Thursday, August 23, 2012

Retro Review: Ultraforce/Spider-man 1A-1B

In an earlier post a reader had asked me to review a Malibu comic. I did Rune Vs Venom but felt like it was mostly a Venom book and Rune was barely even all that important to the story. So since I felt that was barely a Malibu book I said I might come back and review Ultraforce/Spider-man. And here we are.

Our issues are numbered 1A and 1B. Not one and two. I mentioned before how this type of numbering annoys me, so I won't go into it more here. What's odd about this book is 1A and 1B are almost the exact same comic. The beginning is the same in both, and the end is the same in both. All that is different is each one has a different middle section which we will get into more in a minute. This is a pretty shameless ploy to get more fucking money out of people. Both of these books are $3.95 cover price which was insane for a comic in 1996. And given that they are like 80% identical they could have easily been combined into a prestigious format one shot. Like I've said before, I'm not one to complain about the price of comics, adjusted for inflation the price has probably barely went up. You want to be mad at someone for high prices be mad at out government for devaluing the currency. But this? Splitting what should have been a $6 prestigious format one shot into two $4 books that were mostly identical is fucking shameless.

So enough about that let's get to the story. After a brief and rather pointless sequence of Spider-man stopping some muggers we cut to Ultraforce hanging out in, I guess the Ultracave (I barely know anything about Ultraforce, sorry). Anyways they're in their headquarters, most of the team is there although Prime is not when suddenly through a portal appears an old looking Prime. He explains he's from the future and he's here to give a warning. He tells that a villain from the Marvel universe will commit genocide in the Ultraverse and also one member of Ultraforce is a traitor, although he doesn't know who. Ultraforce member Black Knight, who's from the Marvel Universe and is living in the Ultraverse at this point for some reason, recognizes the villain as the Green Goblin so Ultraforce travels to the Marvel U to find him. Old Prime then explodes because he says the strain of time travel was too much on him on a molecular level.

We cut to Spider-man (Ben Rielly at the time) and the hero Green Goblin Phil Urich stopping some Ninjas who are attacking a Stark Industries research lab. The Ninjas have electrical and shapeshifting powers. Ultraforce shows up intending to apprehend Green Goblin but Spider-man vouches for him being a hero. Because Prime and Spidey have apparently met before this is good enough to form an uneasy truce. We find out there are more of these 'shifters' as we are calling them attacking SHEILD bases so the team splits up, some going with Green Goblin, some with Spidey.

This is where the two different books have different middles. After this one book focuses on Green Goblin and the other on Spidey. But they come around to the same ending chapter. We come to find out that SHEILD believes that the Ultraverse Earth is planning an attack and Aladdin, which is the Ultraverse equivalent of SHEILD, believes the same about the Marvel Earth. Apparently these 'shifters' have infiltrated both organizations and are planting the seeds of a war between the two Earths. Also we figure out the old Prime was also a shifter. At the end Spidey vows to tell SHEILD what he knows about the shifters and that the Ultraverse is no threat and Ultraforce vows to do the same with Aladdin. We then cut to this scene showing neither organization believes it and are both preparing for war. Also our mysterious master mind villain is watching it all giving the standard "It's all falling into place" monologue.

There was a lot I liked about this story and a lot I didn't. Prime seems pretty interesting, he is apparently like DC's Captain Marvel, in that he's a little kid who can turn into the Superman like figure and none of his teammates knows he's really a kid. Also Ghoul is apparently a super powered sorta zombie, minus the hunger for flesh and that's pretty interesting. Aside from that none of the other Ultraforce members seemed interesting at all. Also it was nice to see a team up with Spider-man and the heroic Green Goblin. The two never really got to interact much in Phil's short Green Goblin run. And the idea of a war between two parallel Earth's is pretty interesting and not one you see that often. I mean sure heroes from parallel Earths fight all the time in comics but an actual war between the governments of both worlds. Interesting. I wonder if and where this storyline was followed up on. In some ways though the 'shifters' had a terrible plan. What was sending Ultraforce after the Green Goblin, a relatively insignificant vigilante modeled after a villain that only ever really fought Spider-man, really going to accomplish? Wouldn't it have made more sense to send Ultraforce after an Avenger, or Reed Richards, or Professor X, or Nick Fury if your goal was a war of the worlds?

All and all not a bad read. Although like I said above the 1A 1B layout is total bullshit.

1 comment:

  1. Good review, Chris. I actually didn't like any of the Malibu crossovers; I know Marvel bought them but so much of it didn't make sense (let's strand Black Knight there, as well as some random X-Characters [Siena Blaze, Reaper], Juggernaut, Sersi and Lizard) as a desperate ploy to raise sales on a series that was overexposed. I have to say that I didn't find Prime that interesting either...

    But I haven't read the Ultraverse / X-Men crossovers yet. They did a Rune / Gambit one, and seeing as I like Gambit - a LOT - this may be a good thing. On the other hand, this issue worked for me having Ben Reilly and Phil Urich team up. PhilGoblin is always a win for me.

    -Jeremiah Ecks