me.
 

Fuzzy Birds

Well-Known Member
And I'd like to say that I also love Millars run on this book, and I really have no gripes with the book in general, it's just what it's doing to the UU that worries me.

And I think we've established by now that 'nail in the coffin' is perhaps the wrong choice of words. My bad.
 
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