Ultimate Enemy #1

Bendis brings us into the calamity that unfolds in the pages of "Ultimate Enemy" through the eyes of Jessica Drew, the Ultimate Spider-Woman. A product of Roxxon, Drew is casing the corporate headquarters of the Ultimate version when a massive tentacled blob demolishes the multi-story building. From there, Bendis gives us other samples of the universe Drew shares with other interpretations of classic Marvel characters. Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, and Nick Fury all make appearances with virtual guarantees of being back next issue to face the mysterious menace set upon the destruction of New York.

A city beset by rampaging molten evil seems like an odd circumstance for this series, and hardly a menace worthy of the insane amount of detail poured into this issue by Rafa Sandoval. At least on the surface. This is a Bendis comic, so nothing is done in one, and with Sandoval on the art, I hope this story goes on for a long, long time. Sandoval's art is worthy of a high-profile gig, and this is about as high profile as the Ultimate Marvel Universe is going to get right now. Sandoval's cityscape is detailed without being an obvious tracing of a photograph. Perspective is at play here, with buildings drawn by hand. The end result is one of the most visually striking comics I've ever seen from the Ultimate line. Wilson's colors brighten up the destruction with bombastic saturation appropriate to such a visually compelling superhero comic.

This first issue gives us a foreshadow of the threat, but doesn't give us the full introduction. Additionally we are introduced to characters that obviously will have some interest in this story, be it their livelihood or their camaraderie. This story isn't deep enough to be an instant classic, but it does have the beginnings of an exciting tale worthy of at least checking out in collected form. With more characters on the cover of this first issue than what we see inside, it seems as though future issues will have a great deal to offer.

I am impressed with the high level of artistic talent Marvel is throwing at their Ultimate line, and find this book to be the most compelling of the lot so far. We don't have Avengers or Ultimates -- or whatever they'd like to be called here -- rushing into destruction's path. We do, however, get a serious threat that has a mad-on for Nick Fury and apparently doesn't give a hoot what else gets destroyed. That, my friends, is high caliber comic book fun.

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