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The Ultimate War #3 By Matt Martin
Marvel Comics – Mark Millar (w); Chris Bachalo (p); Tim Townsend (i)
OK, this is how crossovers should have always been handled and how they should probably be handled from now until the end of time. Millar has single-handedly sidestepped all major complaints about crossovers in this mini-series.
Complaint #1: Crossovers force you to buy a multitude of books that you normally wouldn’t.
Obviously, that’s not true, since this crossover is entirely contained in one four-issue mini-series. If you want to read the story, you’re required to pick up one extra book per month. And when you figure that The Ultimates basically never ships, you’re not being asked to spend much more to get the same amount of Mark Millar. Otherwise, if you’re not interested, the stories in Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates seem to be flowing around Ultimate War, at least for the time being.
Complaint #2: Crossovers disrupt the normal narrative flow of the books that they’re involved in.
See response to Complaint #1. Given the fact that this crossover doesn’t actually take place within the pages of either team’s book, you’re not getting something that you didn’t ask for.
Complaint #3: Crossovers never have any lasting impact on the books that they affect, despite claims to the contrary.
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OK, I can’t really comment with any finality on this one. But the story that Millar is weaving, logically speaking (and I know that this is Marvel we’re talking about, so logic really has no place in this discussion), will have an impact on both Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates, for at least the near future.
I’ve said several times in my store lately that I think that Millar might be the best pure superhero action writer in the industry today. A lot of his work isn’t going to be remembered and revered twenty years from now the way nearly everything that Alan Moore touches is, but I think it’s safe to say that if a golden age of superhero yarns isn’t on the horizon, Millar is doing more than his fair share to usher one in. I mean, if this mini-series and this month’s issue of The Ultimates (#7) don’t prove that, I don’t know what does…
For the record, for those of you not reading, The Ultimate War is the story of what happens when Magneto gets free in a world that now has a contingency plan prepared for just such an inevitability (well, not exactly a plan about Magneto, but certainly one designed in the aftermath of his last jaunt into the public eye). That plan, simply put, is The Ultimates, led by Captain America and Nick Fury. Previously, after bringing the President literally to his knees, Prof. Xavier wiped Magneto’s psyche clean and attempted to rehabilitate him, despite making claims to the U.S. government that Magneto was destroyed in the struggle. Through sordid means, The Brotherhood discovered that their leader lived on and eventually freed him of his mental bondage. The federal government, in response to Magneto’s renewed fervor to subjugate humankind, dispatches The Ultimates to deal with the threat he presents, as well as bring in the X-Men, dead or alive, for the role that they played in allowing a wanted terrorist and murderer to go free and threaten the world once again. Magneto begins a systematic reign of terror, seemingly free to do as he pleases, looting the world’s art galleries and making violent symbolic gestures towards those maintaining the status quo. The X-Men, by contrast, retreat into safehouses, just in time for Wolverine and Shadowcat to return from the Savage Land with news of Cyclops’ apparent demise.
This issue: Magneto and Prof. Xavier continue their chess battle of wits. Next issue: The inevitable Big Final Battle. Your mission: read it and enjoy it.