Friday, March 04, 2005


Bottom line right at the top: I am rather relieved that this debut issue was so unambiguously uninteresting. Because it'll save me the time and effort of waiting out a few issues to see which side of the line of "worthwhile" it ended up on. One and done here, with the usual caveat that I'll come back if it proves much more interesting down the 'pike.

Let me state right now that I've never read any fiction by Orson Scott Card; he writes in a genre I don't much enjoy. I also don't give a flying fig about his personal views on homosexuality, horseshoes, or the price of corn futures. There are plenty of writers whose personal politics I find somewhere between laughable and abhorrent and, so long as they keep them out of the funnybooks (at least explicitly), I'm content to play ignorant. (Lookin' right atcha, Ellis and David.) This is a purely contextual review.

With that caveat lector out of the way, what didn't I like about this story? Pretty much everything. That's not to say I hated any part of the story -- it wasn't foam-at-the-mouth bad, just boring. The whole 'get' of using "real" writers to script funnybooks is the promise of something conceptually novel and remarkable -- like Identity Crisis or not, it was not the same-old, same old take on the DCU -- and there's nothing new going on here.

Instead, this first issue is just a steady stream of tired clich├ęs: the brilliant scientist tilting at windmills, the avaricious ex-/wife, the proactive and greedy competitor, the Mary Sue love interest (beautiful, witty, brilliant scientist who shares his vision) who becomes the noble sacrifice and whose death becomes the nadir of our Hero Scientist's sudden and surprising (to him, at any rate) downfall, and, at the end of it all, we have the Hero Scientist, bereft of true love, his dream project, and his livelihood, but in the possession of an infant son, who in turn will grow up to do Great Things that his father always wished to do.

And, oh, yeah -- Tony Stark has a really big brain. Literally.

I don't know that I understand why Marvel chose to release both the Iron Man reboot as well as this new Ultimate title so close together chronologically, although we can probably just chalk this up to the usual Marvel "but of course you need eighty X-titles a week" foresight coupled with the promise of having Big Names on both. But the proximity invites comparison and there isn't any way that Ultimate Iron Man comes out ahead of Ellis's brilliant (in its own right) version. Heck, there's no way I see this matching up well with Ultimate Tony Stark's other monthly gig, Ultimates 2. This debut issue had so little edge to it, it might as well have been spherical.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, i completely agree...But my chief complaint is with the technology.
Why did Howard Stark have beyond-2005 technology 30 years ago?
And why did NOTHING about the environment or culture act like 30 years ago?
If that armor tech was so advanced then...why has there been ZERO development on it since then?
This is such lazy writing. I realize it is sci-fi, but do a little bit of research or something. Wouldn't have been cool in Hoard Stark were on the verge of creating cellular phone technology...or GPS...or something that would have been exciting 30 years ago?
This is just too much disbelief to suspend.


Wed Mar 09, 11:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

That was a major misstep, but I overlooked it because it's becoming a common one. The otherwise brilliant Superman: Birthright makes the same chronological error. (Ma Kent is an email and internet guru before there's a Superman? I remember the internet a dozen years ago and it was barely graduated from Gopher.)

But, really, this book was so uninteresting, what's one more bone to pick?

Wed Mar 09, 12:03:00 PM EST  

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