Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, and Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 26th, 2023
The Maker plans to make sure Earth’s Mightiest Heroes never become heroes at all as Ultimate Invasion #2 by Jonathan Hickman continues. And then he can reshape the universe into exactly what he wants it to be…
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read The Ultimate Invasion #2 Review.
Ultimates Invasion #2 takes an extremely heavy focus on Obadiah Stane and Howard Stark leading fans to believe that they’ll play an important cog in this story. Well by the end of this tale, it appears as though one of them certainly will. Moreover, in clever Hickman fashion, this story opens a bit flat but weaves in some minor plot threads right under your nose. So, pay close attention to what will be revealed. If not, I highly recommend taking a second (or third) quick read-through in order to discover some of those hidden nuggets right under the surface.
The action picks up within the last third of Ultimates Invasion #2 but comes to a quick stop as the fight gets to its pinnacle only for Hickman to pump the breaks and throw out some more jaw-dropping reveals. Again, this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed Hickman’s storytelling in the past decade. Oftentimes, it does come across a bit herky-jerky making each single issue harder to follow. However, reading a Hickman story in trade helps with the flow and pacing. Look no further than his recent HOXPOX trade that kicked off the Krakoan Era to see exactly what I mean.
Now, here in lies the problems with Ultimates Invasion #2. It’s extremely heavy, uses multiversal-time travel jargon, and only reveals bits and pieces after only two installments making the overall premise a bit shaky and less tangible than a normal Hickman adventure. Moreover, it’s only fortifying the Maker’s side of this story in which we all know is the villain. Therefore, how the “heroes” will navigate this threat and who they are seems underwhelming at best. Further, is Hickman setting up Howard Stark to be the hero? And if so, I’m ok with that BUT the Maker’s intellect is barely matched by Reed Richards (616) or even the Council of Reeds. How would even Howard Stark stop him? My point is that we are only getting one side of this story and I feel like I need the other if the Maker is going to be stopped.
Additionally, which is so weird to even say, this story feels like it’s been done before. Sure, maybe not by Hickman BUT in movies, books, and other types of entertainment in the past. Time-Travel, altered futures, and even cloning together just feel like it’s been done before. This step feels a bit too familiar which is sad in itself to be said. It’s the idea that there’s nothing new under the sun. Does this make it a bad story? No. However, the familiarity does add a sense of predictability to the story that I feel a normal Hickman comic doesn’t have.
The artistic focus I’d like to highlight in Ultimates Invasion #2 from Hitch, Currie, and Sinclair was actually through the Maker’s helmet. Take a closer look as you read through the story again and notice all the reflections that bounce off his helmet. The immense detail by this creative team made this week’s installment extremely revealing and added depth to the issue. Plus, Hitch and his crew received a wonderful opportunity to draw a plethora of characters as well as variations in which many artists would salivate for.
Ultimates Invasion #2 is good but just feels lacking in character motivation, action, and appeal. Couple that with the heavy sci-fi topic and a sense of predictability and Hickman’s story just seems to be lacking a bit more pomp and circumstance than it normally has attached to it. Now, I know this makes it sound like I hate the issue. However, that’s not the case. Why? Well, just like most Hickman stories, the pieces will be revealed given the proper time. As I stated earlier, his stories are oftentimes better in trade when you can digest it all at once without breaks. But in small snapshots, they can be difficult to navigate.
Moreover, as someone who loves time-traveling, multiversal romps, I’m still locked in on Ultimates Invasion. Nevertheless, I’m struggling to see how this all deeply connects to the Ultimates Universe, who the “heroes” will be, and how they could possibly stop the Maker, especially in a story that feels like it’s been done before. But, there is still a tone of story to go and Hickman hasn’t let me down yet. As for now, I’m still all in and would recommend this story and event over 90% of what DC or Marvel is pushing out right now. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!