Who are these characters that look like the Future Foundation that we saw in issue #1? Ultimates #2 is written by Jonathan Hickman, the art is by Esad Ribic, and the color is by Dean White.
Where to start...
I liked Thor, and yet, I am in no way a Thor fan. In fact, I usually hate Thor. This is the second time I've ever liked the character. The first time was during Millar's Ultimates run, by the way. Hickman's done something only one other writer has done: He's made me not only care about Thor but actually make him a character I like, and it really only took him two issues. Also, the ending of this issue, which involves Thor, is a really cool concept, which I refuse to spoil here.
For the lack of a better term, the Future Foundation team in this book is pretty awesome. We get a decent back-story about them in this issue, and it's incredibly interesting content. These "villains" are some of the coolest characters to be introduced to the Ultimate Universe in years.
Esad Ribic is killing it on the art. He has a style that sets this book far apart from the rest of what's going on at Marvel. He has a realistic style that really fits the tone of the book. The art feels a bit gritty and chaotic which is exactly what this book needs to feel like. However, the moments that shine above and beyond are the action shots involving Thor. Words escape me on how to describe this awesomeness.
Most comics pull back on the action/violence, and the others go way over-the-top. Ultimates #2 has the perfect amount of violence during it's action sequences. It's not gory, but it's not for kids by any means. There is a decent amount of blood, but you're not seeing intestines pop out and fly around the page.
My only real problem with this book is that like most of Hickman's work, it's incredibly high-concept. High concept is totally not a bad thing; however, at times, the book can get confusing. I could see why some people would be turned off by it. In fact, I'll admit it. I got confused once or twice.
The fact of the matter that the worst part about this book is that it has writing elements that are non-traditional to comic book writing kind of add to the awesomeness that is Hickman's writing.
This is the best of the current Ultimate line-up of books at Marvel. Sure, it has high concept elements in the book that can be confusing, but for me, that's really part of the appeal of the issue and the story. This is one of the few times where I've actually enjoyed Thor and what he was up to, and the new villains in this story are also a lot of fun. Ribic's art fits this book insanely well and really adds to the realism of the book. Lastly, there are no punches held on the violence, but it doesn't go over-the-top. I highly recommend this issue and series. Currently, it's one of the best books at Marvel.