Ultimate Invasion #3
After KANG descends upon the City of Tomorrow, the Illuminati must regroup! IRON MAN has a heart-to-heart with Tony Stark! DOCTOR DOOM—the anti-Maker—prepares his own plans to deal with this evil Reed Richards…and the Ultimate Universe that the Maker thought he had rebuilt frays at the edges as they prepare for cosmic war!
Ultimate Invasion #3 picks up with the aftermath of the previous issue. The Maker has made his plans known to Howard Stark, leaving Stark to uncomfortably learn the harsh truths of the world, while secretly plotting a way to solve this impending crisis. For being a penultimate issue, Ultimate Invasion #3 still feels like an exhausting amount of setup for whatever this mini-series ends up being. With one issue remaining, there is still room for levity, with the conclusion possibly making all of this seem worth it, but as a standalone issue, there is a lot left to be desired.
While the overall story and execution seem to be dragging, there is no doubt in Jonathan Hickman’s ability to worldbuild, especially when he has full control over this sandbox world The Maker has created. The revelation here is that the world powers on The Maker’s make-shift earth are all acting in unison, painting one of their member’s territories as the enemy in order to unite the world under the constant threat of war. The plan is to constantly shift this enemy over the years in order to shift the public focus onto that rather than the powerful leaders who are the real villains.
This kind of concept really feels reminiscent of a Star Trek plot such as the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season one episode “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach.” This episode saw Commander Pike learn that an entire planet’s peace and prosperity hinged on the sacrificial suffering of one child at a time as the planet’s encounters technology required a child’s mind to function. Much like Ultimate Invasion #3, the revelation about how the peace was achieved clashed with a moral question that was not easily seen as just black and white. This sentiment is reiterated later on in the issue when Tony Stark is speaking with Howard, saying that what the world leaders are doing is wrong. Howard responds by saying, “…you’re mistaking right and wrong for good and evil.” While Ultimate Invasion #3 may be light on content pertaining to the overall plot of the miniseries, its exploitation of themes of morality are fascinatingly deep.
Brian Hitch and Andrew Currie’s art continues to be status quo for this series, recapturing the essence of the original Ultimate Comics line of Marvel comics. Each page here uses Hitch’s signature “widescreen comics” style, giving this comic a cinematic feel, which consequently clashes with the lack of action. Unfortunately, this means that the talents of this art team felt wasted here, although the pages still do look great. In particular, Hitch does a great job in capturing the emotions of Howard Stark as he learns about the horrors of the world. Alex Sinclair’s colors here seemingly build on the content of Hickman’s story, using a muted palette that highlights the moral gray area. This works well in reference to the plot but hinders the art since there’s not a strong sense of individuality to any of the characters as they stand around and have conversations.
Rounding off the creative team is Joe Carmagna on letters. Caramagna has a hefty job with Ultimate Invasion #3, having to navigate through an exposition-heavy story. Thankfully, Hitch’s page layouts lend well to this, making Caramagna’s choice of letter placement very important. Thankfully he knocks it out of the park, making this issue read in a very flowy manner. The only creative suggestion would be to give some of these characters more unique speech bubbles to mirror their unique speaking patterns.
Ultimate Invasion #3 is a fascinating look into a moral quandary that seems to be on par with some of the stronger Star Trek episodes; however, Hickman’s lack of central focus makes this penultimate issue feel very underwhelming and disappointing. The art team seems to be wasted here, with there being little to no action to highlight their capabilities.
Ultimate Invasion #3: The Moral Foundation Of Creation
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 5/105/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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