However you feel about “Ultimatum,” there’s no denying that Marvel is throwing the full weight of the business behind it. As a result of this line-changing event, this is the “last” issue of “Ultimate Fantastic Four,” although there is still a “Requiem” special to come.
It’s hard to know how to feel about this issue. It doesn’t remotely work as the final UFF story, but then arguably, it was never supposed to — the story continues in “Ultimatum,” and the job of capping off the series itself has been given to the “Requiem” issue. What we’re left with is the end of a truncated mini-arc that doesn’t really tell a story at all.
The last couple of issues have seen Ben, Sue, Sue’s mother and Dr. Doom searching for a missing Reed, while Sue steadfastly avoids dealing with Johnny’s death. In an unexpected twist, it seems that both characters are in fact alive, but. . . in alternate universes.
It’s a bizarre plot development that, at best, will need to be re-iterated in the parent series if there genuinely is any plan to follow it up, but it’s hard to see how dimension-hopping rescues will fit in with the rest of “Ultimatum.” What’s more of a concern is the nagging feeling that all the claims that a Fantastic Four character would die were all just cynical marketing.
After all, Johnny does appear to be in some kind of underworld, but even if he’s in the Ultimate Universe “hell,” it’s being treated in such a way that bringing him back to life is a simple matter of plucking him from that dimension, back into “ours.” Even now, “Ultimatum”‘s marketing is making a big deal out of the characters who have been unexpectedly killed off, so even teasing a reversal at this point isn’t going to help make people confident in the series.
Conclusion aside, it’s a competent but forgettable issue. Pokaski makes the best of the role he’s got with some entertaining dialogue, and although Tyler Kirkham’s artwork is something of an acquired taste, you have to admit that its adherence to the Top Cow house style means that it matches Finch’s look on Ultimatum better than any Marvel artist would. As the “concluding” issue of UFF, this demonstrates quite well exactly why the Ultimate Universe needed a retool in the first place. The series goes out with a whimper, and one decidedly unbecoming of what should be Marvel’s “gold standard” line.