Thursday, August 21, 2014

All-New X-men #31 Preview - Ultimate Frustrations

I look at Marvel’s Ultimate universe the same way I look at Chernobyl. It’s a once lively place that has since become a desolate wasteland of death that's only good for shitty horror movies and shitty Die Hard movies. It’s like a dog that should have been put down years ago, but a handful of people are still sentimental enough about it to keep it on life support. Anyone who thinks Ultimate Marvel would still be going on if Brian Michael Bendis weren’t still writing Ultimate Spider-Man is smoking way more potent shit than me. That being the case, I would like those people to meet me at a Baltimore strip club this Saturday if possible.

But Ultimate Spider-Man alone has not been enough to make people give enough fucks about Ultimate. After its third re-launch in five years, one of its three titles have already been canceled and the November 2014 solicits strongly imply that another is getting axed after just 12 issues. It’s really fucking pathetic. It’s like Jeff Goldblum trying to stay relevant. There was a time when it was a hot name, but that time is way fucking over. Now in order to squeeze out what few fucks fans have left to give, Marvel is trying another crossover event. Apparently the final issue of Cataclysm selling only 25k wasn’t a clear enough sign that that even the power of Galactus can’t do anything to revitalize this decaying piece of shit. But this time, they’re taking only a marginally different approach. They’re having the All-New X-men crossover with Ultimate in hopes that its top selling mojo will rub off. Sure, it’s like trying to get rich by bathing in condoms used by Donald Trump, but Ultimate is just that desperate.

I could go on and on about how shitty Ultimate Marvel has become. I’ve done it on this blog plenty of times and even blacked out afterwards because it really is that frustrating. But All-New X-men has shown time and again that it can make the best of seemingly shitty situations. It also showed that it can actually pull off a crossover in a way that feels awesome and relevant. The Trial of Jean Grey showed that O5 X-men have more to offer than just insight the fucked up mind of teenaged time travelers. It also helps that Brian Michael Bendis wrote both All-New X-men and Guardians of the Galaxy. Now we’ll see if he can work the same magic with Ultimate. If he pulls this off, Harry Houdini himself will have to rise from the grave and kiss Bendis’ ass.

The first step in the process is to get the O5 X-men to the perpetual shit storm of suck that is Ultimate. A preview released by Newsarama shows just that without getting too overwhelmed by the lingering stench from Cataclysm.

• ICEMAN UNLEASHED! Young Bobby Drake takes to the offensive!
• For someone who’s said she doesn’t find him particularly pleasant to be around, Laura seems to have taken an odd interest in Warren.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

It’s not much, but it actually does go to the trouble of detailing the circumstances of this crossover. It plays directly off the events of Cataclysm and does so in a way that spares readers the indignation of having to read such a mediocre story. All anyone needs to know is that there was a portal to 616 that allowed Galactus to enter the Ultimate universe. Now someone is fucking with that portal again from the 616 side and the O5 X-men are likely going to get caught up in it.

While my stomach still churns at the idea of another shitty Ultimate story, I am smoking an extra joint or two to help me stay optimistic. Ultimate as a whole is shit, but Brian Micheal Bendis still puts the necessary effort to make it feel less shitty through Miles Morales. That’s way more than anyone else has been able to say since the Bush Administration. He cares enough about the Ultimate universe to wade through the rivers of shit that have overflowed this once fertile plain of awesome and I believe he can use what he’s accomplished in All-New X-men to make it at least slightly less shitty.

More than anything else, this crossover is a chance to show the O5 that as shitty as their future may be, it’s nothing compared to how shitty Ultimate has become. Ultimate is a world where mutants are failed science experiments, are on the brink of extinction, and are relegated to living in what amounts to a shitty nature preserve in the desert. They really don’t have anything going for them whatsoever. They have no future and no hope unless their name is Kitty Pryde. This is especially true for O5 Jean Grey, who will hopefully encounter a version of herself that never died yet still became a monster that nobody likes or trusts anymore. By the end of this crossover, the O5 X-men will have no more excuses to bitch and moan about their future. No matter how bad it turned out for some of them, it’s not even a fraction as shitty as what happened in Ultimate. Nuff said!

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