Ultimate Fantastic Four #22

Writer : Mark Millar
Pencils : Greg Land
Inks : Matt Ryan
Colors : Jutin Ponsor
Letters : Chris Eliopoulos
Editor : Ralph Macchio
Publisher : Marvel Comics

The story continues from last week’s ‘DUN-DUN-DUN!’ ending, where Reed discovered that the Earth to which he had travelled had been enjoying a pretty horrific week.

In this issue we get some back-story on the problems of the new Earth being visited by Ultimate Reed, before a chase scene where Reed is rescued by an unlikely mutan…

Hey, who am I kidding? HE’S ON THE FREAKING COVER! I don’t know what the editorial interplay was on this one, but it would be like putting Magneto on the cover of New X-Men #146. What’s the point of the writer constructing a mini-cliffhanger within an issue (with Reed looking up at an unknown saviour) if the whole thing is set out in detail on the cover of the issue?

At any rate, this issue is entertaining in a fairly “this is so not what I understood the Ultimate line to be all about” way. I mean – zombies / vampires? Whole issues coloured in a bleak shade of grey / black? The persistently gray morality of the supposed heroes? Although, it is Mr. Millar himself, so some of my astonishment is muted.

Having said that, the zombies are certainly disconcerting, and the sense of the unknown certainly maintains our interest through the depiction of a world which has lost all hope.

Seeing evil versions of pretty much every Marvel super-hero is pretty cool too. The end is something we’ve all seen coming, and the involvement of the other three heroes will certainly make for a cracker of a confrontation next week.

One thing that doesn’t ring quite true is the apparent fact that, despite becoming zombies, the heroes still maintain all of their super-powers. Although this is an interesting take on the zombie idea, I don’t know if it has a lot of internal validity, given the general idea that zombifying someone pretty much fries their brain, which would certainly be necessary for the powers of a number of heroes.

Anyway, the art is certainly striking, with Greg Land going for what is almost a photo-realistic approach, along the lines of an Alex Ross book, although obviously with pencils. The zombified heroes look suitably intimidating, and I can tell you now, that this issue would downright scare me if I was under the age thirteen.

Although there are a high number of splashes, they certainly make their impact, and are there for the eye candy if nothing else.

Jutin Ponsor has really given his grey brush a workout on the colours, as the whole issue is given a dull post-apocalyptic shade, one that merges quite badly with Reed’s navy blue outfit, making him blend into the background on a number of occasions.

At any rate, this is one for the Walking Dead fans.

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