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Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #5

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By Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley

According to solicits, it looks like things are going to change for the Ultimate universe (again). Cataclysm has seen Galactus lay waste to everything in his path and is being used as the “catalyst” of said change. It’s been a blast to watch the Ultimate heroes scramble for a solution. Unfortunately, the final issue leaves us with zero resolution and a cheap way to eliminate the threat.

There is a ton of action in this issue. Kitty Pryde is being used as a distraction, while Richards and Stark put their real plan in place. Bendis scripts the action out very well and like previous issues, there is a genuine sense of urgency that oozes from every panel. That’s about where the positives stop.

This issue suffers the way that most Marvel/DC endings to big events do: from no proper ending and having the issue essentially be a solicit for the next big thing. While the story is interesting, it ends very uneventfully. The final defeat of Galactus reads like a massive cop-out. Not only that, but we’re not even sure who survived and who didn’t. There’s too many things left in the air. The only thing we’re told is to go buy the Survive One-Shot in March. If I was a trade waiter, I would be going insane.

Mark Bagley is the unsung hero of the finale. He really works his magic and presents a crisp and clean issue that looks like an Ultimate book should. After all, Bendis and Bagley started this whole shindig in Ultimate Spider-Man. His depiction of Galactus looks wonderful, leading to some really neat splash pages. From an art standpoint, if this was the ending to the Ultimate universe (it’s not), it would be one beautiful way to go.

Cataclysm was fun, so it sucks to see it receive such a lackluster ending. I’m sure we’ll get our answers at some point, but it will come with a cost and more solicits for the future of a universe that should have just ended. The Ultimate universe is more convoluted than the 616, which defeats its original purpose. Why keep it around? Bring Miles over to the regular Marvel U and call it a day.

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