Comics : Survive #1

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This review was first published on: Apr 2014.

Background...

Galactus went to the Ultimate universe and really screwed up New Jersey. Kitty Pryde and Reed Richards eventually stopped him, but Captain America and Thor were lost in the process. Now, Marvel needs an issue to promote the new Ultimate Universe relaunch!

In Detail...

"Survive"
Survive #1
May 2014 : SM Guest
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man Appears
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Joe Quinones
Cover Art:  Marte Gracia, Oliver Coipel
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Joe Quinones, Rainier Beredo
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Review

At Washington D.C., a bunch of Americans gather in memory of Captain America. At Cap’s funeral outside Stark Tower, Tony is giving a speech. He explains how Rogers inspired people just by standing in the same room as them. The memorial for Cap is his shield, which is oddly placed on a Terrance of the tower.

Reflecting on four days ago, S.HI.E.L.D. Director Monica Chang remembers when Franklin Nelson approached her amid the chaos of New Jersey. Nelson apologized that his partner couldn’t show and explained that Chang is being sued for the people’s deaths from Galactus’ attack. Chang is angered and explained that they “had no way of being warned that something we didn’t know even exists would come here and start doing something we didn’t even know could be done!” She asked if she’s fired and Nelson whispered that S.H.I.E.L.D. is being dismantled entirely because of “complete failure to fulfill its objective and goal of keeping the world safe.”

After hearing this, Monica stepped away and asked if she’ll have a day in court so people can defend that she did everything she could to stop Galactus. Nelson explained that she allowed a terrorist access to the Tricarrier and she defended her decision. The lawyer gave Chang his card and, while crying, Monica asked, “What are they going to put in [S.H.I.E.L.D.’s] place?”

Continuing in his speech in current time, Stark explains how he wishes Cap will “come back when we need him the most.” This leads Susan Storm to remember an event three days ago at the destroyed Baxter Building. As Reed Richards was exploring the ruins, he remembered the day he was introduced to Susan and Johnny. When he was about to cry, Susan revealed herself and asked what he was doing. Susan didn’t trust her ex and formed a force field as he neared her.

Reed explained to Susan that, when Spider-Man and he journeyed to the 616 Universe, he saw their daughter from the alternate universe. Clarifying that he hacked their files and saw their many adventures, Richards described to Susan that they have potential and it haunts him. She, though, refused to reconcile. Our crazy, stretchy hero explained that had they continued their research, they could have prevented Galactus’ destruction. Plus, he figured that they’ll need something with S.H.I.E.L.D. gone.

Back at the funeral, Stark explains that he refuses to restart the Ultimates without Cap and Thor. He suggests that some younger heroes should rise to the occasion, though. Kitty Pryde remembers a few days ago when an entourage of White House agents appeared at her door. Her mother tried to halt them but the agents proceeded into Kitty’s room.

When the government men entered, Kitty obviously had a bed head. They handed her a phone with the President of the United States on the other line. The President explained that he wants to use her to “put the fear and discrimination of mutants behind us once and for all.”

In present time, Stark explains that he wants the legend of Captain America to live on through the young heroes. He adds that, after every disaster, crime rises and they need somebody to help out. Spider-Man remembers, during the cleanup of Galactus’ machine in New Jersey, how he saved some construction workers from a falling piece of debris. Afterwards, Spider-Woman approached him about an idea.

Currently, as Tony is continuing his eulogy, Spider-Woman interrupts. She ushers Spidey, Bombshell, Cloak, Dagger, and Kitty onto the stage and reveals that they will be the new Ultimates! Stark raises his glass and says, “Well, ain’t that exactly what he would have wanted. Well, then… To the new day.”

In General...

You know, one of the many qualities I enjoyed about Bendis’ Avengers run is the cause-and-effect factor of it. Everything seemed to lead into something else and it was unique in its time. Sadly, now that the cause-and-effect thing is out, every writer seems to use it and I’ve become tired of it. Bendis is using his old trick again in the Ultimate Universe and, therefore, we get issues like this.

This issue is one of the most absolutely useless stories I’ve ever read. The glue of all the flashbacks is Ultimate Captain America’s funeral. Bendis is obviously trying to recreate Ultimate Peter Parker’s death with Cap’s, but the problem is that nobody really blinked when Rogers died. Heck, after reading Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #4, I didn’t even know he had died. With this in mind, it’s obvious that this funeral is just Bendis’ way to make more money. May I also add that Tony Stark’s speech at the funeral is very poor; it’s pretty much the most typical eulogy Bendis could write.

Beyond that, the flashbacks are obviously a gimmick to get us to read the Ultimate relaunch line. I really don’t care at all about Reed Richards, Monica Chang, or Kitty Pryde in the 616 Universe, so what makes Bendis think he can change my opinion of an alternate version of them? Not even the Ultimate Spider-Man sequence interested me and that’s one of the two Ultimate books I’ll be buying. This issue practically spells gimmick to us on each page.

The only good thing about this issue was Joe Quinones’ expressive artwork. Quinones is one of those artists who can draw a single picture of a person and you can tell exactly what type of character they are and what they’re thinking. The art really works well with a writer like Bendis whose work thrives off of an artist who can draw emotion. The detail is also very well-placed, making people look three-dimensional without excessive lines.

Overall Rating...

This issue is a poorly conceived gimmick to make you read the new Ultimate relaunch. One web for the expressive art.

Footnote...

What does the cover of this issue have to do with the story inside? Storm and Falcon don't even have roles in the comic!