All-New Ultimate Now Review: Survive! by Brian Michael Bendis & Joe Quinones (Cataclysm Aftermath!)

Survive! #1

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Joe Quinones
Colored by: Rainier Beredo with Joe Quinones
Lettered by: VC’s Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Survive is the epilogue to the Ultimate Marvel Universe story that started in Hunger and finished in Cataclysm. Galactus came across from the 616 universe and caused mass destruction around the universe, and even worse, my home state of New Jersey.

Actually, if this review was being written by Ultimate Skitch…well…he’s probably dead…so RIP my alternate self, you will be missed.

Survive helps to set up the new status quo. That is something I love about the Ultimate Universe. They aren’t afraid to kill major characters (and keep them dead) and set up new status quos every few years. I do sometimes thing that the HOW they get there can be a bit heavy-handed (see Ultimatum), but I do typically love the end results.

Summary (contains spoilers): Survive! starts at two funerals for President Steve “Captain America” Rogers, who had sacrificed himself to take down Galactus during Cataclysm. The first funeral is a big public spectacle.

The “real” funeral is taking place at Stark Tower, with the assorted superheroes and allies who knew and worked with Cap. As Stark gives the eulogy, the issue focuses on specific characters in attendance.

First up, Monica Chang of SHIELD. Four days ago, she was supervising the clean up of New Jersey when her lawyer, Franklin Nelson, comes to find her. He tells her that people will be pressing charges against her because Galactus’s attack came during her watch. He also says that he has heard there are talks about completely dismantling SHIELD because of their “complete failure to fulfill its objective and goal of keeping the world safe…” She wonders what will replace SHIELD…

Next up is Sue Storm. Three days ago, she was checking out the remains of the Baxter Building when her evil ex Reed Richards shows up to talk. Reed seems to have been inspired by what he saw in the 616 universe and suggests that he might want to turn over a new leaf.  Sue says that she thinks he’s up to something, but she can’t figured out his angle. Reed admits, “Neither can I.” Reed concludes by saying “SHIELD will cease to be…” and “they are going to need something…”

Our third hero is Kitty Pryde. Since stopping Galactus, she hasn’t left her bed. She gets a call from the President. He says the country owes her a huge debt and wants to give her the Medal of Freedom. He also seems to be very pro-mutants and wants her to help him push forward a mutant equality agenda.

Last up is Spider-Man, Miles Morales. While helping with clean-up, he is approached by Spider-Woman who says, “I have an idea and I need you to be part of it.”

Cut back to the funeral. Spider-Woman interrupts Stark’s eulogy to announce that Cap’s legacy will live on with a new Ultimates team consisting of Spider-Man, Kitty Pryde, Spider-Woman, Bombshell, Cloak, and Dagger. Tony raises a toast to them.

Review: Just a head’s up, if you go into this book expecting Storm or Falcon since they are on the cover, you will be sorely disappointed. Neither of them even appeared in this issue other than in some crowd shots. I am not even sure why they would put those characters on the cover, I can’t imagine either of them would be a huge selling point. I would have gone Miles Morales, Reed Richards, and Kitty Pryde if it was up to me.

I am a huge Miles Morales fan, and was a little annoyed that he got short-changed here. Cataclysm set up a lot of major material with Miles, and his role in this book is basically just to be recruited by Spider-Woman. I know that Miles is getting his own follow-up in Ultimate Spider-Man 200 next week, but I still felt cheated.

The character work on this issue was really the only reason to buy this book. I especially liked the cat and mouse between Reed and Sue, and Kitty’s conversation with the President. Bendis has been the main man behind the Ultimate Universe since day one, and I still think he does it better than anyone else.

I did think the art on this book was incredibly blah. Usually when I do a review, I sprinkle images all over the place just to show off the art, but I didn’t see anything all that inspiring in this issue. I couldn’t even find an image that I could chop into a flashy banner to promote this review.

It wasn’t even that the art was all that bad. It all just felt very functional.

Actually, functional isn’t a bad way to describe this entire issue.  Survive! got us from Cataclysm to the new status quo for the Ultimate Universe with no frills. But also no real excitement to it. This would have been the ideal book for a Free Comic Book Day offering.

Instead, I paid 4 bucks for something that probably could easily have been done in the first few pages of the new Ultimate comics coming out over the next few months. Bendis’s character work was solid as always, but I am not sure that it was enough to make this a good comic.

Final Score: 7.5: Nothing was wrong with this comic, but it all just felt very functional. That said, I am really looking forward to the new status quo for the Ultimate line.

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