Review: ULTIMATES #4


Written By Al Ewing
Art by Kenneth Rocafort & Dan Brown
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 10, 2016

From past to present, Double Doctor Blue Marvel has had a rough time.

From the pages of the last issue, Adam has come face to face with a haunting presence from his past. As he tries to deal with the imminent threat, images of his history flash revealing the depth of the conflict. As Adam experiences a change of heart, machinations from the previous issues are beginning to intercede, with a jaw-dropping figure prodding the Lifebringer into action.

Ultimates #4 was much more emotional than I expected and than the series has been as a whole. Yet it absolutely worked. To have Adam as the forefront of the story, where so far he hasn’t been, while not losing any of the spirit of the series is a major feat. The nature of Adam’s existence also frames the issue, particularly in regard to his friend Conner, which helps with the nonsequential manner of the story within this chapter.

Al Ewing writes an Adam that is incredibly evocative and human. For someone who is a Living Anti-Matter Reactor, he has very real and very human responses to emotional situations. Ewing’s handling of Adam introduces a new side to him without forsaking the aim of the series thus far. Even though the other characters serve a much less prominent role in this issue, their connections to Adam in particular help drive the story. Monica is compassionate, Carol is cautious, and T’Challa is pragmatic, all which help to provide varying perspectives on the events unfolding in this part of the story.

Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown yet again provide a stellar display within Ultimates #4. I like that Rocafort’s work, from panels to characters, help flesh out this story and it’s science-fiction core. Something as simple as the varying panel shapes make this issue incredibly dynamic, and provide a wonderful interplay between the various settings of the story and the action within. Rocafort’s work also helps to elucidate a narrative affected by the disjointed flow of time and memories, providing a physical frame to a mechanic that could easily be confusing or overwhelming.

For this issue, Brown and Rocafort teamed up on colors, and Brown’s signature style is still wonderfully present. I love the vibrant use of hues throughout the issue, from the dark military images to the fantastical elements of the Neutral Zone. Without this color work, Ultimates wouldn’t have its full impact and it surely wouldn’t bring out the subtle and wondrous parts of the characters and the world that surrounds them.

Yet again, I’ve definitely enjoyed an issue of Ultimates. I like where this story is going, and I appreciate that the arc has taken a more emotional turn while still tying in parts of the previous issues. This story is slowly but surely weaving together, but it’s not an excruciating wait. In fact, from start to finish and between every locale, Ultimates delivers on every front. There’s a great mix of action, science, and, in this issue, emotion that is more than enough to keep me on board.

The Verdict: 9.0/10



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