Hello again to all my friends! I’m glad to see that we have a few followers now and am looking forward to our first comment. That’s right, we have three followers and nary a comment on anything written, so it appears that Comical-Musings will continue to be 2 dimensional and I’m ok with that. I mean what would you have commented on my previous postings anyway? Well, that’s why today I have dished up what could be a slightly controversial hotbed of interest and disinterest. Today I present to you, Ultimate Human which is written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Cary Nord.
In the world of the Ultimates, Captain America is a strong and virtuous old-timer in the super-human body of a 26 year old, just trying to avoid rated R movies and all the cussing in the music kids listen to these days. But, that is not who Ultimate Human focuses on. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are the stars.
Iron Man is drunk as ever, but is a much more scientific super-human offering than previously stated. Tony Stark is a genius with nano-technology that he can control running through his veins and a unique muscular structure that allows all of his muscles to somehow be coated in brain matter. This makes him super-intelligent and quite possibly explains why he’s not super-retarded after his alcohol consumption. The Iron Man suit is treated in a much more realistic manner and is terribly expensive, prone to malfunction, and needs to be launched from a missile silo.
The Hulk is a fierce and indestructible animal built into the weak and scientifically gifted DNA of Bruce Banner. The Hulk’s animal nature is evident when he eats human beings. In Ultimates, The Hulk’s unstoppable nature is explained through his massive and monstrous form’s ability to adapt and evolve to suit any situation. This, to me, is much more entertaining than “You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry,” even if I have to read panel after panel of scientific babble. The great thing about Ultimate Human is that these two characters are often in the background of The Ultimates series and it’s fulfilling to see them fleshed out and given their own voice.
With these two strong heroic roles, there must be a strong villain. The Leader is seen in “Ultimate” for the first and only time that I can remember. It almost seems like a great deal of Ultimate human is spent explaining this character’s origins and motivations. His dialogue is always intelligent and often amusing. The feeling that these two super-humans are a waste of intellect that must be destroyed comes across well and at points, you can find yourself understanding his actions. The Leader is a proper British gentleman and his motivations and actions come completely devoid of emotion. He likes to think of himself as a sort of public avenger who is flawless and remains a “real” super-human. This is interesting due to the fact that he has put himself into a wheelchair due to the “quickie/sloppy” nature of how he got his power. The wheelchair is a GREAT touch in Ultimate Human. The Leader has always been shown as a goofy green guy with a giant head and a ridiculous (sweet) mustache. To Ultimate-ize him, they had to deal with that head in a realistic way. Welcome to the wheelchair Mr. Wisdom. It’s a clever move in the fact that it also makes him creepier because with all of the headgear and the focus being his brain, you start to look at his cranium as you would at a loaded gun. It was a cool effect for a decent character.
I really enjoyed this book, but could see how some could not. The science talk gets heavy and there are lulls in the story. It often feels like Bruce Banner is the most interesting character in the story, but never gets to talk due to Tony Stark and The Leader. The 3rd issue may be annoying to the casual comic fan as it is mostly an origin story of The Leader. For 13 pages you see Mr. Wisdom going from meeting to meeting and while it explains a good deal of the story and is well written, it is over half of the 26 pages of the comic book. It very much feels like the part of the movie where you get up to go pee. This comic might bore some and the end is sort of anticlimactic as it drops off abruptly.
So, in summation, I liked Ultimate Human. There are little flaws and annoying things about the book, but that’s the same reason that I like Bruce and Tony. There are little flaws and annoying things about them too. If it was too polished and boring, we might end up with 13 pages of coffee talk between Mr. Wisdom and his superiors and that would be depressing, no matter how much we learned. I think that at only 4 issues, reading Ultimate Human is worth your time and might even surprise you. You might love it. Casual fans that know little of original continuity and less of Ultimate continuity might want to avoid this one.
~ Scott Deaux ~