It wasn’t that long ago that most people thought the Ultimate Universe was doomed and being written out of existence, but we were wrong, it’s come back with some potentially very interesting books, one of them being Ultimate FF.
Here’s my take on the first arc, running issues #1-3.
The 1610 Universe has a problem, an anomaly threatens the very existence of the universe itself. The Future Foundation is on site to try to save it, headed by director Phil Coulson, founder Susan Storm and funded by Tony Stark, this team of brilliant scientists tries to figure out how to correct the anomaly and save their universe. Helping are Machine Man, Falcon and a host of unimportant and totally disposable background characters.
Now the Ultimate Universe is quite a bit different than the regular 616 universe, lots of very different things have happened and, of course, lots of characters have had some very different takes. That’s usually a good thing, one of my biggest complaints in the early UU days was that the writers were just taking things that happened in the 616 universe, put a little spin on them and threw them into the new continuity. It was easier than actually writing original stories, it was just a big “What If?” generator and that wasn’t all that exciting. Over time they learned to just do whatever they wanted, completely separate from what had happened in classic Marvel comics and that was actually a good thing. That said though, this is ostensibly a Fantastic Four book without the majority of the Fantastic Four and of the FF, Sue Storm is the one I’ve always liked least so there’s no points there.
Honestly though, everyone quips like crazy here, even in the midst of a life and death situation, they’re all making puns like there’s no tomorrow. Spider-Man got away with it, Tony Stark was okay in the movies doing it, but here it’s everyone and it’s really annoying. In fact, when they bring in Doctor Doom and everyone says he’s so horrible, he’s the only one taking any of this stuff seriously! Besides, in the first issue, they send in Doom only as a very last resort from his supposed imprisonment, there’s no reason whatsoever to make him a permanent part of the team, but there he is in issue #2 on another mission!
So the story by Josh Fialkov is nothing to be proud of, what about the art? The art isn’t either. Artists Mario Guevara and Tom Grummett, along with inker Juan Vlasco and colorist Rachel Rosenberg, do nothing impressive here. I don’t think it’s stylistic either, characters dramatically change form from panel to panel, making me think that it isn’t a lack of comfort with the characters, but a lack of artistic skill. Note that I purposely stopped before issue #4 when Andre Araujo took over because his art, sorry, just sucks rancid monkey balls.
And, of course, I’m not the only one who thinks so, which is why this series has just been cancelled. I’m not against having an Ultimate FF title but this just isn’t it. Adios Ultimate FF, you won’t be missed.