Shiny Shelf

Ultimate New Ultimates: Thor Reborn

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 18 August 2011

I have been catching up on my comic book reading. And by ‘catching up’ I mean that I’m finally getting around to reading some comics that I’ve had my eye on for a while but for whatever reason (work, kids, time, zombie apocalypse) haven’t had a chance to get to.

I used to love the Ultimate universe; Marvel’s foray into re-imagining their classic characters with updated origins and for a new generation of readers was a wonderful concept.

Series such as ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ and ‘Ultimate X-Men’ set a standard for great storytelling and fresh perspectives on well-worn franchises. And things were going pretty strong for the first few years, but somewhere along the way, the line got stale and then went off the rails.

This was never more obvious than with their ‘Ultimatum’ event, which had a hefty death toll (including heavyweights such as Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, Daredevil, and more) and promised to change the Ultimate universe forever.

I read different online forums and ‘Ultimatum’ drew the ire of comic book fans from (apparently) every corner.  So when the Ultimate range was relaunched after ‘Ultimatum’, I had some trepidation in reading ‘New Ultimates’, considering it was written by the same guy who brought us the former series, Jeph Loeb.

Thankfully, either because I had such low expectations or by mere happenstance, I rather enjoyed ‘New Ultimates’.

Sure, it’s not a perfect story; not even close. There are some plot holes or leaps in logic (such as Loki – in internal monologue – claiming he’s just doing what he does because he likes screwing with Thor, yet later is about to strike Thor down from behind) and the dialogue can be a wooden at times. Captain America just seems a little too harsh with Valkyrie. This and other little things give the story a weak sauce feel.

Despite this, Loeb is able to make it work, and at the very least the story is entertaining, in a mindless widescreen sort of way. There are also enough ’shock’ moments that keep the reader interested, and a few inside jokes will bring a smile to the dedicated Avengers fan.

Frank Cho’s artwork is excellent, and compliments Loeb’s widescreen storytelling. Cho’s art is very fluid, with a flare that grabs you on every page.  He does so without being cartoony or over the top. The cinematic quality of this artwork is a huge reason why I read comics; when pages look this good, it is easy to forgive some of the story’s shortcomings.

‘New Ultimates’ doesn’t live up to the standard set by Millar and Hitch’s original two ‘Ultimates’ series, but why should it have to? This is an entirely different beast. Loeb isn’t trying to be overly ambitious with this story. Considering the albatross that was ‘Ultimatum’, that might be a good thing.

Line Break

By Julio Angel Ortiz

Julio Angel Ortiz maintains his collection of curiosities at You can also Like him on Facebook as well and check out his latest writing projects.

One Response

  1. [...] at pop culture site Shiny Shelf, my latest article has gone live. This time I review the Marvel graphic novel New Ultimates: Thor Reborn. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]