In this new series starring the Ultimate Universe’s take on The Avengers, a highly evolved group of super beings, The Children of Tomorrow, have not only demolished a huge chunk of Europe slaughtering thousands, but actually destroyed Asgard, killing all of the Norse gods!  Powerless, Thor, wearing a power suit designed by Tony Stark, enters The Children’s base The City, facing certain death, to exact his revenge.

However, upon entering The City, he finds it empty except for a gestation chamber where a Nurse is nurturing tubes containing the next generation of Children of Tomorrow.  He leaves the fetuses intact and departs to find Captain Britain, the sole survivor of the European version of The Ultimates.  The leader of the Children of Tomorrow, referred to simply as The Maker approaches, heavily guarded and asks Thor to deliver a message to the outside world.  Thor has other plans, however and plans to vindicate Asgard and its inhabitants.  The Children of Tomorrow are too powerful for this now-mortal warrior and one member, First Knife strikes him down repeatedly.  But as The Maker explains, “If I were a villain– if I were evil– I would have The Knife kill you, Thor… instead, I have mercy.”  He tells Thor that The City has reached its maximum size, meaning that it won’t continue growing or causing any more harm.  He says that only The Children are welcome there.  He wants a truce, basically.  He also reveals to Thor, his true identity, which should come as a shock to Marvel/Ultimate readers!

Thor is on the verge of giving up, however until he is visited by the spirits of his deceased Asgardians, who give him the god of pep talks.  Thor returns to The Dome and briefs Nick Fury and the other Ultimates on his findings, including the true identity of The Maker.

The Ultimates has always been the R-Rated, no-training wheels version of The Avengers and that continues in this new series.  Not hampered with the need to maintain the status quo and honor decades of continuity, the creators here have free reign to push these alternate takes on classic characters in new dramatic directions that keep readers on the edge of their seats!  The destruction of Asgard and all of the gods, robbing Thor of his powers is the biggest “Oh sh*t!” moment since Peter Parker’s death!

This issue works well as the finale of this storyline, but the big reveal indicates that this certainly isn’t over.  As far as the writing, it reads well.  It can’t compete with some of the earlier runs on this title by Bendis or Loeb, but it’s strong enough on its own.  The grandeur of The Children’s onslaught in prior issues, is certainly in keeping with the over-the-top conflicts in the past.  The big twist is a stroke of genius!  The dialogue is decent enough, but is just sort of there.  Nothing particularly exceptional about it.

One thing that bugs me a tiny bit about this new take on The Ultimates, is how little the characters actually work together.  Thor basically flies solo this issue.  Captain America is actually missing.  I suppose this could be looked at as a departure of the traditional team storyline, where the troops all rally at the end to combine their might against their foe.  The fact that this storyline doesn’t culminate in a battle at all is even a bold move.  So maybe on second thought, I should applaud Jonathan Hickman’s daring choices!

The art is very nice.  It’s clean, great storytelling.  The sequence with the Asgardians is very well rendered and highly detailed.  A really good job!  Nothing to complain about.

‘The Ultimates’ has been written and drawn by some of the biggest names in comics, so it’s got quite a lot to live up to.  I said before that this new book doesn’t live up to Bendis and Loeb’s runs and it doesn’t, but that doesn’t make it bad!  It’s a really well-done book, but it doesn’t bowl me over like some other titles, so therefore…

Verdict: Borrow

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic
Cover by Karre Andrews