Joshua Hale Fialkov commands the writer’s chair for “Cataclysm: Ultimates” #1 which picks up directly from “Cataclysm” #0.1, the most recent contribution to Galactus’ journey through the Ultimate Universe written by Fialkov. Sam Wilson, the Falcon, is there to join Fialkov as nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to figure out how Galactus is connected to Gah Lak Tus and what to do about the enormous threat to the Earth.
While Fialkov has stepped to the side for Brian Michael Bendis to write the adventures in the pages of “Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand,” he exhibits no problem jumping right back into the swing of things here. The story opens with some exposition from Danny Ketch as humanity begins to slip under the influence of the Gah Lak Tus Swarm. Fialkov knits his way through a handful of characters, tying them all into the invasion and gradually raising the stakes facing the planet — and the universe — before the final panel of “Cataclysm: Ultimates” #1.
Carmine Di Giandomenico’s pencils under Lorenzo Ruggiero’s inks add a visual desperation to the characters that is conveyed through rugged, jagged shadows and harsh anatomy as much as through their expressions, body language and emotions. The artwork from Di Giandomenico feels new, bringing in subtle attributes of the styles of Matthew Clark and Phil Hester while paying homage to creators like Walter Simonson and Mike Mignola. Wil Quintana’s colors strike the pandemonium and chaos just right, illuminating “Cataclysm: Ultimates” #1 in uncertain tones and hues that are filled with heat and danger.
While “Cataclysm: Ultimates” #1 is a fairly deep dive into an event that has been gaining steam for almost a quarter of a year, with rippling waves spreading across the Ultimate Universe, Fialkov manages to make this comic book approachable, digestible and enjoyable. The characters here are familiar, despite their obvious differences from their 616 Universe counterparts. The writer gives us just enough time with each of the characters to breed familiarity before drastically altering the landscape underneath these characters as they charge into battle.
The end result is a comic book that is a fun read and a thrill a minute. It’s rather a shame that I’m just now catching notice of some of these characters as they charge towards oblivion, but Fialkov is making that charge exciting and infectious. Despite not being the biggest Ultimate Universe aficionado, I have been enjoying the “Cataclysm” event and am now hooked into the developments of “Cataclysm: Ultimates” as mayhem and destruction continue to erupt all across the Ultimate Comics Universe.