I’m not sure what happened with the Ultimate line of comics from Marvel, they charged into the early 00’s with innovative character redesigns and realistic re-tellings of Marvels greatest, unburdened with years of continuity. When they did Ultimates, the Avengers of this universe it was done with such cinematic imagination by Mark Millar it was an amazing breath of fresh air. Then something happened… Ultimates 3 knocked the wind out of the franchise with the worst set of stories ever, no thats unfair. Ultimatum in the hands Jeph Loeb did that and basically destroyed the credibility of the Ultimates universe. But this review isn’t about Jeph Loeb, but maybe it is? Because thats what I feel when I read Ultimates new mini-series Captain America.
Now, the premise of this story is good, Cap runs into the Vietman era Cap, another deep secret that only the Director of Shield knew about. More secrets from the super solider files are uncovered, and everything is not as it seems. The creative team of Jason Aaron and Ron Garney have a proven track record, so what is my problem with this book? The artwork is nice, dynamic and tells a story, at least half the dialog is a return to Millars Ultimate Captain America and thats the good thing.
You see Ultimate Captain America is a harder edged Steve Rodgers, not as kind or considerate as Marvels 616 counterpart. This Steve is a product of his time, a man of the 40’s shaped by war. Sure he is cocky, a little arrogant, but underneath he still had the nobility of the Cap we know, and strong sense of no nonsense get the job done about him. And I think thats the problem, the other half of the dialog is straight out of Jeph Loeb’s Ultimates 3 Cap, and that Cap is a complete dick, a show boater and nothing like the Millar Cap we enjoyed.
So did I like the issue? I’m on the fence, the story is good, Cap goes to North Korea to stop a super-soldier program and runs into another Cap, who seems to be stronger, faster and even more disillusioned than him. Why Shield didn’t use their Black Ops team for this I don’t know, make more sense than sending in someone who would be directly effected by what he found. Art work though is fun and expressive from start to finish, although I did feel that Cap should of been a little bit bigger, he explosive action is all there. It’s let down only by the fact that this isn’t just Millar’s Cap, its Loeb’s Cap, and frankly I don’t think the Ultimates Cap is a strong enough character to support his own run. Sorry, Cap is noble, even in this universe and that is forgotten.
Sadly this was Ultimates last gasp with me, the entire line seems to be going south. Ultimate Avengers was poor, New Ultimates seemed rudderless and I’m too far behind on Ultimate Spiderman, the flagship of this line, to even have an opinion on it right now.
In with a bang, going out with a whimper… Ultimates Captain America will get one more issue out of me before it goes the way of Nemesis.