The Ultimates #1

I'm going to be reviewing some of the comics I've been reading lately. It's a fun exercise because reading comics is quick and exciting, and it turns out that writing about comics is too! First cab off the Marvel rank is The Ultimates, or a fairly recent take on the Avengers, written by Mark Millar, pencilled by Bryan Hitch and inked by Andrew Currie, based on The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

(Just so everyone knows, I've already written my reviews for the first ten issues written, so I'll be scheduling them to go up over the next few days. Update frequency will drop off dramatically once that is done.)

Before we get started, here's some stuff you should know: I am very new to comics. I started with the Young Avengers (gimme all the Billy/Teddy. ALL OF IT) and since then I've basically read the first 90 or so issues of Uncanny X-Men. Once that got tiring (actually almost all of these were awful) I decided to skip ahead and start with some more 'modern' takes on Marvel's heroes. I'm now reading Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men and with the new Avengers movie coming out this year I wanted to brush up on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. I'm currently working off this recommended reading order, but I wanted to read more about Bucky so I skipped to Ultimates. Turns out, if you want to read about Bucky, you should really be reading Winter Soldier comics. Ahh well, live and learn.

Do I have download links? Negative, amigos. I torrent my comics and you can too! btjunkie, piratebay, whatever you got. I would also recommend you consider the Marvel digital subscription, which is $10 a month, and gives you access to their online repository. SO MANY COMICS OH MY GOD. As soon as I am employed again I will be renewing mine.

So, let's jump in with the first issue!

It took me a few days to get motivated to read this one, just because the first pages are dense, 1940s war time panels. Full of brown and red, lots of dirty faces and some flat dialogue. We meet Bucky, who is apparently a smirking little shit, and a soldier called Kowalski, who wins the coveted I Am A Huge Downer and I'll Probably Die in the Next Four Pages award.

We learn that Bucky is kind of obsessed with Captain America, a super soldier who is super confident that all his men will survive this mission. He is gonna marry a lady called Gail in just six months, and they are all invited. We also learn that he is big and tough, and would never do anything girly like wear a parachute when jumping out of a plane, because tch, parachutes are for girls.

So Cap and his super manly buddies infiltrate an enemy base, and discover those clever Germans have a giant-ass bomb pointed at the White House! Oh no! The only possible solution is for the world's only super soldier to strap himself to that bomb and set off some explosives to change its trajectory. But just in case you were wondering if he did so while also denigrating women, don't worry, I got you covered.

Yep, those German soldiers sure are ladies! What with all that waiting they're doing. This is all we know about Captn. Rogers so far: he's about to get married, he is famous, he's a so-called super soldier with a track record of bringing his men home, he jumps out of planes without a parachute, and hehates women. Apparently that was a crucial part of his character that just needed to be conveyed in the first two pages.
A lot of the art in these pages depicts a bleak landscape full of mud and rain and dirty soldiers, so it is not very pleasant to look at. There are some cool explosions though! I can't quite work out whether the dots on Bucky's face are supposed to be freckles or acne or some kind of plague caused by being too obnoxious. Is he a soldier? An embedded journalist? Some kind of child-sized army photographer? Who knows!

Skip forward to 2002, where Tony has dragged some poor hapless poor people up the top of Mount Everest because he is a super busy business man, with a business that is busy!

Refreshed by the frozen majesty of the Himalayas, this genius billionaire playboy philanthropist is all jazzed about taking the next step in something he creatively calls 'The Plan' and casually accuses his butler of stealing from him. Tony Stark's famous people skills, you guys!

Next issue: Hulk time! Tony has a drinking problem! I am ridiculously attracted to Giant Man! NICK MOTHERFUCKING FURY, Y'ALL! Onwards to ish #2!

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