So much for the French always surrender stereotype
Ultimates takes a very dark turn indeed as a major part of the status quo that we thought we would have is brutally removed from the equation and our villains come into the forefront. The Ultimate Future Foundation is here, and Hickman wastes no time giving them the credibility they deserve.
I think its kind of funny how not that long after seeing the trippynes of the World in Uncanny X-Force, I'm seeing it again here in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. And the trippynes is still very much there, only its handled differently here, ensuring that it still feels like a very unique experience. Following one family lineage throughout the 1,000 years that happen in the World as a means of viewing the World and Future Foundation's progress is a great idea, as it helps add some substance to who these people are, and then how later when they come out again to play we see how all of that humanity they may have once had is long gone.
As you may have guessed by now we focus mostly on this story thread, with the Iron Man side of things being only barely touched upon. Its just enough to assure us that Tony didn't die in case anyone actually thought he did and also to show us a new suit of Iron Man armor that is strikingly similar both in design and the way its carried to the red and silver armor Tony wore in Iron Man 2. I'm not sure whether that's an intentional reference or not, but if it is, then its a nice touch. Hickman does write a great condescending Tony Stark by the way.
Now I'm not going to spoil the ending, but as stated above, a major change happens here, and it really does leave one wondering what is going to happen to the characters involved now that its all over. There are two scenes in particular near the end that are quite disturbing, and between that and the stated consequences of the nuclear blast from last issue it is made clear that Hickman can be a truly merciless writer when he wants to be. But unlike the writing of say, Jeph Loeb or Mark Millar, this brutality serves a purpose. It makes it clear just how crappy the situation for our heroes is, and to its credit, makes it pretty hard to imagine how they can possibly win.
Ribic's art is good, but he definitely puts a lot more effort into some panels then he does others. And if you're looking for a book with amazingly vibrant artwork, then I suggest you read Ultimate Hawkeye instead. The colors here are a bit restrained, but when all is said and done, the art is not terrible.
Between this and Ultimate Hawkeye, I think I can safely say that Hickman is the best writer that has come to the Ultimate Marvel Universe since the original two of Bendis and Millar. He really does know what he's doing here, giving the Ultimate Marvel Universe some real relevancy and high quality, as well as a noticeably darker tone. I anxiously await the next issue.