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Review Group Ultimate Comics Avengers #1

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, August 18 2009 and posted in Reviews
Punchy had the pick for new comics shipping August 12th and he selected Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 by Mark Millar, Carlos Pacheco, Danny Miki and Justin Ponsor.


The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

Either you loved Ultimate Comics Avengers or you loved to hate it.  The love was overflowing to the point that it became goddamn obnoxious.  You should thank me for going through all that love and pulling out the reviews so that you can read them here without having to expose yourself to it.

Review by amlah6

From the moment Captain America appears, Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 is pure nerd boner. Cap on a motorcycle exploding out of a building and jumping into a helicopter is such a wonderful Captain America-y thing for Captain America to do I couldn't help but love this comic. Mark Millar is at his best when he treats his comics like action movies and nothing really says action quite like Hawkeye and Captain America fighting A.I.M. in helicopters above the city of Chicago. It's the perfect antidote for the absurdity that the Ultimate Universe has become in recent years and it reads the same regardless of whether you abandoned ship after Ultimates 2 or if you suffered through to the end of Ultimatum. While the twist ending has been out there on the internet for a few weeks, I can't help but be excited to see where the story is going and how the characters on the back of the wrap-around cover will factor into it.

Carlos Pacheco's return to a book with Avengers in the title is long overdue. With his work on Avengers Forever he will always be one of my favorite Avengers artists and his work in this issue is superb. His layouts are exceptional and you can feel the motion in the action sequences. I might even like the way he's drawing Ultimate Cap's costume better than the way Hitch originally designed it. On top of that Justin Ponsor's colors jump off of the page.

Story: 9
Art: 9.5
Overall: 9.25

Review by 48THRiLLS

That. Was. Awesome.
It took 2 issues of Loeb's Ultimates to get me out of the Ultimate Universe and only one of Millar and Pacheco's to get me back. I don't know what happened in the Ultimates after I dropped it and I guess there was a flood after Ultimatum but that stuff does not matter, it felt like I just came off reading the first 2 Millar penned Ultimates when Cap came smashing through that window on his motorcycle. This thing was bad ass moment after bad ass moment and what a great ending. Unlike last weeks train wreck of a pick that gave no reason to come back to the next issue this one shows exactly how to start a comic, which has always been Millar's strength (hopefully this stays on time and ends as strong). The art was great, Pacheco definitely channeled Hitch's Ultimates work and maybe even matches it with wide screen panels to give this the same big action movie feel, after seeing how cocky and bad ass Cap is riding through windows, jumping off helicopters, the last page is just a perfect visual of how unbelievably shocked he is after getting his ass handed to him and hearing the words whispered in his ear... or he was just shocked that with just one swing Mark Millar could make the Ultimate Universe relevant again.

STORY - 10

Review by starlord

I'm not quite sure what makes this book any different than any other superhero book that's out right now. At least the good ones. Yes, I thought this was as enjoyable as all other good team comics, but it wasn't awe inspiring either.

I've got to say I'm actually tickled to finally read something that Millar wrote. After the disaster that he just finished in Fantastic Four, I did not have high hopes for this, or at least my enjoyment of it.

The art was extremely well done. But I hate Hawkeye's costume. I mean, hate it! Stupid outfit if you ask me. I totally understand that feel of a popcorn summer blockbuster movie. Millar and crew give that in spades. But like 99% of those big blockbusters, there's not really a lot of substance, either. NOt that that is a bad thing.

Story: 5
Art: 9
My Score: 5.5

Review by doombug

So is it safe to say that Mark Millar is back in form here? I'd say so. Sure we really only get 2 of our "Avengers" in action as Tony does his impression of the late 80's 616 Tony but it's still a blast. Fury returns home to an almost breaking 4th wall comment that really sets up the issue for me.

There was nothing here for me to hate in this issue, Loeb made me hate Ultimate Hawkeye and here comes Millar making me love the character again. Clint's a lovable dick here as he and Cap take out two armed helicopters and get a few more hints into what's happened since a certain event.

The introduction of Red Skull was a great opening mystery and sets up a lot for the over all tone of the series. Millar's scripts must read like a good Michael Bay movie with just how much action and exposition he manages to attach.

Oh and let me not forget one of my favorite artists I've been following since he was the co-penciller on Busiek's Avengers, Carlos Pacheco. Out of left field his art has changed so much that it's unrecognizable from his old style. It lends itself so much to the script that it's not even funny

Over all grade: Ultimate comics Avengers #1 you get an 8

Script: 7
Art: 10

Best line: "What kind of girl gets stopped by a bomb?"

Seriously, at the end of the day this was a fun comic with great writing. I'm only changing my score because it sadly wasn't perfect. But to tear it apart is rather childish.

Review by Jack Burton

I liked the book a lot. I haven't been keeping up with the Ultimates since Millar and Hitch left (I could smell Ultimates 3 for the turd it was). The characters all felt very much like they did when Millar was writing them. I read some of what Loeb had done to Fury and I didn't like it. I prefer Nick to be a likeable bad ass not a complete douche bag. He can be cold blooded but that's only something he should bring out on occasion. So props to Millar for that. Also the action scenes were very well done.

The art was gorgeous but being a huge Carlos Pacheco fan I expected no less. He did change up his style a bit to try and be a bit more Hitch-like but I'm fine with that. I loved the way he drew Captain America's outfit. I hate the chinstrap myself. They need to get Hawkeye out of that god ugly costume as soon as possible. It's too 1990's.

Story 8
Art 9

Review by Sire v 2.0

An F for Fantastic, an F for Fun, and F for about F’ing time the Ultimates got back to what they should be.

I love this issue, the art was awesome, (can this guy do monthlies? please say he can)

And I can't wait to see where this story line is going or who will round out the team.

After Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum this was sorely needed to give the Ultimate universe so much needed oof.

Way to go Miller

Overall: 9.5

Review by Chubbles

Awesome issue. This is what a fun book should be. I wasn't looking for too much substance here so I wasn't let down with the story. Millar takes what Loeb tries to do and makes it work. I'm a big Ultimate Clint fan I'm glad to see he survived Ultimatum and hopefully will take on a bigger role now. That Red Skull re-design is fucking badass. He looks fucking scary! I do think they play up the Tony alcohol thing a bit much but still that was a good scene with him at the strip club. The cliffhanger was great and I am so glad the Ultimate U is relevant again outside of Spider-Man.

As for the art, WOW. Pacheco bought his A+ game for this issue. Cap on the bike was absolutely gorgeous. This is one of the prettiest looking books I've seen in a damn long time. I'm not sure how fast Pacheco works but I really, really hope him and Millar stay on the same page here and get this thing out on time. It'd be a shame for a book with this much potential to let delays de-rail it.

Story 8
Art 11!
Overall 9.5

Review by GLX


In all seriousness, I had a good time with it. The art was solid, but the writing was a little weak. Then again, this is a set up issue and I'm anticipating the next issue.

8* out of 10*

Review by Chris

I thought it was ok. Not bad. But not enough to jizz all over like some people make it out to be. Maybe I'm just completely over the Ultimate universe after Loeb ruined Ultimates, and the new Ult. Spidey artist sucks ass... but I didn't think this was anything special. Just seemed like pretty average superhero fare.

It wasn't even all that absurd or over the top as I've come to expect from The Ultimates (and I refuse to call it Ultimate Comics Avengers!) it was actually pretty tame considering what we see all the time in the 616 books nowadays.

The art was nice, but it'll take some time for me to get used to making a connection between Pacheco and the Ultimates in my mind.

The story was decent, but dedicating practically the entire issue to what would essentially play out as a couple minutes, and what was really just one sequence of Cap/Hawkeye hijacking the choppers and kicking AIM's ass, then the Red Skull stuff... I think it was too much setup.

So, that brought a lot of the score down for me. Maybe it'll read better once the more story is out, I dunno.

Art: 8
Story: 3
Total: 5.5

Review by House of J

Dear Marvel: Please change the bland logo, thanks.

Although that's about making sure we don't confuse this book with the other half a dozen 616 Avengers books. But it is ugly.

Inside the books are other obvious clues this is the Ultimate U, such as the return of melanistic Nick Fury and Griftery-looking Hawkeye.

Ultimate Tony Stark is shown as well, drunk and slumming in an S&M club complete with women in cages, shackles, and a dog. This is what the smartest guy in the world (almost) does after whatever-the-hell-happened in Ultimatum. Oh sure, he's playing chess. 'Cause he's smart.

The action scene involving Cap, Hawkeye, and some Ultimate AIM agents in helicopters is all very solid and quite cinematic, as has been mentioned. Oddly, Ultimate AIM agents seem even less effective than 616 AIM agents, with very mundane everyday technology shown. I feel a flare of nostalgia while reading this scene, then I realize it isn't Ultimate Cap & Hawkeye I am remembering, it's 616 Cap & Hawkeye I miss. Because other than the change of outfit that's what this reads like. This is very generic superhero stuff drawn very nicely.

Then comes the big reveal--the one moment in the book that has any punch at all--but I already know the secret thanks the Mark Millar, the internet, and my spoiler-reading eyeballs. I think it was a huge mistake for that to be revealed in advance. All the dramatic effect is drained from the reveal because I've known Red Skull was coming all along. And he does, and he kicks Cap's ass thoroughly which did surprise me because Cap has gone toe-to-toe with Ultimate Hulk.

Part of me thinks the reveal of what the stolen device is will be interesting, but it is only alluded to as cargo here.

I think this book needed more--maybe some extra pages and another subplot running side-by-side--something. For an Ultimates book, for $3.99, I felt this book lacked any sign of new vitality for this new launch. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as any single issue of Ultimates 1 or 2. It was full of solid set-up material, but it seemed more generic than the earlier books instead of more dynamic or full of renewed purpose. No nuance, few tantalizing hints of things to come.

If this book were $2.99 I'd probably continue to follow this book to see how things heat up, but this will be an easy book to trade-wait.


Review by thefourthman

Story-wise this is almost non-existent, but it is pretty cool high adrenaline fun. Art-wise, Pacheco handles the action superbly, but there are some awkward poses here and there and Posner should not be coloring Pacheco, when you see Cap at the end, I laughed. He looked like he had been to a make up session with a four year old, not like he had been beaten and bruised.

Story 6
Art 6
Overall 6

Read thefourthman's full review here:

Review by fintan

I enjoyed this book. I read Ultimatum and hated it and was glad that Millar ignored it for the most part. I felt like it was mostly set up but it was a good action heavy issue but this also made it a short read. I also agree about the final page revelation. The impact was kind of lost on me. It was overpriced also based on what you got..

The art was great. I don't think I've ever read anything by Pacheco before.

Story 7
Art 9
Total 8

Review by Daringd

Well…I hated this. I figured Millar back on a Ultimate book would be pretty awesome…nope. The art didn’t click with me either, Pacheco can draw he’s a great artist but the colors just destroyed it. The only thing I dug was the cover. That is sad just plain old sad. The story was sooooo weak especially for $3.99. Yeah there is action… BUT THAT WAS IT! As for the ending….really Mark really?

0.5/10 (For the cover)

Review by Black Klown

The Ultimates are back...sort of. Decimated by the events of Ultimatum, the remaining members of Captain America, Hawkeye, and Iron Man stand tall with SHIELD in defense of a planet at it's most defenseless in this new superhero age. The story begins with Nick Fury returning to the Ultimate Universe to find things have changed much to his disdain, continues with a fight with AIM above the skies of New York, and ends with a beat-up (and subsequently rogue) Cap realizing he has a son.

This issue is pretty much standard set-up, leading to what should be a gut-wrenching punch at the end. However, because the revelation was teased quite a while ago, there's an overwhelming feeling of emptiness when it's over. It reads much differently than Millar's Ultimates comics of the past which, while brimmed with action and reaction and set-up with the promise of more, always found a way to create the illusion of more than what was on the page. There's no sly nod to 616 continuity, few sardonic quips of new characterization, and pretty much a lack of the feeling of a bigger universe that needs an Ultimate team of symbols to scare away the hordes of terrorists and rogue mutants who would threaten the American way of life. What we have now seems to be just another insular group of tights with black ops support. Even Tony and his whereabouts seems like shockless filler. For an issue that's focused on set-up, the set-up seems void of real promise except for a future kick-ass fight between Cap and Red Skull.

However, I'm definitely willing to let all of that go if issue #2 delivers the goods. Nick Fury's new role should be interesting, and I'm sure Danvers will grow to be more than just a second-rate imitation of her predecessor. It's good to have Millar back helming the characters he made great, and the art is solid, if short of spectacular.

Story: 5
Art: 8
Overall: 6.5

Review by MrBlack

After the massive misstep that was Ultimates 3, Mark Millar immediately gets things back on track with his first issue of Ultimate Comics: Avengers. We get a few pages of exposition to set up the current status quo (and re-establish Ultimate Nick Fury as the man) and then we're into the action.

Millar really knows how to set up action scenes, and we get a great one here with Cap and Hawkeye. After tossing several A.I.M. lackeys out of a helicopter, Cap takes on the big bad of this issue, the Red Skull, who very quickly takes him apart. The relationship between Cap and the Skull is intriguing, and the last page tease was more than enough to suck me into this run.

While I do miss Bryan Hitch a bit, Carlos Pacheco did a great job on this issue. Some of the action scenes did not seem quite as "widescreen" (for lack of a better term) as I would expect from the Ultimates/Ultimate Avengers, but all the characters look fantastic, and the new Red Skull is quite imposing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even if it was a little thin on story. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.

Story: 8
Art: 8.5
Overall: 8.5

Review by Punchy

Story - I must admit, this review may be a little biased. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's work on Ultimates 1 and 2 is one of my favourite comics runs ever, it has everything I like, complex characterization, big action, moments of humour and beautiful art, and to me, this sequel (minus Hitch, but with the great Carlos Pacheco) is more of the same, and it's good to have it back. Jeph Loeb may have fucked up the Ultimates and then the whole Ultimate Universe, but Mark Millar is back to save us.

He kicks the issue off in grand style, Nick Fury exclaiming 'What the Fuck?, I disappear for 10 minutes and the whole place goes to hell!', this is more than just the character expressing shock at the events of Ultimatum, this is Millar himself, commenting on what's gone on since he left, how Loeb messed with it. And mess with it Loeb has, the whole of NY is flooded, you can see the water everywhere, Hank, Jan and Thor are dead, and Tony Stark is even more messed up than usual. I can't see how anyone can complain that this issue didn't acknowledge Ultimatum, or, as Tony puts it, in his usual glib style 'The Wolverine thing'.

The impact of Ultimatum leaves us with only 2 Ultimates available to deal with an AIM robbery of the Baxter building, and the majority of the issue is Cap and Hawkeye fighting these Science Terrorists in the skies above Chicago. And what a fight! This thing is beautifully choreographed, it's all in the air, and there are panels of our heroes leaping through the sky that are genuinely jaw-dropping, it's almost balletic, but with explosions. This is a continuation of the wide-screen style Millar used in Ultimates, and it adds a sense of awe that many superhero fights lack, and for a series that purports to exist in a more realistic world, this is an important touch. It was just fun to watch this fight play out really, that's all I can say, it was cool.

Millar also has our heroes engage in some choice witty action movie banter, but this isn't just shallow, or empty fighting like Michael Bay movie. This is what Millar does in the Ultimates, the first issue of both volumes there were mainly action sequences too, Millar is treating the first issue like the pre-credits scene of a James Bond film, get us hooked with some eye-popping action, and set the tone for what is to come. Or perhaps that should be who is to come, and that who is the Red Skull! Attacking Captain America and defeating him easily, this Ultimate version of the classic villain is one tough cookie, and he has a twist, after Hawkeye enacts a daring aerial rescue (that was awesome, so cool), we learn that the Skull is in fact Captain America's son! Now I've known about this for a while, Millar was talking it up at a convention I attended way back in November, but still, it's a ballsy move, and I can't wait to see where this goes, and how it works.

This issue is not perfect, perhaps the fact that it is pretty much all an extended fight scene makes it seem slight and empty, and I felt a bit of that, I am used to reading The Ultimates in the hardcover format, all 13 issues at once, and not in monthly (or whenever it comes out) chunks, but I feel that this action sequence was good enough, and the final page hook interesting enough, that it makes up for it, looking back at the first issues of the previous volumes, they may have seemed in consequential at the time, but they were important in setting up the rest of the plot (the device AIM stole is described as Reed Richards' masterpiece, I'm sure it will be important) and also the feel of the book; this was an exercise in style, a statement of intent. Millar is back, and he's as good as ever, future issues promise more characters, in particular new characters, but this issue re-establishes Millar's take on this team, after the way too frenetic pace of Ultimates 3, where so many random events were happening you didn't know what to do, Millar slows us down and gives us a great action sequence. If you like what Millar did before, this is more of the same, and it's great.

Art - I've been a Pacheco fan for a while, his work on Avengers Forever, and also his creator-owned Fantasy War Story (with Kurt Busiek) Arrowsmith are my favourites, and it's been frustrating seeing DC use him so little during his exclusive, he did 5 issues of Green Lantern, and then his Superman run came out in fits and spurts, and was over-shadowed by Johns and Kubert, and then he was a fill-in monkey on Final Crisis. It's good to see him back on something higher-profile. I think he may have adjusted his style a little, make it a bit more Hitchian, but that's not a problem. As I mentioned, his choreography of the fight scene was fantastic, it flowed so well, and I loved his redesign of the Red Skull. Top stuff, can't wait to see how he handles the rest of the characters, and how his fight-scene chops hold up when there's more than 2 characters.

Best Line - So many to choose from! I think it's either 'What kind of Girl gets stopped by a bomb?' or 'I believe you mean awesome', or even 'Ruthless opportunists'

8/10, It may not be the best thing ever like I thought it might, because of the book being mainly a fight, but it was a great fight, and I trust in Millar to build on it. The fact that I've known the Red Skull's identity for 8 months also knocks it down, if it was a total surprise, this would be a 9.

Review by McKegan

I thought the book was fine. It doesn't have the impact of the first issue of the Ultimates, but what does? These characters are already familiar, so the real magic will come with the Ultimization of new characters. But it's a good set up with some big time action and the promise of greater things to come.

Art was some of the better art I've seen from Pacheco in awhile. Although the art looks an awful lot like Brandon Peterson's art and less so like Pacheco's. But in truth I haven't been a fan of his work since he left the X-Men.

As an aside, I don't get the love for Avenger's Forever. The art was nice, but the story was the biggest piece of shit put to paper.

Story: 7
Art: 8
Over-All: 7.5

Review by guitarsmashley

I give it a 4 as in it took me less then 4 minutes to read it. Art was not what I remember Carlos Pacheco art looking like, then again when you don't do anything for a couple years...Story was barely there. I'm tired and work is kicking my ass.


Review by SuperginraiX

I tried to be quick but then I found out I had stuff to say.

Didn't live up to the hype. I wish it did. Millar has a lot to live up to with Ultimates 1 and 2 and I think I might have expected him to deliver something incredible after Ultimatum tore everything down.

There's just no meat here. It's like a quarter of a beginning tale. I don't even find myself all that excited about the Captain America story. If Millar wanted to do a Cap book then I'm certain he could have done just that. If he wants to do Avengers, I need to see a team forming. Right. Now.

This is three former Ultimates (yeah, Nick Fury was an Ultimate to me) doing stuff, over half the issue was a flashback and I'm quickly beginning to hate it when people needlessly tell their stories out of order. Pulp Fiction was over ten years ago. You aren't being original anymore. Be chronological again. Try doing a story WITHOUT a flashback. Just try. For me.

Pacheco is doing some nice art but nothing is as inspired as the last stuff I saw from him. That was... Superman? I'm thinking that's the last work I bought with his name on it. We've got some good work here. Everything's solid. Nothing spectacular. Still, solid work is nice to see.

So, boring, annoying story with above average art.

Ultimate Avengers, you get a 5. I was just too excited for you.

That gives Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 a group score of 7.01.  You're still reading this?  Wow, I gave up ages ago.

For further discussion about this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread ( found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.

King Impulse has the pick for August 19th and he has selected Daredevil #500 from Marvel Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun. 

WRITER: Ed Brubaker & Ann Nocenti
PENCILS: David Aja & Michael Lark

This is it! The 500th issue of DAREDEVIL! What is the Kingpin's true plan? What do he and Lady Bullseye have in common? What will Matt Murdock do to make things right again? And just how will Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark leave this story for the next creative team to pick it up? Don’t miss the twists and surprises that will have everybody talking! An all-star anniversary issue featuring new stories by Ann Nocenti, David Aja, and others! New and Reprint/Rated T …$4.99


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