Ultimate Origins #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Illustrated by Butch Guice, Colored by Justin Ponsor
Published by Marvel Comics , 07/09/2008
About a year ago, Clang! Boom! Steam! and I made a bit of a deal so that we'd split the purchases of all the Ultimate books so we could afford to read the whole series in time to make sense of Ultimates: Volume 3 and, eventually, Ultimatum. So I've condensed the last 7 or 8 years or so of the entire Ultimate continuity into my brain and it is a good thing.
I really like Ultimates in general and the whole universe has a breath of freshness and modernization to it that seems like a sandbox that's a lot easier to get into. The 616 universe has a hundred titles being printed in it, so it's hard to get the breadth of the universe (same with DC), but the idea behind the Ultimate universe pares it down in a way that really lets you wrap your head around it.
The Ultimate Origins series started last month and I enjoyed it, though others I know didn't (*cough*Joey Mousepad*cough*) for what seems to be no apparent reason. So what if Wolverin was the first mutant and the Weapon X scientists created the X-Gene? What I thought was way cooler in the first issue was that Ultimate Nick Fury was in World War II and an early participant of the Super Soldier program...
Anyhow, issue two, which hits stands this Wednesday, covers the origins of Captain America and a mysterious obelisk in a government warehouse very similar to the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. This issue was fairly competently written and sheds some interesting light on why there aren't more Super-Soldiers running around and why Bruce Banner has such a hard time reformulating the process when the time of Ultimates Volume 1 and 2.
A bright spot of this series for me has been the appearance of Franklin Roosevelt in comics continuity. It's really great to see a popular and good President in comics. It's fun to see Bush licking Magnet's boots, but it's a hollow victory and it's good to see a competent President affecting the Marvel Universe as much as he did the real one.
Overall, I would say that this issue is solid, though not a standout of the Ultimate Universe (like the last few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man) but it's certainly required reading if you're interested in keeping up with the events in that universe. The art is reminiscent of Bryan Hitch, but distinct enough to be it's own.
Below is a preview of the first 5 pages of the book and the title page.