Minor spoilers ahead!
The Ultimates have collected the Infinity Gems and learned they are too powerful for anyone to control. Meanwhile, someone is letting the Hulk, and other villains, loose in order to steal the gems.
This series has been a bit of a roller coaster the past year. The Ultimates world took a tumble as the United States broke up into different, smaller countries and Captain America led the country as the President. It was a very large story. What this book needs now is a more centralized and Ultimate-focused book, and that's what new writer Josh Fialkov has done here. He's made this book more about the Ultimates and a bit less about the world around them.
Carmine Di Gianomenico (pencils), Lorenzo Ruggiero (inks) and Jim Charalampidis (colors) are the new art team on this book, and if you saw the teaser page a month or so ago of Hulk with the Infinity Gauntlets on, then you know they're pretty freaking awesome. These folks deliver some pretty solid work throughout the issue, and I really enjoy the way they put a story together. Di Gianomenico is great at setting up establishing shots, like in the opening where The Ultimates stand around the Infinity Gauntlets. This trend continues throughout the issue. We get these solid moments of establishing panels that are great for setting the tone for the rest of the scene.
I really don't want to spoil the book. I'll keep this as vague as possible. We get to see the return of one of my favorite characters in the Ultimate Universe. The character fits well into the grand scheme, and their warped view of reality is a great addition to this book.
That final reveal page is so awesome. I haven't been this excited to continue reading a book in ages. What I love isn't just the fact it's a reveal just for a reveal's sake. It's going to be the driving force of this story and right away, we know this is going to be a gray area for the Ultimates, when they find out what's really going on. It's not just the reveal page that has me head-over-heels, it's the whole set-up throughout the issue.
It may be a new creative team and a new storyline, but this isn't the best place to jump on. This book ties into a bit of Humphries run on this series as well as Hickman's run.
While Di Giandomenico's art is incredibly wonderful throughout the book, I had one major problem with it, and it's that the detail gets lost in background characters or characters in longer shots. Obviously, you're going to lose detail the further away a character is in the panel, but it seemed like the amount of detail lost compared to the distance a character was in the panel, wasn't too equal. How's that for math?
THE ULTIMATES has become a fun book to read again. The past few arcs have been good, but they've been a bit too large scale. I love the fact this book has a smaller focus and that Hulk gets to smash it up here. I've never been the biggest Infinity Gems fan, but I love the explanation Fialkov givers here for their existence and it's something I'm looking forward to in future issues. The new creative team is very solid, even though I had a few small problems with details being lost on characters. While this may not be the best place for new readers to jump on, this is still a fantastic issue and I highly recommend picking this one up.