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Post By
Evil G:DR

In Reply To

Subj: ''It's what he does. It's all he does.''
Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:56:51 am EDT
Reply 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.

Ult X-Men under Kirkman initially went for a scattershot approach of throwing plenty of stuff at the wall to see what would stick, from yet another boring Phoenix plot, to more interesting stuff like Sabretooth being Wolverine's son, and the really gutsy moves of Nightcrawler going crazy, and Bishop taking over a team of mostly-new recruits.

And he then proceeded to undo everything he did, and it was crap. Everything built to his final storyline, in which WolverCable had be training Xavier to become Onslaught so they could defeat Apocalypse, and...none of the build up was at relevant, as Apocalypse just owns Chuck anyway, and then Phoenix owns him, in what is presented as a complete mismatch.

As for Ult-FF, yes, it's a competant book under Carey, but not not really anything more, and when we're getting down to Ultimate versions of Agatha Harkness and the Salem's Seven (before the Frightful Four? Seriously? Why?), it's got to be time to call it a day.

Worse, both titles look very much like they were supposed to be handed over to Lobe to begin Ultimatum two months ago, and are just on fill-in duty to pass the time until Ultimates 3 finishes and he finally gets there. And there's nothing worse than a book killing time.

> 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.

It's not that it has "creepy incest scenes with Wolverine watching them", it's that it has Wasp talking like incest is a perfectly acceptable part of modern life, and isn't it great, and only some stuck in the past 1940s man would complain about it?

> 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.

While the earlier miniseries like Ultimate War and Ultimate Six were 'events' that had some bearing on the main books, since then, they've tended to be more for the sake of getting *name of writer* to do a book than anything else, with the exception of Ultimate Origins, which looks to be a bizarre exercise of tying events together, whether they were supposed to be or not.

> 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.

I know it's true, you know it's true, but Marvel has demonstrated a willingness to put it's money behind all-star creative teams who couldn't tell a deadline from a hole in the ground, and an "it'll be ready when it's ready" attitude, regardless of it's impact on franchise comics.

> 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.

In all honesty, I've always believed that the Ultimate books should've run for as long as Millar and Bendis were on them, then they should've just ended, and then Marvel should've relaunched all over again, getting the big new names of the day to start all over again, else the Ultimate line becomes a poor man's version of the original Marvel Universe, building up the very years of backstory it was supposed to be an alternative to.

But yes, failing that, it's better to get writers who are in for the long haul than ones who are here and gone in a year or less. It seems even rarer to get artists sticking on the same book for longer than a year or two these days, and I'm really not sure if that's something about the artists themselves, or if Marvel and DC just like shifting them around from one book to another a lot.

> 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.

The trainwreck appeal of Lobe holds a deathgrip on me, he's consistently churning out comics that are so bad, so hilariously stupid, they're good.

Yes, he's ruining characters every time, from Wolverine, Wild Child and Sabretooth, to Ultimate Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, to Rick Jones, but I'm still reading. I can't help it, I can't look away.

There's a solid argument that between his slowness and his badness, he shouldn't be given ongoing books, nor anything that actually matters, but if he were writing inconsequential miniseries about characters no-one cared about, that would really take the edge off the high, and I need that hit of comics crack. I....I just wanted to feel.

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

a) Starting to write a second Romulus storyline for Wolverine?
b) Busy figuring out who Tension-Sheet Hulk is?
c) He doesn't have to, because he wrote Commando and Teen-Wolf?
d) Nobody knows what Ultimatum is about yet?

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