Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ultimate Origins #4 Review

Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Butch Guice

Wow, after two subpar and lackluster first issues, I can't believe how much Bendis has turned Ultimate Origins around over the course of these last two issues. It's like a whole new event and these stories are actually interesting and worthwhile additions to that live up to the "Ultimate Origins" moniker.

This issue shows us how Nick Fury returned to the US military and began to make his new power base that would later lead to his appointment as the Director of SHIELD.

Basically, Fury roamed for a while after being subjected to the Super Soldier experiments. At first he blamed everyone else for his problems, but eventually accepted the fact he was the one that betrayed his country's trust and was off looting during the war. He then re-enlisted in the army and decided to be the best soldier he could be, which ended with him being injured and in the hospital, where we started the issue with him talking to Thunderbolt Ross.

Now that the military knew Fury was still alive, they set him up as the head of the new Project Rebirth program and allowed him to recruit whomever he wished in hopes of making a new Super Soldier serum.

That leads to the recruitment of several key characters from the Ultimate Universe, including Spider-Man's father, Richard Parker, a fresh out of college, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner and Sue and Johnny's father, Franklin Storm.

This team was given Nick Fury's blood and told to reverse engineer it. Franklin Storm eventually leaves the team along the way to work at the Baxter Building project, which was seen in the origin issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four's first arc.

From there, it's revealed Bruce Banner believes he has cracked the Super Soldier serum. While Fury has forbidden human testing of any kind, Hank Pym convinces Banner to test the serum. Pym wanted it tested on himself, but Banner decides to use it on himself first, just in case it fails.

As expected, this is the birth of the Hulk, years earlier than we were led to believe. Furthermore, this violent birth causes the death of both Richard and Mary Parker, who were on scene with their newborn son, Peter. Hulk actually reverted to Banner when he saw the baby, which was followed up with a kick in the face by Fury, demanding to know what the hell happened. Fury takes the baby Peter and tells him he's lucky he's so young since he'll never remember any of this.

The issue ends with the present day crisis of the weird obelisk objects appearing all over the world. One takes possession of Sue Storm and informs everyone that they are the Watchers and are here to, well, watch. What are they here to watch? Well, that invovevs "the coming devestation", which I imagine will have a lot to do with mutants based on the backstory we've been given about them so far. Maybe a climactic war between humans and mutants? Ultimate Registration Act? I know it's Ultimatum, but we've been given very little to go by for that story.

Oh, who am I kidding? Ultimatum's by Loeb, it'll be a murder mystery followed by random guest stars of the most popular characters in the universe all drawn by a super star artist and ends with some retarded twist that makes no sense. Why am I even hoping for more than that?

Verdict - Must Read. Ultimate Origins has turned itself around and I'm almost ready to call it the event of the year. That wouldn't take too much work at this point, but it's still been exceptionally good these last two issues.

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