By Michel Fiffe, Amilcar Pinna & Nolan Woodard
After the battle with Galactus and subsequent shake up of the Ultimate Universe, which you can check out in the Cataclysm line of titles that came out a few months back, there’s a new group of Ultimates in town! New, young and inexperienced, for the most part, to be exact, who are seemingly led by Black Widow, formerly Spider-Woman. On paper, the assembled group sounds pretty good: Black Widow, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Cloak, Dagger and Bombshell, but the first issue isn’t as convincing. Oh, and speaking of Black Widow, hopefully next issue we get some insight to the name change and complete overall to her costume because it kind of seemed to come out of left field. I guess the assumption is that it’s a new beginning, but there really seemed to be no point behind it.
Understandably, Michel Fiffe has a lot of information to catch people up with and a short time to do it if you consider the amount of good books on the shelves and people’s attention spans or tolerance for books that are just “okay”. For the most part, Fiffe does a good job with at least giving the reader a general idea of who these teenagers are and why they’re together but this might be another case where Marvel should have done a larger issue, at the same price of course, just to get more into the book without rushing things or being too wordy. There’s just a lot going on and without any prior knowledge, or even just the knowledge from Brian Michael Bendis’ last Ultimate Spider-Man run, it might be too much for some people to take in and ultimately, no pun intended, a new reader just might feel lost.
On the art side of things, handled by Amilcar Pinna and colorist Nolan Woodard, there’s a bit of a different story. As the book progresses, the art does seem to get better, but the first handful of pages suffer from feeling rushed and unfortunately pull the reader out of the story to try and figure out the art. Ganke, Miles Morales friend and school roommate, in particular looks off and if they didn’t explain who he was it’s possible for a reader to just mistake him for some unfortunate victim of a typical New York mugging. Granted he was mugged by what one can only really describe as mutants, but we’ll call it typical for the Ultimate Marvel universe. Some of those first few pages were, really, hard to get past but as mentioned before, it does improved as the story goes on. Whether Pinna is just becoming more comfortable with the characters twenty pages in or was less rushed, or whatever, there is definite improvement. For his part, Nolan Woodard does a great job with colors and, really, there’s nothing to nitpick or complain about. If anything, Woodard’s colors helped to salvage some of the art earlier on and what more could you ask of a colorist if not that?
Was All-New Ultimates enjoyable? Sure, it was interesting to see the start of another big chapter in the Ultimate Universe but it’s off to a bit of a shaky start. For those that know what’s going on, or rather what’s recently gone on, with the Ultimate U then you should be okay and hopes are high that the coming issues will be an improvement on this one. If you’re new to the Ultimate U, it’s debatable what you’ll get out of this but it’s worth a shot if you’re curious. Either way, here’s hoping to a good follow up issue because this series, really, has a lot of potential that I’d hate to see wasted.