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Subj: Ultimatum discussion (spoilers for Ultimate books) or Why does Loeb keep ruining comics?
Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 09:54:05 pm EDT

The Ultimate line was basically what got be back into comics. I can read Ultimate Spider-Man, and most of the issues of Ultimate X and the FF, back to back, and still greatly enjoy the stories. In fact, I'm currently doing that now.

But to truely understand and be able to state my concerns for the state of the Ultimate Universe, I think I should lay out how it started:

It started with one writer and eventually became around 3 writers managing the 5 titles. And not only did this allow for consistent quality, but it means there weren't a lot of dropped sub-plots, and the mini series were generally written by the same people doing the actual titles (See Ultimate War, Ultimate Six). It created a strong sense of not only quality and long term planning, but also of a connection with all the titles in SHIELD and the search for the serum that created Captain America.

And then some problems set in: The delays on Ultimates meant that the other titles were heavily restricted on how they could use characters in that title or even reference what was going on. And while it's hard to follow the act that Millar and Vaughn put on in Ultimate X-Men, Kirkman introduced a lot that ultimately let nowhere, reverting everything back to normal with any recent characterization dropped. I can't speak much for the FF title, but Mike Carey has been there for about two years and his writing is generally good. However, I've heard that the title has basically shifted to the basic 616 of "Team goes in intergalactic/dimensional adventure" which sounds slightly dissapointing.

And then Ultimates 3 hit. Nevermind that it shows blatant disregard for continuity and characterization. That characters are just randomly thrown in for absolutely no reason at all. That it follows the same murder mystery plot that every Jeph Loeb story follows. Or that it just spells out creepy incest scenes. Or that it's just plain bad. But as a build up to Ultimatum, it serves as a beginning point to destruct and (hopefully) re-build this universe, but re-building isn't exactly what's needed. Just some restructuring.

1. The minis have been good, sometimes bad, but most of them lead nowhere and are never heard from again. Keep the minis to a minimum and make sure that they're released in a timely manner and the writers and editors of the mini know what is going on in the Ultimate Universe at the time.

2. Find a good writer and quick, decent artist for Ultimates, or short of that, stop publishing Ultimates. I hate this new trend of having an all star creative team that's constantly late and has almost no relevant interaction with the rest of the universe (see Astonishing X-Men). Timelieness needs to be emphasized, and you can't have interaction if one creative team is dragging everybody else down.

3. Keep writers for the long term and have their run tie in to some way to previous runs. Kirkman, Bendis, Vaughn, and Millar all dealt with Wolverine's past in Ultimate X-Men, for example, and quite well.

4. And for Pete's sake, get rid of Loeb. We don't need the same crap that's being pushed in (Red) Hulk and that crappy Wolverine arc into the Ultimate Universe. It doesn't need to be decimated, it just needs consistent support.

Why isn't the writer of Ultimatum at a panel about Ultimatum?

Thanks for listening to/reading my rant. Thoughts are welcome.

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