Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Ultimates 2 Vol 2: Grand Theft America

The Ultimates, written by Mark Millar and and drawn by Bryan Hitch, is a reboot of the traditional and somewhat stodgy Marvel Comics Avengers series. Millar take on the Ultimates is far more adult and politically grounded than the original Avengers series. Inspired very much by the modern American culture of paranoia concerning terrorism and WMDs, this more realistic (for superhero comics that is ;-) ) series has the U.S. Government creating their own super-powered team, the Ultimates, in response to the increasing dangerous world they found themselves in.

The Ultimates, between finding themselves dealing with the occasional alien invasion and and superpowered acts of terrorism (Hulk Smash!), find themselves being used to invade and disarm a middle eastern country developing WMDs. In the collection Grand Theft America, rogue elements from several countries are concerned that they may find themselves a target of the U.S. government sponsored super-beings. In response to this threat, they secretly develop super-powered team of their own and decide to pre-emptively invade the U.S. to head off any attack on their own homelands. What ensues is a very entertaining knockdown, drag out fight between the invading super-team the Liberators and the Ultimates.

Aside from the fantastic action in the series, Millar managed to create what feel like fleshed out, fully 3-dimensional characters. Beyond the outlandish comic-book powers and action, most of the characters come off as real people who have with very real problems, and I really felt for them when bad things happen to them. Millar is one of my favorite comic book writers these days, and the Ultimates series is a good example of why that is.

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