Comics : Ultimate Power #1 (Director's Cut)

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

I don't know about you, but I'm getting mighty tired of this "sell the same comic book three times" schtick.

I can accept that issue #100 of a major title comic book might have two covers. But when a limited series from an alternate universe like this one needs a regular cover, a variant cover, and a "Director's Cut"... then something is seriously out of whack.

In Detail...

Ultimate Power #1 (Director's Cut)
Dec 2006 : SM Cover
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man cameo (cover)
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Greg Land
Inker:  Matt Ryan
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Review

For the actual story details, you can read our SpiderFan review of Ultimate Power #1 regular edition. The tale was a little slow to get started, as Bendis often is - but it's a reasonable kick-off for this series. But that's not what we're here for. Today we're specifically reviewing the Director's Cut. So we're going to focus on the edits and changes to the story that were made for this version.

We all know what the "Director's Cut" is, right? The term comes from movies of course. A film (or in this case a comic book) is put to general release in the "commercial" format that the studios and editors insist upon in order to ensure general popular success. Then at a later date, with due consideration, the director of a popular enough film (especially one that achieves cult fandom) may get the opportunity to re-release the movie (or comic book), edited as he personally wanted.

Scenes will be edited, new scenes may be inserted. Perhaps the most famous "Director's Cut" of all is "Bladerunner", where the explanatory voice-over was removed, the entire role of the main character was called into doubt, and the happy ending was replaced by a deliberately open-ended final scene.

In general, directors' cuts are produced because the director (in the case of a comic book presumably the writer) was dissatisfied with the artistic compromises made to ensure commerical success. They wish to release the work in a form that better encapsulates their artistic vision. They want the fans to see "the film they wanted to make", not "the film the studios and produces insisted they make".

Given that this is the first issue of a comic book series and doesn't contain any key events, it's difficult to see what fundamental changes Bendis might want to make that could justify a re-release of this story. But let's go through page by page and see...

...but...

...there are...

...no changes to the story?

I can't see any difference in art work or script. The story appears to be completely identical! The only difference is that at the end of the book, the unfinished black and white artwork for a dozen or so pages is reproduced so you can see what an unfinished comic book looks like.

Call the police! We've been robbed!

In General...

How the hell does this justify the "Director's Cut" label? What is going on here? How can a mediocre $3 comic book become a $3 + $3 + $4 = $10 comic book without anybody raising a stink about it. Are we all such sheep that we will line up three times to get fleeced for the same comic book.

Baaaaaaaa!

Overall Rating...

This kind of rip-off exercise shows pretty well how creatively bereft the comic book industry has become. There's nasty echoes of the early 1990's here, when every comic book was #1, and they all had holographic glow-in-the-dark covers.

A few extra panels of half-completed artwork really doesn't justify selling the same comic book for a third time. This Director's Cut should have been cut off at the knees long before it ever saw print. One Web.