THE ULTIMATES #11
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Kenneth Rocafort, Djibril Morissette, Dan Brown & Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 28, 2016
If you solve a problem like Galactus, you can solve anything, right?
Thanos makes his break with Connor, ultimately leading to a confrontation with the Ultimates. While the team is able to work together, the seeds of dissent are firmly planted, even as Carol explains her own stance on Ulysses and the current superhero dilemma. As their foe lay on the ground, they each wonder if there is any coming back from their present circumstances.
A few notes. For one, this issue makes sense of the recent Civil War II #5, in which the team is shown fighting together. Second, it uncovers more of Carol’s motivations and provides a starkly different context to her behavior in the event and the Ultimates tie-in thus far. I continue to be amazed at how this series gives much more intimate and thoughtful background to Carol in contrast to the main event. Tensions are running high, but from that come amazing dialogue that continues to set Ultimates apart as a series.
Al Ewing’s handling of this team is truly a sight to behold. Minus some confusing continuity gaffes in the beginning of the issue, the story is completely solid. I like how the characters move and talk to each other, how they are willing to lay down the line to protect each other while still holding each other accountable. Ewing’s mastery of the Ultimates has helped to cement them as an important team based on its members and its role within the Marvel universe. The final pages deliver a gut wrenching struggle for the characters to make sense of what’s going on, which I feel elevates the series to a place where it challenges ideals and the characters’ relationships with others.
I’m surprised, but the changes in art didn’t work for me during this issue. I like both Kenneth Rocafort and Djibril Morissette’s styles because of their ability to convey different feelings. To some extent, these switches worked in Ultimates #11, but many of them felt as though they happened at breakneck pace, though I can somewhat see what they were trying to evoke. Make no mistake: both artists are truly exceptional, but I feel this issue could have benefitted from either more deliberate switching between styles or less switching. In a series which has continued to provide stellar art, I think such decisions may need more planning. That being said, I do grasp the utility of Morissette taking up much of the art in the issue. Lines are soft and much more fluid, allowing the story to capitalize on characters’ reactions. Rocafort on the other hand uses a graphic style which emphasizes fine detail, enhancing the brief pages where characters interact with others’ minds.
Dan Brown’s ability to keep up with shifting art styles is a testament to the power of color and its role in a story. In Morissette’s scenes, colors are much less intense, even as the characters use their powers, which works well with emotional moments. Brown displays much more intensity in color when Rocafort is behind the pen, solving some of my own issues with the changing styles and highlighting important elements within these pages.
I appreciate Ultimates’ ability to properly utilize its creative team in most cases to tell a story that isn’t lost to the goings-on of a major event. This story continues to feel as though it is a growth from the very first issue, and even the conflict between the team members feels organic and natural to the story. I highly recommend this issue if you want to understand Carol in a way that isn’t basic character assassination.
The Verdict: 8.5/10