by Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch (Artist)
Release Date: July 11th 2007
Rating: 5/5 Stars
This is one of those times where I kind of almost found myself siding a little bit with the bad guys…
The Ultimates is extremely of its time – it’s rooted deeply in the post-9/11 USA, and works on some level to highlight the impact American politics had on the rest of the world in the years that followed. It’s also the graphic novel that heavily influenced the MCU, though a lot has been toned down to make the films more family friendly. In Grand Theft America, Loki has worked to sow discord among the group, a traitor is uncovered, and relationship woes impact Cap and Tony.
As it turns out, a coalition of America’s enemies are working together to bring down a country they feel has massively overstepped. It follows on really nicely from previous volumes. I was a bit…concerned initially by the plot, but as it unfolds it does make sense. The leader of the coalition’s super-humans is a young man who witnessed the team essentially destroy his home. Specifically, this is a young Muslim man from a Middle Eastern country. It’s a commentary that was around a lot at the time, surrounding the USA’s involvement in various countries and the general sense of misplaced fear in the USA and UK.
It’s all too easy to see why these other countries would feel the USA needs to be taken down a notch, and I think that’s where the most interesting aspect of this volume comes from. We see another side of Cap, definitely, and really, the people Ultimates are fighting against are trying to target military areas. But with the addition of Loki in the mix, things get more difficult.
It feels weird doing such a short review on this volume, as I think more than the others it warrants a deeper dive, but I would suggest trying to find some online as I have no doubt people smarter than me have tackled this.
There are some absolutely stunning panels here, art-wise, an epic battle portrayed on the page, and some really dark, violent scenes as well. If you’re a fan of Avengers and want to see a bit of a darker element to them, I do think The Ultimates is worth it, though be warned; this volume goes darker and more violent than even the previous ones.