Comic Book Confidential: An old favourite is unearthed

This week, I review an old favourite from the Marvel library.

The Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch has consistently been a top seller over the last 10 years.

Fans of the recent movies The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America will find The Ultimates useful for many references, which the Marvel films have borrowed heavily from.

The Ultimates establishes a more modern look at the creation of The Avengers. It's aimed at a mature audience and delivers the story in a more believable and practical way as opposed to the campy origin-stories of the '60s.

In the book, General Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D., establishes a strike force composed of government-funded super humans.

Ever since the success and apparent loss of the first meta-human, Captain America in the 1940s, Fury has had a team of scientists, such as Bruce Banner (the Hulk) and Tony Stark (Iron Man), working to duplicate that super-soldier serum with varying results. Banner injects himself with a newer version of the serum and goes on a testosterone/gamma-fueled rampage as the Hulk.

It will take the combined efforts of The Ultimates, as well as a newly found and revived "man out of time" Captain America and the God of Thunder Thor, who may or may not be a delusional beer-drinking hippie, to put an end to the destruction.

Part two of the story introduces more familiar faces - special agents Hawkeye and the Black Widow.

Combined with the rest of the team, they battle a full-scale Earth invasion against alien shape-shifters known as the Chitauri, who have been lying in wait since the Second World War and have been disguised as Nazis.

It will take the whole team to defeat the aliens and they will need the Hulk. But, will they be able to get the Hulk to fight for them?

Millar crafts a high-octane, entertaining read with perhaps the best line spoken by a character in comics this decade. You will know it when you read it.

Character development is solid and defined, differing heavily from their counterparts in the regular Marvel universe, and has you laughing and cheering more than once.

Hitch creates probably the best work of his career, introducing readers to the big-screen format of comics with photorealistic styles and wide spanning panels loaded with detail.

It is no wonder this volume took more than two years to create when you look at the effort put into it.

See the birth and inspiration for the whole Marvel Studios universe with this book. Give it a try; you won't be disappointed.

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Comic Book Confidential is written by staff at High Octane Comics & Collectibles at 250 Third Ave. Contact the store at 250-377 or online at www.highoctanecomics.com.

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