Ultimate Comics Cataclysm #0.1

Background

Galactus is in the Ultimate Universe and is heading for Earth. If you need any more backstory, READ MY @#$#ING REVIEWS FOR THE FOUR-ISSUE PRELUDE, HUNGER, YA LAZY BUM!

(Also, the Ultimate Vision is a robot created to kill Gah Lak Tus.)

Story '"Vision"'

  Ultimate Comics Cataclysm #0.1
Summary: Ultimate Vision killed by Galactus; Spider-Man reference
Production: VC's Clayton Cowles
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Leonard Kirk (pgs 16-20), Mico Suayan (pgs 1-11), Micro Pierfederici (pgs 12-15)
Cover Art: Michael Komarck
Lettering: VC's Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Nolan Woodard

In a black space, Ultimate Vision floats about, thinking about a new program she has installed that allows her to dream. Sam Wilson, her partner, apparently believes it will help her experience humanity. She is dreaming of embracing her lover when her mind is overwhelmed by Gah Lak Tus.

Vision immediately wakes beside Sam Wilson, voicing about how her psychic receptors have encountered a signal of Gah Lak Tus. Sam tells her that he just got word; the swarm was on Earth for a few minutes but then disappeared with Mahr Vehl. Vision detects it was in the Bahama Islands and Sam jokes it’s a tropic vacation. She doesn’t understand at first but then detects the sarcasm in his voice. Sam is pleased that she is understanding humanity while he puts on his costume.

Soon, Sam and Vision swoop by the Bahama Islands and she asks if everything has returned to normal. Then, she recites how Reed Richards seized control of the world and was overthrown, and the Ultimates are already moving on to the next problem. The Bahama Islands is overrun with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are analyzing the evidence on the scene. When they land, Tony Stark greets them. He kids to Vision that she is “a sight for sore eyes” and how he’ll never understand why she’s with a “chump” like Sam. Sam tells her that he is trying to be charming when she doesn’t understand.

Stark asks the holographic form of Director Chang why they missed detecting the Gah Lak Tus swarm and she replies that they simply appeared. Then, Stark finds Dr. Storm and asks her about a “pile of atomized dust” on the floor. Vision detects that it’s Gah Lak Tus, just a much smaller and weaker version. She is in the middle of the sentence that something isn’t right when she glitches, repeatedly saying, “He. I5. 43re.” When the malfunction passes, she is oblivious of what happened and pronounces she needs to interface the swarm’s remains.

Vision runs through the entire past of the Gah Lak Tus swarm in her mind and finds that it had bonded with Galactus, an alternate version of itself from another universe. She thinks that he cannot, will not, and must be stopped. When she returns to the real world, Sam and Tony ask if she’s okay, to which she replies she must journey to space to see Galactus for herself. Sam tells her that she will kill herself if she goes alone, but she leaves anyways to confront “the death of the universe.” Vision instructs Sam to stay on Earth to prepare the defenses in case she fails. As she leaves, Sam tells her he loves her.

In space, Vision ponders about how the universe Galactus comes from is denser and more energy rich than her own universe. It took all of the other universe’s heroes’ strength to repel her temporarily and Reed Richards is “one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. The Richards she knows is insane, apparently.

Vision reflects on how the 616 X-Men are “a race of strong, proud warriors, whose genes have evolved them to be an army” while the Ultimate X-Men have been betrayed, weakened, and broken by humanity. The 616 universe has “a living symbol of hope with Spider-Man” while the Ultimate universe has “a memorial of bravery and loss.” The 616 universe’s finest, bravest warriors are damaged, conflicted soldiers in the Ultimate universe.

Vision determines that it is her job to stop the Gah Lak Tus swarm, no matter what form it takes. She also notices that time is unwinding and reality is breaking down. “The universe has begun its death throes,” she realizes. Then, Galactus appears, the personification of the end of all. Vision politely asks him to leave her universe alone and explains that she is equipped to destroy him.

Galactus responds by capturing her in his hands and speaking, “Silence.” He opens his hands to find that Vision has been undamaged and she asks him to go back to where he came from. Galactus informs her that the Ultimate universe is broken and Vision believes it can be healed. Galactus responds it can be devoured.

Vision is forced to use grenades that contain dark matter on Galactus, which will remove him from existence. The attack makes her feel sorrowful and fearful because, instead of killing him, he consumed the energy. She sees that there is no possible survival. As Galactus tears Vision apart, she fears for what this means for Sam Wilson, the man she loves.

Vision explodes and sends a final transmission to Sam Wilson, explaining that she is sorry she failed him. She explains that he tries to make her more human and she found him foolish. Now, I’ll go straight to her transmission to Sam:

“I’ve felt things, Sam. For eons, I’ve felt fear and sadness and I never understood them. Until I felt a different emotion. One I could parse. Love. I love you, Sam Wilson. And I’m so scared to leave you. So scared to lose you-- The comforting thing, the thing that allows this to be okay, is that I know you love me too.”

While listening, Sam cries. Then, she reveals that it can be stopped and starts reciting Reed Richards’ name repeatedly until her eyes lose life.

General Comments

So…this is a 0.1 of the Cataclysm event. Therefore, it should be an issue which gives readers a look at what is coming in the next five issues and a good jumping-on point for new readers. Instead, it acts as a poor introduction to what looks like a massive Ultimate crossover. The whole story centers around the Vision and her defeat by Galactus. How exactly does that have anything to do with the main stars of the story? There’s only a one-page into for them. (I’ll get to that later.) And you also have to ask yourself if this issue is really necessary after we had to endure a four-part set-up mini, Hunger, for this event.

The Vision’s death is two of the oldest plot devices in the book. She’s just introduced in the issue only to be killed by Galactus and heighten his villainy status. Of course, Galactus is the last villain who needs his villainy status heightened, so the first device doesn’t make sense. The second device is that Vision is only introduced in the issue only to be killed and the reader is expected to cry over it. Usually, I can't feel bad for a character that I’ve just been introduced to when they are killed, but this is different. Vision’s character is skillfully built up throughout the issue and I felt genuinely sorrowful when she died. Fialkov’s narration of Vision in her transmission to Sam was brilliantly crafted. In fact, the whole Vision/Sam relationship is marvelous.

When Fialkov first entered writing the Ultimate universe, I was a bit uncertain about the situation. After all, the Ultimate universe is supposed to be a higher-quality alternative to the regular 616 universe with good writers and artists on the titles. Now…Fialkov? I really only know him from the crappy Alpha: Big Time series he wrote and that was terrible. How can he be trusted to handle the Ultimate universe? Luckily, I now know Fialkov knows exactly what he’s doing from the one-page introduction for the Ultimate heroes. It’s really a comparison of the Ultimate universe to the 616 universe which shows that the Ultimate world is far more cynical and realistic. Really, you need to read it for yourself to understand and once you do, you will realize the greatness of it.

Lastly, the art is somewhat mixed since there are three different artists. Suayan’s mega-detailed, shading-heavy art style is great at showing the emotions and gravity of the story. Then, Pierfederici’s plush art completely ruins the introduction of Galactus and the dark vibe of the story. Finally, Kirk’s art finishes the issue sloppily and rushed. Luckily, Bagley will be drawing the main event so we won’t have to worry about this crap happening.

Overall Rating

While this is a completely unnecessary issue that didn't introduce Cataclysm well, the Vision's story is absolutely brilliant and emotional. If this was a stand-alone story that wasn't meant to introduce a massive event, I would give it 5 webs.