Page 45 Review by Jonathan
In which the newest version of the Ultimates attempt to get the entirety of Page 45's Tuesday delivery of new comics and graphic novels bagged, taped and ready for Wednesday customer collection and mailing out before the end of play. Once that impossibility has been dealt with our team of Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ms. America, Spectrum and Blue Marvel move on to dealing with the easier task... Galactus. But, for a change our heroes aren't suggesting a fisticuffs-enforced calorifically controlled diet for the purple-panted glutton, but instead deploying a game-changing idea worthy of Reed Richards to transform the Mr. Greedy of the Marvel Universe into an altogether more responsible type of cosmic citizen.
It's a bold stratagem, but precisely the sort of high-level problem-solving our team have set themselves up for a fall over - I mean, to undertake. For, whilst their intentions might be morally sound, and on the face of it completely successful, it's the unintended additional consequences of their actions which leave us with a very intriguing sub-plot... Cue a mysterious conversation between Galactus and Eternity, the very embodiment of the Marvel Omniverse itself.
"My apologies. One of them managed to achieve a state of hyper-cosmic awareness. Fortunately he will not be believed... and the others saw only what I wished them to. A simplified view of timespace. Seeing the full scope of reality would be too much for them..."
"And are you any different, Galactus? If I show the truth to you.., can you bear the sight?"
"No... Who did this? Who could do this? Who chained the cosmos?"
"If that is your question, Galactus... then that must be your task. Return to me. And find out."
I'm betting on Stan Lee, I've always had my suspicions about that guy... Meanwhile, cosmic-level fans with find their power palates further sated with a mixture of covert and overt appearances from the likes of Thanos, Owen Reece AKA The Molecule Man, Master Order and Lord Chaos.
I've personally found this title to be easily the best 'Avengers' title since the post-SECRET WARS reboot, the ramifications of which get touched on here. Too many of the other Avengers titles feel utterly spurious, lightweight and throwaway currently, to me at least. Al Ewing has imbued this with a science fiction vibe which Jonathan Hickman employed to great effect, particularly in his extended FANTASTIC FOUR / FF run, most of which, baffling enough, is out of print. Also, given the current uncertainty regarding the whereabouts or eventual return of said World's Greatest bunch of sticking their noses into cosmic matters that don't concern them bickerers, I suspect this team may well be being set up as the interim substitutes for the time being. So FF fans should definitely take a look too.
Marvel newcomer Kenneth Rocafort does a sterling job on art with his gritty but clean style for the first five issues, which again, I prefer massively to the relatively cartoonish styles going on in some of the other Avengers titles currently, and he is the ongoing series artist, but his thunder is stolen somewhat by a gorgeous final issue from Christian Ward employing his trademark mesmeric psychedelic touch that will be familiar to readers of his and Matt Fractions' ODY-C. I think it would be a bit much on an ongoing basis, but what a show-stopper to conclude this opening volume!