THE ULTIMATES #12
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Christian Ward & Joe Sabino
Released by Marvel Comics
Published Date: October 26, 2016
The five must rescue all that is.
To say that things between Carol and T’Challa are tenuous is an understatement. Meanwhile, the rest of the Ultimates are pursuing lives of promise, love, and joy. Carol takes the time to mend bridges from their ashes as Galactus and Connor explore the nature of themselves and the cosmos, leading to a drastic change for one that will inevitably affect the Ultimates.
Ultimates has been a series that doesn’t hold punches and that has been one of the linchpins of the current Marvel status quo. The mix of characters brought together differing personalities and powersets that had the capacity to alter the Marvel universe. This issue touches on the importance of the team and why its “dissolution” could have drastic effects on the world around it. We get to see how the team is dealing with the consequences of the second superhero Civil War and their efforts to make sense of their actions during the conflict. While this is no definitive ending, it does mark an important shift in the team’s relationships amongst each other and the things external to them.
Al Ewing’s strength for character communication and interaction is on full display. I was absolutely taken away by America and Carol settling their momentary score. This moment was packed with consideration and compassion, revealing that America is steadfast and that Carol truly did have the best intentions. The inclusion of other characters like Adam, Monica, and T’Challa, was its own herald of things to come and of a brief conclusion to the Ultimates as we knew them for the past year. Ewing demonstrates sensitivity in characterization and deft use of plot and framing to give Ultimates #12 an excellent “send off” that sets the tone for the team’s adventures in the aftermath of Civil War II.
Christian Ward is an interesting addition for the visuals of Ultimates. Color stands out the best because it’s used for vivid effects and as the main mechanism which separates characters from the foreground. For the main story, Ward’s work leaves a little to be desired. In many spots, the characters feel nearly amorphous. I can understand the effect of such a technique, but the execution wasn’t what I hoped for this issue. That point aside, Ward excels in capturing subtle nuances in environmental images. The use of shading and minute detail is definitely on point. The absolute best pages of the issue are the beginning and ending pages involving Connor and Galactus. The colors, the creative use of form and outlines, all build to express extraordinarily impressive images. The difference in these pages and those of the core of the story make sense, but I wish most of the art would have capitalized on Ward’s skill at rendering such images.
We are looking at a new age for the Ultimates. This has continued to be the series which mends the storytelling rifts of Civil War II and I admire the series’ ability to humanize each of the team members amidst conflicts. While this age for the team is coming to a close, I’m excited for the next step, because issue twelve helped to remedy the schism between many of the team members in a way that feels realistic and human. A new chapter is in store for the Ultimates, full of promise and cosmic adventure.
The Verdict: 8.5/10