Ultimately cancelled?

Captain Canuck

The poster formerly known as captaincanuck65
It's funny because I actually kind of agree with wyo about Ultimates 1 & 2. I had a hard time liking them because they are so cynical and because the team is a spec ops military outfit, not a team of superheroes. They aren't Spider-Man, they do shady things to get the job done. They aren't really nice people at all.

But it was still well written, and I don't find Loeb's stuff an improvement in any sense of that.
 

Zeek

Well-Known Member
It's funny because I actually kind of agree with wyo about Ultimates 1 & 2. I had a hard time liking them because they are so cynical and because the team is a spec ops military outfit, not a team of superheroes. They aren't Spider-Man, they do shady things to get the job done. They aren't really nice people at all. But it was still well written, and I don't find Loeb's stuff an improvement in any sense of that.

Maybe not NICE, but as DIB suggested, it's more than just "they're ***holes" (although I would say that Tony, and to a slightly lesser extent Clint and Thor, are pretty straightforward nice guys).

But I agree, THE ULTIMATES is certainly cynical, and cynicism can be exhausting. That's why I think it's aged poorly in light of the MCU: the movies have shown that you can modernize superheroes without so much cynicism, and if that possibility exists, it maybe kinda takes away the raison d'être of THE ULTIMATES as a book.
 

E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
But I agree, THE ULTIMATES is certainly cynical, and cynicism can be exhausting.

My take on it is a little different than what I think Captain Canuck's is (or anyone who doesn't like the cynicism in the Ultimates, or maybe just always wants to read nice stories that make them feel good).

I don't particularly care to read stories that reaffirm my beliefs or make me feel fuzzy inside; those stories are a dime a dozen and have been done to death. I like to read things that make me think and that don't necessarily have happy endings; it's what makes Watchmen so great. So to see how a superhero team might exist and function in a real world setting like Ultimates does and to make it believable is really great. I can't imagine criticizing a story because it's too dark.

That's not meant as a criticism to people who prefer warm fuzzy stories or dislike dark themes by any means.

Also, Cap - I think it is interesting that you don't like darker themes like Ultimates and Watchmen and prefer "happier" stories like those usually found in Spider-Man books - but you didn't like All Star Superman, which is probably one of the warmest, "brightest" stories I've ever read.
 

Captain Canuck

The poster formerly known as captaincanuck65
Also, Cap - I think it is interesting that you don't like darker themes like Ultimates and Watchmen and prefer "happier" stories like those usually found in Spider-Man books - but you didn't like All Star Superman, which is probably one of the warmest, "brightest" stories I've ever read.

It's not as simple as "I like happy stories and dislike dark ones." The Death of Gwen Stacy is a dark story and one of my favourites. Also, Harry Osborn as the Goblin is my favourite Spidey villain BECAUSE of how messed up it is when he goes crazy and attacks the people he loves because he feels like he has to.

And I really liked it when Ultimate Fury had run-ins with Ultimate Peter Parker because the contrast of youthful idealism and hardened cynicism was really cool. The first issue of the Ultimates I ever read was the first annual where Fury hires the retired assassin to kill him just to see if he'll do it and then kills him for accepting the job. That put a bad taste in my mouth, but most of the rest of the series isn't that bad.

In Watchmen, I just felt like it was so twisted. Nobody was worth rooting for. I actually couldn't finish it. The furthest I got was when Rorchach is remembering cutting dogs heads open or something. (He was taking a rorchach test).

And All-Star Superman is just weird. I really struggle to like anything Grant Morrison does. Some of it's good (like his Batman stuff), and some is decent (like hi X-Men stuff). But most of it is just so odd. I should go back and reread All-Star Superman, though. I think the weirdness just caught me off guard the first time. Maybe if I go in knowing what to expect it will be different.

On a side-note, why is it that all of our best conversations happen off-topic?
 

E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
It's not as simple as "I like happy stories and dislike dark ones." The Death of Gwen Stacy is a dark story and one of my favourites. Also, Harry Osborn as the Goblin is my favourite Spidey villain BECAUSE of how messed up it is when he goes crazy and attacks the people he loves because he feels like he has to.

I didn't mean to boil it down that simply or to suggest any kind of insult in your tastes so I hope that you didn't feel like you had to explain or defend yourself. I was generalizing, but it's true that the kind of things you like, generally and for the most part, are "happy" stories. I also didn't mean to suggest there was anything wrong with that whatsoever. Different strokes for different folks.

To counter - those stories are definitely dark for the times they were written, no doubt, but compared to more current "dark" stories they are pretty tame. Still great stories and not reflective of what was going on in superhero books at the time, but pretty tame. I personally wouldn't put them in the same category, but I absolutely recognize what they meant at the time (particularly Gwen Stacy's death).

And I really liked it when Ultimate Fury had run-ins with Ultimate Peter Parker because the contrast of youthful idealism and hardened cynicism was really cool. The first issue of the Ultimates I ever read was the first annual where Fury hires the retired assassin to kill him just to see if he'll do it and then kills him for accepting the job. That put a bad taste in my mouth, but most of the rest of the series isn't that bad.

That was a little gratuitous and I didn't think it really reflected what the themes in the regular series, so yeah I can see getting turned off by that. Dillon's art doesn't help.

In Watchmen, I just felt like it was so twisted. Nobody was worth rooting for. I actually couldn't finish it. The furthest I got was when Rorchach is remembering cutting dogs heads open or something. (He was taking a rorchach test).

Yep - agreed it was twisted, but it WAS reflective of everything else going on in that universe at the time. If it had been gratuitous and unnecessary it would've bothered me too - not because it was gory - but that single scene did a LOT in explaining and expanding on the character of Rorschach.

And All-Star Superman is just weird. I really struggle to like anything Grant Morrison does. Some of it's good (like his Batman stuff), and some is decent (like hi X-Men stuff). But most of it is just so odd. I should go back and reread All-Star Superman, though. I think the weirdness just caught me off guard the first time. Maybe if I go in knowing what to expect it will be different.

I thought the same thing at first, especially when he takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude early on, but it is a fun kind of weirdness and makes sense in context with what happens in issue 1. He gets exposed to massive amounts of sun and triples his strength, intelligence, curiosity, etc. - it makes total sense that the book would have triple the weirdness of any other Superman book.

(Coincidentally I was reading the first couple of issues the other day and Superman's demeanor really struck me. There's a scene in #2 where Lois zaps him with a Kryptonite gun and he says something to the effect of "Mind if I just take that?" - I don't know what it is but his kind personality is so vivid there and perfectly exemplifies why I like the book.)

I hate to sound like I'm trying to convince someone to like something, but knowing what you like and don't like it surprises me that you don't love it; that's all I was saying.

On a side-note, why is it that all of our best conversations happen off-topic?

It had meandered all over the place because we've broadened the topic so much but I think we're doing a pretty good job keeping on topic on this one, actually.
 

Captain Canuck

The poster formerly known as captaincanuck65
I didn't mean to boil it down that simply or to suggest any kind of insult in your tastes so I hope that you didn't feel like you had to explain or defend yourself. I was generalizing, but it's true that the kind of things you like, generally and for the most part, are "happy" stories. I also didn't mean to suggest there was anything wrong with that whatsoever. Different strokes for different folks.
Don't worry, I wasn't offended and didn't feel insulted.

To counter - those stories are definitely dark for the times they were written, no doubt, but compared to more current "dark" stories they are pretty tame. Still great stories and not reflective of what was going on in superhero books at the time, but pretty tame. I personally wouldn't put them in the same category, but I absolutely recognize what they meant at the time (particularly Gwen Stacy's death).
Okay, fair enough. Maybe that's the niche I enjoy the most. I like the 60s through early 80s version of dark - although the Harry stuff I like is from the 90s. The books that "reinvented" comics in the 80s (Dark Knight Returns, the Killing Joke, and Watchmen) are the ones I really don't enjoy. I did like Miller's run on DD a lot, although Born Again was a little rough to get through in parts. But I still like it a lot.

But maybe that's also why I don't love Superman in general. Maybe he's a little too bright. I don't know. The only Superman story I've ever loved was Birthright.

I thought the same thing at first, especially when he takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude early on, but it is a fun kind of weirdness and makes sense in context with what happens in issue 1. He gets exposed to massive amounts of sun and triples his strength, intelligence, curiosity, etc. - it makes total sense that the book would have triple the weirdness of any other Superman book.

(Coincidentally I was reading the first couple of issues the other day and Superman's demeanor really struck me. There's a scene in #2 where Lois zaps him with a Kryptonite gun and he says something to the effect of "Mind if I just take that?" - I don't know what it is but his kind personality is so vivid there and perfectly exemplifies why I like the book.)

I hate to sound like I'm trying to convince someone to like something, but knowing what you like and don't like it surprises me that you don't love it; that's all I was saying.
I don't even remember what the story was about, so I really should try reading it again. But like I said, Superman has never been my favourite hero and Grant Morrison is pretty low on my list of writers.
 

E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
I don't like Superman. Before All Star, the only Superman story I ever liked was the Death and Return, and that's not typical of the kind of thing I like and I couldn't even tell you why I liked it.

Superman, to me, is too easy of a character. He's invincible and can basically do anything. There's no conflict and his supporting cast is uninteresting to me.

But after I read All Star I realized it's because basically no one had ever written him correctly or well up to that point. It's not (or shouldn't be) the kind of character that has to deal with conflict like Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, as they were originally conceived. It's more like he's a comfort character, for lack of a better term. He gives you hope; that kind of thing. The scene in #9 (or 10, somewhere around there) with Regan on the rooftop displays that perfectly. When it's done right it's extremely powerful. I like Spider-Man as a character better than Superman by far, but there isn't a Spider-Man story in existence that is anywhere as good as All Star Superman.

Superman fans might read that and say, "well, duh" but before All Star Superman I had never read a Superman story that displayed anything close to that.

As for Birthright, I'm sure I've read it at some point but as much as I like Mark Waid I must have found it completely unremarkable because i don't remember a thing about it.
 

Synch

Well-Known Member
I don't like Superman. Before All Star, the only Superman story I ever liked was the Death and Return, and that's not typical of the kind of thing I like and I couldn't even tell you why I liked it.

Superman, to me, is too easy of a character. He's invincible and can basically do anything. There's no conflict and his supporting cast is uninteresting to me.

This… I mean it's always cool to flip thru some supes cuz they usually have the best artists and he's punching something into dust or some other eye-fryingly glorious thing on panel… but he bores me… but All-Star Superman is my all-time favorite superman story. It's just so damb good and… Genuine?
 
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