Ultimate Invasion #4
THE END…OR THE BEGINNING? War breaks out as timelines and universes collide! Iron Man must choose between the lesser of two evils—the Maker or Kang. But what secret does Iron Man know about the men behind the masks? And at the end of it all, the world outside your window will be forever changed! Don’t miss this giant-sized, action-packed conclusion—or is it only the beginning…?
Ultimate Invasion #4 picks up with the somewhat captive Howard Stark working with a version of Reed Richards to recreate the Immortus Engine in order for The Maker to stop the constant threats from the future. Concluding this miniseries, one thing is surely set in stone: This is the most Jonathan Hickman Jonathan Hickman story that he’s ever written. Full of all of the trademarks that people often attribute to his writing, Ultimate Invasion #4 leans heavy into the high concept science fiction world building that gave Hickman’s Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men works such critical acclaim. Unfortunately, through all its complex worldbuilding and complex narrative structure, Ultimate Invasion falls short of its potential, opting to operate on spectacle over substance.
There’s something inherently funny about two characters discussing their lack of ability to properly judge the flow of time, just for Hickman to write “one week later” at the top of the following page. This kind of writing is indicative of the way that Hickman finds humor in his narration, while also acting as a microcosm for some of the high concept science fiction that is discussed. Much of what the characters discuss in Ultimate Invasion #4, and by extension the series as a whole, consists of three things: 1. Some sort of scientific concept that is described vaguely, 2. Vague attempts to convey the point they are trying to get across while acting mysterious as possible, and 3. Warnings of a future that the characters may or may not be privy to. This kind of dialogue can be fun when it comes from a character like The Maker who is acting this way towards someone who can call him out on his arrogance; however, Ultimate Invasion #4 has three characters (The Maker, an alternate reality Reed Richards, and a new version of Kang) who all talk in this manner. Hickman makes damn sure that all the pieces of dialogue serve a strong purpose, but sometimes it can grow a bit exhausting to have multiple characters who act in this manner.
Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie continue with the art duties in this conclusive chapter and it’s really hard not to feel bad for these guys. One thing many comic artists absolutely hate is when they have to draw large groups of people, requiring a lot more detail and inner workings for pages where most readers wont fully be able to appreciate the hard work. Well, Ultimate Invasion #4 is full of pages with groups, many of which are just alternate versions of the same characters but in different poses. While this is definitely a tour de force from the art team, one that may or may not be up for a Guinness world record for the most characters drawn in a single comic book, it unfortunately doesn’t elevate the story in any way. These characters are well drawn and the effort is undoubtedly there, but beyond that, it lacks a whole lot of substance. This is such a shame because all of the work, including the coloring from Alex Sinclair seems to be for spectacle alone, and due to the execution, it will likely go unrecognized.
Rounding off the creative team is Joe Caramagna. Oh… poor Joe. Once again, this is a creator who is tasked with containing this high concept book in a way that makes it readable and understandable, and thankfully he accomplishes that. Somehow, Joe makes it through all of this unscathed, delivering top notch lettering which helps make sense out of everything happening on the page. Regardless of the content, or story therein, Caramagna continues to prove he’s one of the best in the business.
Ultimate Invasion #4 is a mixed bag of flashy concepts with little payoff. Hickman tries once again to start off another epic but may have gone off the rails prematurely.
Ultimate Invasion #4: Where Am I…NO….WHEN AM I?!?!?
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 4.5/104.5/10
- Art - 6/106/10
- Color - 6.5/106.5/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
User Review( votes)