The second issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ new mega-crossover that promises to shake the Marvel Ultimate universe releases on Wednesday. Here’s my advance review, with spoilers.
Ultimate Origins #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Butch Guice and Justin Ponsor
What’s Going On:
Following the revelation at the end of issue 1 that the government created mutants, starting with Wolverine, as a side project in their supersoldier program, we now get Captain America’s origin story. The issue begins in the current day with the Fantastic Four called to investigate a mysterious artifact that has just activated in a SHIELD storage facility in Wyoming.
Jumping back to 1942, we then meet Steve Rogers, a young man itching to jump into the action of World War II to defend his country but stymied by a lame leg that prevents the recruiters from accepting him. After his third attempt at the recruitment office, he makes an impression on Sergeant Dugan-the Ultimate universe’s version of Dum Dum Dugan-and is invited behind the scenes of the recruitment office and given a special offer.
Lesson Learned Here:
Being agreeable is the key to surviving radical steroid experiments.
How It Ends:
Steve is accepted into Project Rebirth and subjected to the supersoldier serum that previously was tested on Nick Fury. The serum transforms him into Captain America just in time for him to take down Nazi infiltrators who kill the doctor in charge of the program, ensuring that the secret to the serum is lost and that Steve Rogers will be the last and only completely successful supersoldier from the program. In the midst of the battle in the lab, an artifact surfaces-the same on the Fantastic Four encounter in current day. The issue ends with Steve, now Captain America, called to war by President Roosevelt. He says goodbye to his sweetheart Gail before heading off to Europe.
The Ultimate universe has a lot of alternate versions of characters and stories, but the devotion, patriotism, and passion of Steve Rogers is consistent from the classic Marvel stories into this new origin. I like that the Cap in the Ultimates is just as true blue as the one in the regular Marvel universe. Steve Rogers’ naiveté feels real here and fits perfectly with the character and the environment Marvel has crafted.
I also like the way these origin stories are being told. There have been a lot of “event” stories in the Ultimate comics that have been hyped over the years. Some of them have paid off on their promises, while many more have fallen flat. Ultimate Origins so far is quality storytelling from Bendis, and it is showing us stories that matter about the biggest characters in Marvel. The first issue was all about Wolverine and Nick Fury, and this one takes on Captain America. The next issue will show the first meeting of Charles Xavier and Magneto in the Ultimate universe, and it’s safe to assume that it will tie somehow into the events of the first two issues. As Bruce Banner told Spider-Man at the beginning of the series, it’s all connected.