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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Comics: Jeph Loeb Back on Track

Saturday, March 06, 2010 Posted by Chris Tung , , No comments
A while back I wondered if Jeph Loeb could redeem himself because of how upset I was with Ultimatum. I mean that event was bad. Like...really bad. So bad that I wanted the entire Ultimate line of books to disappear and have Bendis and others use their time to write 616 books.

However, I just finished reading Ultimate X and Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #1, and I have to say that I enjoyed them, which was a pleasant surprise. The original reason why I picked up the books were because of the two artists attached to the books. I am a sucker for Frank Cho's work, and I am ashamed to say that I've never read an Art Adams book so I figured I should pick that one up and take a look. Of course, Art's art is amazing, but the plot that was driving the story was also pretty decent. It wasn't anything like Bendis or Johns or even old Jeph Loeb, but nonetheless, it was a really fun read.

And the reason why I think it was such a good read was because both books returned to what EVERY writer advises any up and coming writer: let the character drive the story. What I hated about Ultimatum was that Loeb shot himself in the foot and said that people will die and that the entire Universe will change. In doing so, he set up huge plot events that needed to happen in only 5 issues. Because of the short number of issues, Loeb wasn't able to provide the appropriate amount of characterization and pace in order for the other characters to absorb the death's of founding Ultimates/Avengers members. They died and the story had to keep going.

This time around, Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #1 was narrated by Iron Man and is a study of his struggles with a terminal illness and why he NEEDS to create the Ultimates. This drives the story and gives insight into the troubled mind of the Ultimates version of Tony Stark.

In Ultimate X, the series is paced slowly and allows the reader to understand why Jimmy Hudson is Wolverine's son. It was pretty obvious since the cover of the series has Jimmy popping claws out of his hands so it was clear that the main character would be a mutant and the son of Wolverine, but what would have been a predictable and boring story (especially if approached like Ultimatum), Ultimate X was instead a character study of Jimmy--a troubled youth--as well as the parent-adopted son dynamic with new Ultimate characters James and Heather Hudson (The Guardian and Vindicator of the 616 Alpha Flight). This made the issue deep and emotional, and for me, proves that Jeph just needed to have a series that he could reflex all of his creative muscles without having a huge event to lock him in.

For now I'll give both of these books a 3/5 because they aren't great in comparison to other books, but it is definitely better than what Loeb has been working on before the Ultimate world went into the shitter (by Loeb of course)

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