Everything has changed recently in the Ultimate Universe, and Marvel is trying to keep things simple by giving the fan just four books to read what's going on in the entire universe. Last Wednesday, I reviewed Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1, so jump there for some more Ultimate info. This review is 100% spoiler-free, so don't worry about having the book destroyed for you.
I felt the same way going into this book that I did with Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1: I was skeptical, but the difference this time was that I was more skeptical on whether or not Hawkeye could carry his own book. After reading this issue, I can say that Hawkeye is completely capable or carrying this story. The story is so much bigger than him and we get a decently sized ensemble of really cool good and bad guys.
I really want to tell you everything about this story because it's awesome. Frankly, I'm more excited about this story than the vast majority of books at Marvel. (No, that's not a rip at Marvel. I'm just really into the ideas within this book) At the same time, this issue has a great balance of story and action.
I'm extremely pleased that Hickman is not only writing Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye, but he's also writing Ultimate Comics Ultimates. These two books should be working with each other, not against each other, and having a single writer for both books not only strengthens each story and its characters separately, but it gives it a single voice and tone, so they feel like they fit together, like a classy, action-packed puzzle.
The art, by Rafa Sandova (pencils), Jordi Tarragona (inks), and Brad Anderson (colors) is about what you'd expect from this Ultimate book: realistic, gritty, and is a nice transition from the Ultimates book. Without giving anything away, I really love how the panels are set up, in this issue. There's a sense of urgency, within the art. You could lose the word bubbles completely and the same emotion would come off of the page. The art and writing don't just stand on their own. They compliment each other.
I had one problem with a big element in the plot, which seemed contradictory to everything else happening in the book. I will discuss this more once the book has come out.
Perfect companion piece to Hickman's Ultimates. Finally, we can take The Ultimates serious again. Hawkeye can carry his own story for sure, especially with a great cast around him. It has one of the best opening stories currently at Marvel, and that's all thanks to the fabulous writing of Jonathan Hickman. The art is solid and just as good as the writing, but the one problem I had with the issue was a small problem with the story. But overall, I loved this book, and I highly recommend it.