In “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand” #5, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley finish off the saga of Galactus’ visit to the Ultimate Universe. A Pym particle-powered Kitty Pryde appears to be the Earth’s last hope in vanquishing the devourer of worlds.
As always, however, Reed Richards and Tony Stark have additional plans. After all, phasing and growing tall enough to look Galactus in the eye really isn’t going to do much against a behemoth that can destroy entire worlds. Their tactic buys some time and eventually saves the day. The ramifications of their actions remains to be seen, but through those two characters, Bendis manages to preserve the Ultimate Universe for at least one more round of adventures. Bendis writes minimal dialog for the variety of characters romping through the pages of “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand” #5, giving the action room to breathe. Kitty Pryde is overwhelmed by the circumstances and the nature of the conflict, but Bendis shows her true heroic nature throughout this issue. Miles Morales and Sue Storm have moments in the sun as well as a surprise appearance by another Ultimate staple. The end result is the most action-packed issue of “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand.” Unfortunately, it’s not enough to be remarkable or even memorable.
Mark Bagley’s art is as serviceable throughout Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand” #5 as it has been at any part of this series, maybe moreso. That said, there are some shaky spots, like the close-up of Kitty Pryde’s face on pages two and three where she is charging towards Galactus. The close-up comes panels after she sets in motion, but it is actually just an enlargement of a previous panel with no further attention paid to detail, inks or colors. Some other scattered panels throughout the comic illustrate a lack of detail, a complication that is only magnified by gaps in inking and/or coloring. The dominant color in the Ultimate Universe is orange, with a very large side of red. At least, judging by Jason Keith’s coloring in this issue. The excessive use of orange is relevant to the story, but more often than not just seems to be used in lieu of anything more detailed or textured. That said, Bagley, Hennessy and Keith deliver a gorgeous two-page spread, replete with Kirby crackle as Kitty goes toe-to-toe with Galactus.
Like so much of the entire “Cataclysm” saga, “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand” #5 has moments of glory and even some brilliant ideas, but the execution is found wanting. While it has been spoiled for a while now, it comes as no surprise that there is still an Ultimate Universe following this story. What happens in it, who has survived to guard it and what new threats arise remain to be seen. One thing is perfectly clear though: it won’t be Galactus. I just hope the stories to be told there are more compelling than this series has been.