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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Comic Review - Ultimate Enemy 1-4

Title/Storyline
Ultimate Enemy 1-4
Publish Date/Year
2010
Creative Team
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Rafa Sandoval
Publisher
Marvel

Story
Ultimate Enemy is part of a 3 part trilogy to be read in the following order:
- Ultimate Enemy
- Ultimate Mystery
- Ultimate Doom

Ultimate Enemy takes place right after the previous Big Ultimate Universe event - Ultimatum (I have not read that as yet, so, it may have a bearing on my judgment of this story)

Spider-Girl, when patrolling the corporation that created her (as she is Spiderman's clone), is suddenly faced with a giant explosion with a colossal blob montrousity!

One by one, the heroes seem to be under a coordinated alien attack by some super-powered armored alien black-ops powerhouses - Reed Richards,Nick Fury, Ben and Sue (the Baxter Building), etc.

The heroes consolidate and manage to capture 1 member of this alien strike team fro interrogation.

On top of that, there are other major developments as well - such as Reed Richards being killed in the alien attack(!!) and the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing shedding his rocky skin to become something that looks like the Ultimate version of Capt Universe (anyone remember him?) among other things (no pun intended ;)).
Art
At times, Rafa Sandoval's art reminds me of Stuart Immonen & Carlos Pacheco, at times a little of Ryan Sook (BTW, what has happened to him? I really miss his work!) and a bit of Olivier Coipel & Steve McNiven thrown in for good measure!

Not bad but a little unpolished but you can see his talent. However, having said that, there are some panels that appear to be rushed (not sure if that's his fault or the inker's)

Overall
OK, it's my fault that I have not caught up on what's happened in Ultimatum, but I still maintain that Bendis seems to have lost his touch somewhat as I found it a little hard to relate to the characters - not Fury, Sue Storm, Carol Danvers, Capt marvel, et al. I say this because I really enjoyed his work in Daredevil & Spider-Woman (see http://tiny.cc/8vdny). Well, I hope he bounces back soon! The other reason could be due to the fact that the differences between the Marvel Universe proper and the Ultimate Universe can get downright confusing sometimes.

I mean, in Ultimate Mystery, even Bendis himself (plus his editors as well) got so confused that he wrote the Roxxon Hiring Manager referring to Spider-Girl's infiltration ID (Dr. Julia Carpenter) as Jessica, which is her real name, instead of Julia.

No explanation is given for the Thing's transformation or how/why Rick Jones had been made into some sort of Universal Protector (OK - I later found out that he's the Nova of the Ultimate Universe chosen by the Ultimate Watchers and given super-powers).

Anyway, I personally think that having a cover price of USD3.99 per 22-page issue is too steep for a story that spans 12 issues (despite the clever marketing ploy to segment them into 3 separate 4-issue mini-series)

Movie Review - Thor

Movie Title
Thor

Year
2011

Genre
Action, Comic Adaptation,

Story
The 9 realms had finally achieved peace after Asgard finally defeated the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. This fragile treaty was almost shattered when several Frost Giants managed to magically find their way to Asgard's Armory - where the deadliest of weapons and artifacts are kept - but were judiciously dealt with by the Destroyer - a formidable Armor/Weapon Odin created as Asgard's protector.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Prince of Asgard, brash and sure of his might, with his loyal friends - the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg), Sif and Loki, were adamant in teaching the Frost Giants a lesson in
a demonstration of Asgard's power despite Odin (Anthony Hopkins)'s objections. When Thor and his party were trapped in Jotunheim, Odin intervenes to save them.

Odin was much displeased with Thor's immaturity and lack of diplomacy in handling the situation and thought it proper for Thor to learn a few lessons in humility and responsibility while exiled on Earth (or Midgard as Asgardians call it).

Just as Odin was about to uncover Loki's treachery, he goes into the Odinsleep - where he recuperates from having expended too much of his power. Hence, as Odin's wife, Frigga, insists on being by his side in Odin's chambers while he slept, Loki had, by default, become King of Asgard where his insidious schemes and machinations can finally bear fruit.

Meanwhile on Earth, Thor was deemed a loony as no one believes he was indeed the God of Thunder despite his single mindedness in being re-united with his magical hammer - Mjolnir. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) seems to the be only person who has a shred of belief in Thor's delusional claims and helps him retrieve Mjolnir in time for him to thwart Loki's plans and save Asgard.

Acting
I guess enough has already been said about how well Hemsworth had played Thor's role and how the ladies were poring over his shirtless scenes.

Well, I have to agree that he did really immerse himself into the role and it convincingly enough to keep not only audiences but fanboys happy!

I thought that casting Jaimie Alexander as Sif & Ray Stevenson as Volstagg weren't the best choices but audiences seemed to like them.

Overall
It was a little bit of a surpirse for fans to see Heimdall as a black man as altho' they had done the same thing Nick Fury before and it worked! However, it Fury's case, it was still based on the Ultimate universe's version. In this case, neither the Marvel Universe nor the Ultimate Universe versions were black.

Fanboy gripe - I found it really disappointing that the Destroyer got its butt handed to him so soundly so quickly! This was because I was really pumped when I saw him in the trailers. From the Thor books, the Destroyer (and Kurse being the other that I can recall) is one of the very few enemies that could slap Thor around and get away with it.
KURSE
The other gripe was of course the exclusion of Balder in the movie. Of course, the Hollywood producers can't be faulted because there is just too much continuity to cover in under 2 hours. Overall, despite Balder's absence, it was still a pretty good watch.

Hawkeye! Did anyone besides fanboys even knew that that was Hawkeye? They could've given him a little intro to let audiences in on how bad-ass he can be, but in the movie, he made absolutely no impact whatsoever. Moreover, could they have picked an uglier guy than Jeremy Renner to play the dashing & suave Hawkeye? C'mon!
ODIN
Lastly, as if you didn't know it already, Thor, along with Iron Man, Capt America & Hulk, are all leading up to next year's Avengers movie. Hence, do stay back for a lead-in teaser sequence after the credits have stopped rolling.