Top Marvel Comics of 2017 #4: Ultimates Squared #9 by Al Ewing and Travel Foreman
Ultimates by Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort, and, later, Travel Foreman was easily one of the best comics to come out of All-New, All-Different Marvel. Right out of the gate, this book presented a great team of heroes out to solve the biggest and most existential problems in the universe. The starting project was curing Galactus of its hunger, and that is certainly a daring opening salvo.
Funnily enough, I intended to put Ultimates Squared #100 on this list instead of #9. I forgot that Joe Glass took care of that instead of me. #100 was really incredible though, but we’re going with Ultimates #9 instead.
The soft relaunch of Ultimates Squared was an odd move on Marvel’s part, but it didn’t do much to inerrupt the flow. The final arc dealing with the Maker’s machinations, the First Firmament, and the war between the Celestials was a fantastic finale for the series.
This issue puts that Celestial war to the forefront, with the Eternity Watch and the forces of the First Firmament finally having it out. It is a big-idea, grand scale idea which Ewing handles very well. It also puts out the idea of pitting new ideas and storytelling that takes risks verses more restrictive narratives that only play by the rules, with the Eternity Watch mostly consisting of new spins on characters and the First Firmament being the original iteration of reality that wants to destroy everything that came after it.
And, to its credit, it was a risky book. It was a team where the most well-known characters are Black Panther and Captain Marvel, who are decently well-known, but they aren’t the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, etc. It took its narrative to odd places that others rarely tread. It handled the broad existential concepts of the Celestials with ease.
Plus, Travel Foreman injected some weird with his stylistic and swaying art style. Ultimates Squared #9 and this entire iteration of Ultimates was a daring delight to read, and it easily earned its place on this list.
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