ROUND 3, BATTLE 1
ULTIMATE END #1-3
Most readers of Marvel’s Secret Wars summer event have realized that a sense of cohesion amongst the dozens of spin-off titles – or even a need to make them make any sense whatsoever – is just not a concern for the publisher. At this point, people are most likely reading to not be left out, cutting as many titles as possible while still keeping that feeling of inclusion. If you’re looking for a title that keeps you in the Secret Wars loop, then A-Force continues to be the one. Every issue gives off the feeling that, outside of the main Secret Wars book, it’s the best place for SW world-building, and it also feels like it’s going to deliver some sort of way out of this mess. A-Force wins this battle by a hundred kajillion billion, even though you could argue that it’s going up against the most important, necessary book in all Secret Wars.
It’s also the worst. From the first issue, Ultimate End has been an absolute mess, and with the third issue, it becomes abundantly clear why that is. I don’t have any proof of this theory, but if it’s not the case, then Bendis has simply gone insane. It’s clear that Ultimate End was written a long time ago, most likely before Secret Wars was even a thing. It would be like writing a eulogy for someone not just before they died, but also before they got a sex change and became an astronaut, and then simply not including that when you deliver the eulogy. There’s a couple of truths throughout all of the Secret Wars books that care about being part of the larger story:
- Doom recreated the world, based on his love of Marvel summer events.
- Seven or so heroes in the Marvel universe recently landed here, and know that it’s a sham.
- More and more heroes are starting to realize that every day.
- Thors are police.
So, you can be like Weirdworld, and just tell your shit-crazy story that doesn’t have to with anything, and sell a few more copies than it would outside of the event, or you can play with the pieces of Secret Wars, and have some Thors and make some characters begin to remember their own world. That’s it. Those are the only two options. And if you pick one of those options, we here at PopFilter will decide which comic books are the best. Ultimate End, however, sees no need to pick one of those options, and it has to be because it was written before Secret Wars.
The reason this is a shame is because it is the final story of the Ultimate line. The Ultimate line had faded since it used to own the sales charts, but it’s still not hard for comic fans of the last decade or so to be reminded of some pretty sweet stories. The inclusion of some of the Ultimate characters (mostly Miles Morales) into the main 616 universe seems like the entire reason for Secret Wars. But if someone decided to combine the death of the Ultimate line with Secret Wars, or if someone decided at the last second that the death of the Ultimate line should be a much bigger deal than a five issue mini-series written by Bendis, than Ultimate End should have been scrapped. As it stands now, it feels so chopped up and forced, as if elements of Battleworld have been added to the book after it was finished. It doesn’t make any sense in relation to the bigger event, and it doesn’t really make sense on it’s own. For A-Force, the exact opposite is true. It completely feels like part of this event, but would also stand on its own (and it will have to soon, as it is slated to become a regular series after Secret Wars). If the book was a little slow in the second issue, or a little too reliant on “Doom Doom Doom,â€ the third issue adds a classic plot device (“There’s a traitor amongst usâ€) to ratchet up that tension for the final escape from Battleworld over the next two months. So a much deserving A-Force moves on to the elite 8 to for a showdown against Infinity Gauntlet, while Ultimate End starts its path on being forgotten as soon as possible.