Moonmaster: Ace Journalist!


Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Feb 23, 2005
I think I mentioned it once before, but I write for my school's newspaper. I mostly did video game reviews, but for one month I did a huge review of the Ultimates. This year I'm planning to write monthly reviews of two or three comics (single issues, maybe trades too) and I plan to post them here. So, since I don't have my first review written yet, I decided to post last year's Ultimates review. Enjoy:

The Ultimates
By Sean Doyle

Back in February, I picked The Ultimates as my #2 choice for comic of 2004, and the way the series is going, I can already see myself giving it the #1 spot for 05'. It is truly the greatest mainstream, superhero comic on the stands.
Okay, chances are, you've never heard of The Ultimates. Well, let me give you a rundown on the series. It's from Marvel's Ultimate line, which take classic characters like Spider Man and the X-Men and reinvents them for modern audiences. The Ultimates is the Ultimate version of the super team the Avengers, but don't worry you don't need to know anything about them to read The Ultimates. It's written by Mark Millar, who's…well…just read some of his work and you'll see why he's one of my favorite writers. And then, there's the artist, Bryan Hitch: his pencils are some of the most detailed, realistic, and cinematic out there. Combined, Millar and Hitch are an unstoppable creative force.
The first thirteen issues form volume one of the series, and I thought I'd give you a synopsis of the story. In 1944, the product of the U.S. super soldier program, Captain America went MIA in Germany while trying to stop Nazis from launching nuclear weapons at the US. He was presumed dead.
In 2002, geneticist Dr. Bruce Banner is informed by General Nick Fury (head of S.H.I.E.L.D., the U.S.'s biggest defense agency) that, thanks to the generous funding of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting together a team called the Ultimates, and he wants him to develop a new version of the super soldier serum that gave the original Captain America his powers.
With billions invested in the Ultimates, S.H.I.E.L.D. begins assembling members. Tony Stark doesn't just contribute to the team financially; he also pilots a high tech battle suit called the Iron Man suit. Brilliant scientist Hank Pym uses his Giant Man formula to grow to an enormous height (almost 60'). His wife Janet is a mutant with the ability to shrink, grow wings, and shoot bursts of energy called wasp stings. All they need is a field commander, but luckily, Captain America doesn't stay lost…
After being fished from the Arctic (having been preserved for 57 years) Cap is introduce to the 21st Century. With the discovery of Cap, Banner feels he is obsolete and falls deeper into depression (he had already been down about separating from his girlfriend and Ultimates PR rep Betty Ross). Fury and Banner talk to a man in Norway named Thor who has incredible abilities, legions of followers, and claims to be a god, here to save mankind from itself. The only problem is that he's a former mental patient with a very murky past. He refuses to join the Ultimate for political reasons.
Meanwhile, The Ultimates have no threats to battle and the public is growing restless. In an act of desperation, Banner turns himself into the rampaging monster The Hulk, and the Ultimates have their first fight. In one of the most action packed battles in comics the Ultimates defeat the Hulk (with a little help from Thor), but not before he decimates part of New York and kills 800. They become instant celebrities, and Banner is detained by S.H.I.E.L.D. During a friendly dinner with his team mates, Tony reveals that he is dying of a fatal brain tumor. Hank and Janet have a "domestic dispute" that ends with Hank (a schizophrenic) almost killing Janet.
Cap has a little "talk" with Hank and he is exiled from the team. We're introduced to two new members: master archer Hawkeye and former Russian super spy, Black Widow. We learn about a shape-shifting alien race called the Chitauri, who, in an attempt to "harmonize" Earth, backed the Nazis. A brand new facility is found in Micronesia, and the Ultimates are deployed, but they find it empty. Janet, still recovering at the Ultimates' HQ the Triskellion, learns a terrible secret: the Chitauri have already taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside and they've sent the Ultimates on a suicide mission. She tries to warn them, but she's too late. A bomb detonates, and Micronesia is enveloped by an enormous explosion.
Janet is quickly detained by Herr Kleiser, the leader of the invasion. He explains their plan: mind control of the people of Earth so that they may wipe out freewill, which they believe, is a disease infecting the universe. Soon though, Kleiser learns from his superiors that they now plan to destroy Earth altogether. As Chitauri ships close in, all hope is lost, until a Chitauri technician notices an abnormality on radar and asks Kleiser a question: "Does Iron Man's suit have a functioning force field?" In a flash of lightning, Kleiser knows: The Ultimates are alive.
Tony and Thor take to the skies and begin decimating the Chitauri fleet. Janet and Black Widow begin searching for the Chitauri doomsday weapon. And Cap takes on Kleiser (a former enemy in Cap's Nazi fighting days). Tony saves the city of Pheonix from a massive falling Chitauri mother ship, and Cap tears Kleiser in half (while screaming one of the funniest lines of the year: "Surrender?! Do you think this 'A' on my forehead stands for France?") The odds are still against them so they decide to deploy the "weapon of last resort": Banner. The Hulk manages to defeat Kleiser and help take out the fleet. Thor (who everyone assumes is a nut job) is able to defy logic by teleporting the doomsday device into another plane of existence. Thanks to these combined efforts, the Ultimates win, and become the world's greatest heroes.
That's volume 1. The first 6 issue arc of the series (up to Hank and Janet's fight) is called "Super-Human." The second is called "Homeland Security." Currently, the series is in the middle of Volume 2. So far, we've seen "The Trial of the Hulk" and the current storyline is "Gods and Monsters" about the real story of Thor. The Ultimates is the perfect book for any body that's new to comics, and I strongly recommend it to anyone. Please check it out. There are two trade paper backs (collected editions of story lines) collecting the first two story arcs respectively and one hard cover collecting all of Volume 1 (the first 13 issue). Four issues of Volume 2 are currently out, with the fifth coming out in April (you can go online for more info). To find you nearest comic shop, you can call 1-888-comicbook. Trust me, if you read it, you'll see why The Ultimates is the 'ultimate' comic.
Nice. :D

Did you find out if anyone picked it up by reading your review?
That's cool Sean Doyle (if that is your real name) but I think you should've spent less time on the synopsis and more on discussing what makes it worth the $X it costs. But I suppose you did.

Good review... Sean.

Bass said:
That's cool Sean Doyle (if that is your real name) but I think you should've spent less time on the synopsis and more on discussing what makes it worth the $X it costs. But I suppose you did.

Good review... Sean.

What's so funny?...
You sound like you were named after a Star Wars character.

moonmaster said:
You sound like you were named after a Star Wars character.


DIrishB said:
HAHAHAHA, I can see Bass sitting down for a spot of tea with Jar-Jar, C-3PO, and a random Ewok. Cheerio!!
"Yes, Senator Bass Wakil of Planet Brittanianacana!"

"In regards to the recent passing of the third Federation bill blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah...."
DIrishB said:
You should throw some Anna Nicole Smith in there for good measure, possibly as Bass's lover...or sado-masochistic leader.
"The Lead Federation tradeship's hull contains one of the galaxie's greatest photon oscillation mechanisms..."

"Oh my gah!...You make me sooo hawt when you use 'dem big woooorrrddss!...."

"The famous Shlanagmana Photon Oscillation Mechanism can reverse the hyperspace thrusters of any Class F star vehicle..."

"Ohhh gah, I'm soooo horny!"
Bass said:
On the Bass-planet, our vertical leap has evolved beyond all measurement.
No one can escape the quadlazer!
Jumping is useless!
I've written my first article. :D I'll be typing it up and sending it off tomorrow. Of course, I'll also post it here, too. Its a review of Wha Huh!?, Astonishing X-Men #12, and House of M #6.
As promised:

Comics Available in September
By Moonmaster

Wha Huh?! (Marvel)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughan, and many others. Pencils and cover by Jim Mahfood. 48 Pages, $3.99.

What do you get when you combine 9 writers and the hilarious art of Jim Mahfood into one 48 page comic? A book that ships on time? No, you get Wha Huh?!, A collection of mind-bendingly weird "What If?"s that you thought you'd never see. Some of the highlights are "What if Black Panther was really white?", "What if the Punisher was a bleeding heart?", and "What if Galactus had food poisoning?" The book is packed with great bits that range from one panel to two pages. Various writers lend their talents to the book, sometimes poking fun at themselves. Mahfood's art is filled with hidden messages and gags. If you're a fan of Marvel or comics in general, you're guaranteed a few good laughs.

Astonishing X-Men #12 (Marvel)
Written by Joss Whedon. Pencils and Cover by John Cassaday.
32 Pages, #2.99.

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's first year on the X-Men has come to an end, but instead of leaving with a bang, it seems to more of a thud. The team's first arc-in which they brought back fan favorite Colossus-has been hailed by fans and critics alike as one of the best X-Men stories ever. On the other hand, the team's second arc, "Dangerous", has not been so well received. While I may not be as critical of the story as others, I'll admit its been significantly less interesting that the first arc. In the final issue we have the X-Men's last battle with the newly sentient Danger Room, now known only as "Danger." While the action is alright, the real highlight of the issue is the surprise at the end: the revelation of who Emma Frost has been conspiring with for several issues. Now, as a fan of Emma I'm a little annoyed that she seems to be falling into her old habits, but knowing Whedon, there's definitely more to this story. And I can't deny how great the last page is. "Oh well, nothing lasts forever…"

House of M #6 (Marvel)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Pencils and cover by Olivier Coipel.
32 Pages, $2.99.

Well, Bendis has been taking his time building the House of M, and though were pretty deep into the story, there still seems to be a lot to do. So far, we've gotten a lot of buildup and little action. In this issue, the team of awakened heroes sets out to bring down the House of M on one of their biggest nights. Though we get a nice little explosion of action, its very short lived, and the story still seems to be moving at a sluggish pace. And with the eighth issue reserved as an "aftermath" story, it seems that Bendis still has a lot to do in only one issue.

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