THE ULTIMATES 2 #100
Writer: Al Ewing
Penciler: Travel Foreman; Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana, & Scott Hanna
Colorist: Dan Brown & Matt Yackey
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Release Date: August 16, 2017
Plot- I’ve said it before, but I’m going to state it once again: The Ultimates is the highest level cosmic book that Marvel has ever done. In the Ultimates #100, the series culminates and comes to a staggering, monumental end. It is the final battle of the cosmos. At this level, combat is but metaphor, and concept becomes struggles to conquer one another. Galactus and his team of powerful cosmic forces, dubbed by him as the Eternity Watch, engage with the Dark Celestials as The Ultimates themselves move in to confront The Maker (alternate reality Reed Richards) and his newly resurrected team of the original Ultimates.
Story: So much about Ultimates #100 is stupefying. First, bringing the series to close by forcing this team of Ultimates to fight the original Ultimates from the alternate Marvel Universe (Ultimate, Earth-1610) is poetry in itself, and a clever move on Ewing’s part. Still, when pitted in battle against one another, the newly resurrected heroes begin to realize something is amiss. Ewing does an excellent job of using small instances to point out the nuanced differences of these characters from their Earth-616 counterparts. I also thought it was a smart move to kill off the Ultimate Captain America, because if we know anything about Secret Empire, we know far too much is going on with that character to complicate it by bringing yet another one into this universe.
The concept of The First Firmament having placed a “virus” in Eternity, and the celestials, cosmic beings (such as Galactus), and heroes like The Ultimates being referred to as “antibodies” to cure such an infection, is extremely compelling. These are the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, and they work together to free Eternity and defeat yet another, past Eternity. Then, outside of all things, lies the Queen of Never, who is essentially the concept of all possibilities. After Eternity frees himself (thanks to his antibodies) she brings forth the Fifth Host of celestials. This is a staple in my mind, because all past incarnations of Celestials mark a major point in time.
Another out of this world concept is the idea of the other, past multiverses not being dead. As they explain, nothing ever really dies. The open ends the question of life and death in the Marvel universe as Ewing shrewdly uses cryptic dialogue and narration to drive this point. We don’t know where the Multiverses come from, nor do we know where they go after they leave, and at this point, why should we? We aren’t talking about the universe, we are talking multiple universes, and furthermore, we are watching them from outside of all things. Nothing is higher level that… or is there?
There isn’t much about this issue I can say I can complain about. If anything, I’d like to have seen more about how T’Challa came to find and confront the Tiger god, as we only got a page or two of him on this mission in the last panel, so some portions, such as that feel a little stunted, but at the end of the day it’s a team book with several things happening at once at the highest level, so given that, it was still very well executed. All the way to the closing narrative with Galactus, as much as I hate to see the series end, I love that it ended so well.
Art- There are a lot of artists listed on this book. I see where it changes from Foreman, but I don’t know who the art belongs to after that. I will say, I think that Foreman does an excellent job with the art in this issue. He’s liberal with his line art, and goes big and extravagant for the cosmic stuff. It fit well. His page spreads were definitely his best work in this book and was easily very visually hooking. I still have reservations from time to time with the way some of the normal human characters look, but that may just be a preference of style thing. It still looks gorgeous.
When the art changes near the end of the book, I can’t say that I’m disappointed, but I didn’t feel particularly impressed either. The work is good, but it’s not quite spectacular, and on the final page of the issue, I think I would’ve wanted to see something more cover quality for the book to end with. Again, it isn’t bad, but I would have liked to see more.
Verdict- Well, The Ultimates 2 and one of my favorite ongoings has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but it was a wild ride. From start to finish it’s been one of my favorite series to pick up on new comic book day. I’m very glad with the way the story ended, and I hope to see these heroes interacting again soon, because wow, they were amazing. A job well done to Ewing and his creative team, and a big thank you for all the hard work on this series.
Star Rating– 4.5 out of 5