Ultimates V2 Homeland Security TP Millar Hitch


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The Ultimates Vol. 2: Homeland Security Paperback
by Mark Millar (Author), Bryan Hitch (Art)

Still dealing with the aftermath of the Hulk’s rampage through NYC, and Giant Man’s attack on the Wasp, the team “welcomes” new members Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and begins to uncover a clandestine alien infiltration of Earth decades in the making.

After managing to take down the Hulk, the government sponsored superhero team called the Ultimates have run into some problems. A shape changing alien race, which are responsible for some of humanity’s worst moments (Captain America fought them in World War II) are once again rearing their head to wipe out humanity…

Collects The Ultimates V. 1, #7-13.

Publisher Marvel
Paperback 192 pages
ISBN-13 978-0785110781
Weight 12.7 ounces
Dimensions 6.6 x 0.5 x 10.1 inches

Following their nihilistic run on The Authority, Millar and Hitch turn their attention to reinventing the Avengers, the Mightiest Heroes of Marvel’s Earth, into a more contemporary, less optimistic team. As is the current superhero fashion, actions have consequences, and super powers don’t confer super ethics. The Hulk is now a lustful mass murderer; Giant-Man, a wife-beater; and Thor, a deranged left-wing hippie. Under the leadership of government tough guy Nick Fury, this ultimate team takes on an alien invasion that goes back three centuries and even caused WWII. Since the aliens can take human form, this conveniently allows the Ultimates to use their powers to beat their foes into piles of pulp. However, the real adversaries are their own personal problems and the enervating power of moral ambiguity. Hitch is one of the top artists in comics and masterfully creates scenes of both wholesale destruction and dramatic confrontation that call for good-looking heroes to flex their muscles. He also excels at the pacing between the two modes. Millar’s story plunges onward, but the characterization is curiously flat, even with the quirks and frailties he’s given the cast. In the end, this new world of unyielding heroes is just as two-dimensional as the corny do-gooders of yore that they’re replacing. Every era needs its own stereotypes, however, and these certainly fit the bill.

Mark Millar’s writing style is, for lack of a better word, beautiful; there’s something completely alluring about it. Millar has a way of drawing the reader in immediately and almost forcing them to remain glued to the page until the last breathtaking page.

This is a must-read for any lover of comic books. The first volume of The Ultimates was a much-needed reboot for The Avengers. It was darker and grittier, yet also funnier, than anything that had come before it, filled with fantastic character interactions and pop culture references. Nothing has changed here, only grown. This volume is everything that volume one was and more. It’s bigger, bolder and more extreme.

All of this is perfectly matched by the art style. Bryan Hitch perfectly matches the emotional fluctuations of glee, fear, dread, hope and so on by brilliant use of light, shadow and colour (or, in places, lack thereof). As Millar once said, the artist is 75% of what makes a great comic book. He is the director, lighting guy and cinematographer and this certainly rings true here.

Collects The Ultimates V. 1, #7-13. Near mint, 1st print.