Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Chapter Two
Written by: Warren Ellis
Pencilled by: Trevor Hairsine
Inked by: Nelson DeCastro w/ Simon Coleby
Colored by: Frank D’Armata
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics
There are certain books that are very difficult, if not impossible, to review on the basis of a single issue. Ultimate Nightmare is one such book.
Which isn’t to say it’s bad, because it is not. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. However, in describing it to anyone, it becomes readily apparent that the book lacked any action set pieces, even minor ones, and there was a scene of a helicopter going into the SHIELD Helicruiser that should read, “If you hated this 4 panel approach with the Fantasticar in Ultimate Fantastic Four, boy are you about to get thoroughly pissed off.”
What you do get in reading the issue is a great monologue from Sam Wilson (Falcon) where he talks about the entire world being a collection of machines. Some how or another, this whole thread leads into his reveal that, with the right amount of study, he might just be able to create a machine capable of pulling a Lazarus on a fallen soldier or friend, whenever, wherever. It is intense intriguing stuff; a Planetary type idea implanted into the Ultimate universe. As Falcon describes the “big” ideas, Ellis does nice job of accenting the other players personalities (Fury, Cap, and Black Widow) with only a few words a piece. Falcon is the focus, but no one is short-changed because of it. It may or may not have much bearing on the rest of the plot, but it is my favorite moment of the script and so it gets a mention. I play favorites, okay?
Besides that moment, Ellis takes the time to muddy the waters when it comes to that giant crater in Tunguska, Russia. The sci-fi end of the world coming from the sky plot gets an extra layer with the inclusion of a possible secret Russian presence, what was random horror issue now has a whiff of conspiracy to it.
Hairsine’s art is already showed dramatic improvement from the Ultimate Six miniseries. While I could tell he had talent then, the work often had a rushed, scratchy texture to it that made reading that mini not as smooth an experience as I would have liked. Here, Hairsine has gotten that under control to offer a cleaner style that does not sacrifice any of the grit or depth displayed in the earlier work. For an issue almost wholly revolving around conversation, he does a very good job of keeping the story moving and preventing the angles from becoming repetitive.
The Final Word: I may not do a very good job of articulating it, but I did enjoy this issue.