“Hunger” #4 by Joshua Hale Fialov and drawn by Leonard Kirk concludes the miniseries bringing Galactus to the Ultimate Universe. If that sounds like a fairly prosaic description of a comic, it’s because the remit seems to have left room for little else.
Spinning out of the literally universe-shattering conclusion of “Age of Ultron,” it initially seemed as though “Hunger” was going to be a huge deal for the Ultimate Universe, as Galactus peered in and decided he’d like a sample the goods. Unfortunately, it seems that readers will have to wait a little longer for the chance to see the big G actually attempting to chow down on Earth, because “Hunger” was four issues of lead-in to the forthcoming Ultimate event, “Cataclysm.”
As a reader, it’s hard not to feel as though there wasn’t actually a story here. That’s not an entirely fair, of course — at least half of the series is an Ultimate Captain Marvel and Ultimate Rick Jones story in disguise, and this issue in particular hammers that home — but those reading it weren’t picking the book up for Ultimate Captain Marvel and Ultimate Rick Jones. They wanted Galactus. In that respect, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed by how the story doesn’t really go anywhere.
In fairness to Fialkov, the apparent constraints on this series would have left little room to tell an intriguing story. Technically-speaking the writing is fault-free, and Fialkov and Kirk can definitely choreograph their fights brilliantly. The pages are full of cosmic spectacle, and the fact that it’s a final issue means it plays to Kirk’s strengths, with about 80% of the book a knock-down, drag-out fight. There’s nothing here that suggests bad creators, just the wrong kind of marketing. The real problem with this miniseries is that Galactus is automatically a far more interesting character than virtually anyone in the Ultimate Universe, so the terminally-dull Ultimate versions of Rick Jones and Captain Marvel already haven’t got a chance of getting into the spotlight.
Overall, with its emphasis on providing a lead-in to “Cataclysm” and on resolving the relationship between Galactus and Gah Lak Tus, “Hunger” feels a lot like one of those “stories about stories.” There’s nothing wrong with “Hunger” in that it gets characters from the last story and lines them up for the next, but considered in isolation it just lacks any real substance.