This is the third and final side-story to the Cataclysm storyline, this one featuring the Ultimates and how they deal with Galactus and his Swarms as they come to Earth.
The unfortunate reality is that all of these Cataclysm side stories really read like cash grabs, they aren’t really necessary to understand the Cataclysm storyline. It’s Marvel’s way of saying “hey, want to know what’s going on with this set of characters while Cataclysm is hapening? Pay us!”
That doesn’t mean these stories are necessarily bad, just that they aren’t necessary, the’re clear filler and I hate filler. But let’s see how this mini fared, shall we?
While the Howling Commandos are fighting against civilians infected by the Gah Lak Tus Swarm and generally losing, they finally have to turn to their secret weapon, the Hulk, to bring the beat down, but what happens when he gets infected as well? Yeah, everyone is pretty much screwed. In fact, the Gah Lak Tus cult is consumed with helping Galactus to destroy the world and they’re racking up some power players that give Nick and crew a heck of a challenge, especially when you realize that they’re really losing the whole time. When only Fury, Dugan and Danny Ketch remain, they discover that the leader of the cult, Tarleton, who is really the Ultimate version of M.O.D.A.K., is getting Reed Richards’ City of Tomorrow ready to welcome the destroyer of worlds, Galactus, to Earth. Will it take the ultimate sacrifice to stop them?
I will admit that this mini has a slightly different take on the Ultimates. Grouping the Hulk, Dum Dum Dugan, the Punisher, Nick Fury, Abigail Brand, Sam Wilson, Danny Ketch, Emil Blonsky and Hercules together is certainly an interesting mix and because a lot of these people are not the Ultimates that we think of, they act more like a covert team than the heavy hitters we’re used to. It’s especially fun to see most of them become unwitting agents of the Swarm, that’s a perspective that we don’t see that often in comics.
One other interesting bit of the whole Galactus “end of the world” thing is how people would react to such a thing and the idea that people would join a cult dedicated to “Gah Lak Tus” and celebrate Armageddon is certainly an interesting one.
I will admit, this is a fun mini-series, it’s one of the few that I would recommend out of Cataclysm and, believe it or not, it’s a story that can stand largely on it’s own outside of the Cataclysm continuity. My only real problem was the clear addition of Agent Coulson into the story by Marvel suits, there was no need for him to appear, it seems like he’s being inserted into just about every Avengers-esque story these days and enough is really enough. Come on, they survived for 50 years without Coulson, believe it or not they can make it through a mini-series without his help. I also really liked the reveal at the end of issue #5, which I am not going to spoil (yeah, sometimes I actually don’t spoil everything, imagine that) but I will say I really appreciated it.
While I will admit that the Cataclysm storyline is, overall, a bust, this was a really fun read with characters we don’t often see in situations we rarely encounter. If you read only one mini-series out of the Cataclysm tale, make it this one.