Ultimatum #5

ultimatum_5pVomited forth by Jeph Loeb; art by David Finch

Over?  It certainly is Erik.  Were Marvel’s Ultimate line my friend, Ultimatum #5 would be the fight at the end of a long tiff which resulted in me angrily shouting “You’re dead to me!”  Character assassin and super villain in his own right Jeph Loeb has throttled me from not caring about the Ultimate Universe straight past not wanting to read about it and well into “I wish it had never existed” territory.

I’m torn.  Ultimatum #5 could quite possibly be the single worst piece of writing in recorded history.  There is a part of me that wants to encourage everyone to go to their LCS and read it (for free, don’t you DARE pay for this piece of trash) just to know how poorly written something can be.  This book is abysmal.  At the same time, if you’re reading this review, I feel some sort of moral obligation to keep you out of harm’s way.  To that end, I simply must insist you never – ever – read this book.  For those of you sadists out there still curious, don’t worry about reading anything else first for frame of reference.  Here’s what’s happened in Ultimatum so far:

– Magneto moved the world off its axis

– People died in a flood

– Other people died after the flood

– Nick Fury came back; Doom too

Okay, you’re good.  You didn’t even really need to know that to grasp the awful that was this issue.  Don’t believe me?  I’m not usually one to post spoilers but in this case, I’m saving you time and money.  If you’re so inclined, grab a bucket, and read on…

Are they still spoilers if the story spoiled itself?  Click the warning to see for yourself

Are they still spoilers if the story spoiled itself? Click the warning to see for yourself

Jeph Loeb is a monster.  He either hates fans, hates comics, or hates himself so much he’s hoping that fans of comics will have him killed.  Or he’s a humanoid exoskeleton piloted by mentally handicapped howler monkeys.  I’m not sure which.  I’m dumber for having read this book.  I wish I could retroactively gouge my eyes out so I never would have had to read this.  To the creators of this book: “I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your souls.”  You broke the scale.

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Jason Kerouac is a co-founder of Panelsonpages.com. He spends roughly half of his waking life in servitude to the Giraffe. Raised in a town in New Hampshire you've never heard of, he now lives in Indianapolis, IN and is pretty sure that's a step in the right direction.

Comments (23)

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  1. Ben Gilbert says:

    Wow, I thought Hulk # 600 was the worst thing of Loeb’s I’ve ever read, but this sounds absolutely horrible.

    • JasonKerouac says:

      Yeah, didn’t read the Hulk issue, but I simply can’t imagine ever hating anything as much as I hate this book.

  2. JasonKerouac says:

    In fact, if I owned a comic book store, I’d take my entire shipment of Ultimatum #5, make a pile on the floor, and literally take a giant shit on it. I would then take a picture of this, and post it at the register with a sign that said “Ultimatum #5 out of stock”

  3. That sounds terrible… must be why I can’t even find this on any of my usual sources of questionable quality comics.

  4. Robert Eddleman says:

    On the plus side, Tomer can’t complain about us giving out too many positive reviews now.

  5. Tomer Soiker says:

    Yeah? I doubt Loeb is the only bad writer out there, but I’m good with that.

  6. Applemask says:

    I remember when Jeph Loeb was a good writer. When he could write a Long Halloween or a Daredevil: Yellow or even a Hulk: Grey. I have no idea where he went, but the world must never forget he existed, long before Red Hulk or Ultimatum.

    • JasonKerouac says:

      Oh, I’m aware. Hell, even Hush and Public Enemies were decent. I don’t say this to be controversial or insensitive, but I truly feel as though losing Sam has affected his writing. I don’t know if he doesn’t care anymore, or if he’s just coming from a different place altogether, but it’s seemed to me as though THAT was the turning point. Although Vengeance (the Superman/Batman arc with the Maximums) was pretty awful as well.

  7. Robert Eddleman says:

    I’ve felt the same way about Loeb’s writing after Sam’s passing. I like the guy a lot. I just wish he’d move into more of an editorial role.

  8. Keegmania says:

    I don’t think it’s controversial or insensitive to point to a major change in Loeb’s life and posit that it may have made a huge difference in what sort of writer he is. I think it’d be more insensitive to expect him to be the exact same writer after losing his son. But the fact is that the writer he’s become is absolutely fucking terrible.

    Here’s the question: Ultimatum has been universally hated, but sold strong. Anyone with the slightest bit of sense knows that it sold well DESPITE the quality of the work simply because it was a major event in a beloved comic imprint, but that’s neither here nor there. So weighing reader reaction with sales of Ultimatum, do we think Loeb is going to be kept on to head New Ultimates, or will Marvel editors come to their senses and replace him with a Bendis?

    • It’s the same thing as Hulk, though, Keegmania. The book sells well, REALLY well, but I’ve only heard a couple people EVER say they like it. I know that I for one was buying for awhile in hopes of finding red Hulk’s identity, and honestly, to see just how bad it was going to be. Now I don’t buy it and I feel much better. But Loeb’s attached to Hulk for the foreseeable future. I just hate that he did this to my beloved Ultimate line.

    • JasonKerouac says:

      I thought that the new book was supposed to be helmed by Millar, but… I’ve got to admit… I try to avoid “news” because I tend to try to avoid spoilers, and it seems like you can’t dodge the one without hiding from both.

      As for Loeb’s future… I think what you’ve got is a Claremont situation where he’ll slowly be relegated to less and less relevant titles. Claremont went from having the X-Titles as his sandbox to having New Exiles to now just being handed his own book to fuck up however he wants to. I suspect Loeb will be treated much the same way. There seems to be too much reverence to kcik these guys to the curb completely, but at the same time, if fans make it clear they don’t want these people mucking up good characters, they’ll just quietly be shuffled off to their own out of continuity series and left to play in their own sandboxes where the few hangers on can still find them. I’ve no problem with that aside from how ridiculously indulgent it is in a market where I’m being gouged for the books I am buying. seemingly to support the production of crap like X-Men Forever.

  9. JasonKerouac says:

    Oh, that reminds me. Ben crushed Doom’s skull in the palm of his hand. God I hate this book.

  10. Robert Eddleman says:

    “… I think what you’ve got is a Claremont situation where he’ll slowly be relegated to less and less relevant titles.”

    Although Loeb’s books still greatly outsell CC’s, don’t they?

  11. Batman25JM says:

    I completely agree. This book SUCKED. It sucked so much that we need to create a new word to describe how much it sucked.

    This book was nothing but senseless death. People are dying left and right. I have to say, that showing how easy it is to kill these heroes seems to cheapen their past adventures and make them look less dangerous.

    Loeb just ruined the Ultimate U. He turned heroes into stone cold killers, and also killed off the two biggest villains. He wrote people out of character and just fucked the whole thing up. Honestly, that Doom/Thing thing was horrible. Oh, and the biggest problem I have is with Iron Man. He’s one of the smartest men in the world and he decides to go into battle against the master of magnetism while wearing a suit made out of metal? Seriously?! And I have no idea how Scott wasn’t able to just turn his head away, close his eyes or take off his own visor.

    • JasonKerouac says:

      First of all, how’s Loebad (Loeb + bad) work for ya, JM?

      Second, I hate how people writing Magneto stories forget that there are metals that are NOT magnetic!!!! I work at a bank. We have a coin counter. Do you know how it can tell the US coins from Canadians? They don’t say “eh!” I kid, I kid… it uses a magnet to pull out the Canadian coins while the US money goes right through. If Iron Man made a suit out of melted down US quarters, he’d be all set!

      And as for Scott, good point. At the bare minimum, Scotty could have closed his eyes. Or maybe he WANTED to kill Logan for screwin Jean XD

      Here’s the big problem here… what Loeb’s done with Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum would’ve been fine if – IF – it had all been at the beginning of the Ultimate U. The whole point of this new universe was establishing a new status quo. If Ultimate Cyke had been a merciless killer from day one, well then, who cares. But he wasn’t. He isn’t. And so assassinating his character like that before… well… assassinating his character, was just poor form.

  12. Batman25JM says:

    I like the term Loebad. You should trademark it.

    I’m guilty of forgetting about non magnetic metals, and you’re right Tony could’ve made a non magnetic suit. Either he shouldn’t have gone into battle b/c of his suit or it shouldn’t have been magnetic. Poor form Loeb.

    And once again I agree, if this had come at the beginning it wouldn’t have been so bad, but as it is it goes against previously established character development and just spits in the face of the Ultimate U.

  13. webslinger says:

    There are indeed two sides to Jeph Loeb – a smart, clever, innovative comic lover – and the arrogant, ambitious, know-it-all, asshole who really only cares about himself. You can see this in his, work, career and personal life. Indeed from divorce, death and his TV career going up in flames he has lost his heart and the creative compass that made so much of his early work special. I know Jeph and it is sad to see such a bright star go so dim. It does seem like the same path other comic greats went down like Claremont and even Lee and Kirby. If you don’t have heart you are nothing. And it shows in the stories where people die to easily and events too simplistically. ’nuff said?

    • JasonKerouac says:

      Wow! And I thought I had venom for the man! I don’t think any of these comments are undeserved, however. It seems you have insights I don’t, and even without them, I can see the path his career has taken.

      Ultimately, this is a case where I blame editorial. If shit has happened in the man’s life that has changed him, he can’t really help that. I mean, sure, you can argue about the strength of a man to remain resolute in dark times, but… I’m just saying, I don’t really fault him for changing. My bigger problem, I suppose, is with the powers that be that look at this man and see only who and what he was, and give him carte blanche to poison their own creative waters instead of seeing the man he’s become and putting their collective foot down.

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