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Ultimate FF #5 Review: Animal Farm

Ultimate FF has just completed its penultimate issue, which also happened to be the final issue from the series’ runner Joshua Hale Fialkov. It’s actually a very melancholic issue in that respect as Ultimate FF #5 just so happens to be the best issue of the series so far. The amount of potential that this had down is certainly one of the biggest reasons that I will miss this series when it concludes next month.

 

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To just get this out of the way from the start – the artwork by Andre Araujo skyrockets in quality from the very first page. The coloring, the line work, it fires on all cylinders for what this artist can do. The figures are still lumpy and chubby, but it all coheres to a common art aesthetic. This being a stark contrast to the earlier mess of artwork that was really nothing more than a collection of doodles. Here the colors are softer, more in sync with each other, and a reader can actually take the visual aspect of the series in without wanting to blink from the strain. The art probably being a major factor in this series’ demise, work like this would have been appreciated from the get-go.

 

The art not only looks better overall for the main cast but there is one pace where it cannot be denied that it shines through. The looks into the Marvel Animal-verse (made famous by Spider-Ham) are, quite simply, amazing. If nothing else Araujo was made to draw Marvel Animals. There are moments where the renditions of such characters as “Captain Americat” stride the line of looking too realistic, and therefore really creepy, but on the whole it’s an admirable version of these playful characters. Fialkov picks up his fair share of the slack as well, bringing in references and giving them an amusing twist.

 

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That’s probably how I would describe the majority of this issue: amusing. It’s light, it’s fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Fialkov just plays around with Marvel Animals so well and so funnily it makes the entire issue a hoot. The character’s reactions are also priceless and Rick Jones once again steals the show with how dumbfounded he is. The highlight of the issue being his disbelief that a universe with animal versions of themselves even exists. FIalkov writes a good fish out of water type in Rick and that’s just one thing that I cannot fault him with.

 

This is not to say that the issue was devoid of any edge, quite the opposite. While the set-up and majority of the installment was cartoonish fun, the moments of tension and suspense are palpable to the most extreme. On one hand we have the actual confirmation on who exactly was the false “Impostor Doom” who was killed during Ultimatum – it was a character who not only fits in such a precise and clear manner, but it one that creates a large amount of tension between the characters. Then fit that with the already growing controversy surrounding the closing pages of this issue.

 

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Before we dig into that I have to say that Fialkov has actually been building up to the final pages in his Ultimate Universe work. From the start of his Ultimates run with the introduction of Future Evil Sue Storm he has seeded the idea that Sue can be just as callous as any villain. This is the issue were we see that come to horrifying fruition as she prepares to “operate” on Reed Richards. It’s not a comfortable scene, it’s unnerving and all together nauseating. Yet it makes sense and Sue even quotes her evil future self before acting. I blame the sudden cancellation for the rushed occurrence, but who can say? It was an exhilarating issue and one that touched upon a nice variety of emotions and I hope whoever the writer of the last issue is, they don’t drop the ball.

 

Rating
8.9
Pros
  • Great bouts of Humor
  • Impressive suspense and tension
  • Chihuahua-Tari - that is all
Cons
  • The art is still clunky
  • The animals can still look pretty freaky
  • May turn off newer readers

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