Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ultimate X = Ultimate Trash

I've read my share of comics and I've always tried to be reasonable and objective in my assessment of a story. Even when I read a comic that has a premise I don't necessarily agree with, I still give it a chance and I try to be as thoughtful and insightful as I can. But every once in a while a comic will come along where my efforts just aren't enough. Every once in a while a comic will just show up that pisses me off in ways the Hulk would find disturbing. Well to my misfortune, that comic has come and it's called Ultimate X.

I've been very jaded about the Ultimate universe ever since the onset of Ultimatum. This gory, snuff film caliber trash heap was a pile of horse shit submerged in donkey piss coated in elephant jizz. It's not enough that a writer has to flat out destroy everything in a series. They have to practically butcher the characters, having no heart and no depth and no compassion for any of these characters that so many people deeply love. Ultimate X doesn't only rub salt in the wound, it jabs a red hot ice pick into it tipped with cobra venom and twists it.

Writer Jeph Loeb recently did an interview about Ultimate X for Newsarama.

Jeph Loeb Picks up the Pieces in Ultimate X

In it he flat out admits that Ultimatum was a Michael Bay film. I weep for Michael Bay. He does not deserve that kind of association. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had a mountain range more substance than Ultimatum or Ultimate X for that matter. It's one thing to basically admit there was nothing of substance behind a story. It's quite another to have the gall to say you're taking a new path and putting it back together.

Are you serious? Putting it back together? The characters were fucking butchered! How do you put that shit back together? You would need all the magic of Jesus, Buddha, Zeus, Thor, Odin, Yawah, Eywa (Avatar god), and the Allah to even make it resemble a pile of shit again! Ultimate X tries to make itself seem relevant, but it ultimately fails and I do mean ultimately.

The premise of the book is about as original as a Xerox machine. A new character is introduced named Jimmy Howlett. He's the son of Wolverine (only not as interesting as Daken or even X-23). Kitty shows up and reveals that Wolverine is his father, he has claws, and that he's supposed to take up the Wolverine mantle. That's about it. There's nothing else very novel about it. Granted, the story is well-crafted, well-drawn, and well-told. But it's about as exciting as a kick in the balls. If you read Ultimatum you can't help but think "they had to kill damn near everybody for this shit?!" If you haven't you can't help but think "wait a second is this another cheap knockoff of Superman?"

It's sad, but true. You can't expect anything less from a former Superman writer. Is this really all they could come up with? Jimmy was an adopted child, found out he had powers one day, and learned from a hologram that his real father was an important figure and he has to take up his mantle. That's basically the same origins as Superman. If I wanted to read that story I would fucking read Superman! In fact, there's a series going on right now called Superman Origins by Geoff Johns that actually tells this EXACT same story in a much better, much more coherent way. It's the Hope Diamond compared to a hunk of fossilized dinosaur shit.

The worst part of all is that this story could just have easily been told WITHOUT Ultimatum with very few adjustments. If that's all the writers can do after horribly destroying everything in the Ultimate universe then something's wrong with them. Now I want to condemn Jeph Loeb for this travesty, but I can't blame him completely as so many others do. He was not alone in the travesty that was Ultimatum. The editors allowed it and Bendis and Miller supported it. They're basically cohorts and accessories to the mind raping of every Ultimate comics fan that ever lived. Yet they have the balls to think this will inject new life into the line? New life that comes from killing all the characters that made it great and replacing them with half-rate look-a-likes that have the depth of a mud puddle on Everest? If I didn't know any better I would say they're flushed this out during their lunch break. I see stoners on LSD more motivated than the effort in Ultimate comics. There aren't enough drugs in Michael Jackson's medicine cabinet to make this story entertaining on any level. If the writers had any decency they wouldn't waste great art talent like Art Adams and restart the whole series.

Ultimatum was the worst comic I ever read. Ultimate X is like that serial rapist who comes back while you're still recovering and has their way with you again just for good measure. I would send this book on a fishing trip with Scott Peterson before I recommend it to anybody. I wouldn't use it to wipe the ass of a rhino with diarrhea out of respect for both the ass and the diarrhea. Ultimate deserves a special spot on the wall of shame right next to the Clone Saga and One More Day.

And yet, I try to leave room for hope. I can only imagine that at some point the loss of so many characters is going to catch up with Ultimate and the replacements just won't be able to hack it. Sooner or later, Wolverine fans will be too tough to ignore and someone is going to have to be brought back. Ultimate X can redeem itself. All comics can redeem themselves. I will give it that chance and if it does, I will eat every word the same way I eat a cheese pizza. But Ultimate dug a HUGE hole for itself with Ultimatum. It has a LONG way to go to get back. I can only hope 616 maintains it's quality or else DC will be getting more of my money. I do not look forward to that day. I still remember fondly looking forward to every Ultimate release. I want to be able to do that again. It would be a shame if all those glorious Ultimate X-men and Ultimate Spider-Man graphic novels I bought were for nothing.

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