Ultimates #6

(Warning: SPOILERS for Al Ewing’s Ultimates, and minor spoilers for the endings of Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars and Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery.)


The Ultimates team was formed to find solutions to ultimate problems of the cosmic variety. The current members are:

– Adam "Blue Marvel" Brashear – genius, anti-matter generator and Marvel’s Superman counterpart;

– Monica "Spectrum" Rambeau – living energy, former leader of the Avengers;

– Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers – ex-Air Force Colonel, energy absorber/projector, current Commander of the Alpha Flight Space Station (Earth’s first line of defense against alien threats) and ambassador for planet Earth;

– King T’Challa of Wakanda – the Black Panther and the team’s financier;

– America Chavez – an inter-dimensional traveler from a utopian universe, a Young Avenger and an all-around badass.

The comic’s first arc dealt with the problem of Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds. Despite what you might expect from a superhero team book, their solution did not involve fighting him. Instead, they researched his background, how he came to be, and used that research to cure him of his hunger. Thus, Galactus became Lifebringer and begun to rebuild worlds he previously devoured.

Following that, the team decided to solve the mess that is the Marvel timeline, with its multitude of time-travelers and alternate futures. With the help of the current Giant-Man, Raz Malhotra, they modified a Quinjet and passed through the Negative Zone to get outside of the known universe and survey the damage done to the timestream. Along the way they encountered Blue Marvel’s nemesis, Conner "Anti-Man" Sims, his former friend turned insane superpowered murderer whom Brashear never managed to cure. Persuaded by his teammates, Blue Marvel agreed to let him take a spot on the Quinjet and made an attempt at helping him.

The team attempted and failed to get to their destination, saved only by the timely arrival of Lifebringer. He managed to dissuade them from doing anything to the timestream, showing them how it works. After sending them back home, Lifebringer came face to face with Eternity, the personification of the universe – all universes – bound by unknown forces. The former Devourer took it upon himself to discover who dared, and was capable, to do such a thing. Meanwhile, through the doorway left open by Lifebringer came the one remaining inhabitant of the Marvel universe, who didn’t return following Secret Wars. Thanos the Mad Titan is back with a new obsession – nothingness.


This issue is a slight change of pace (along with a change in the art style, courtesy of the guest artist, ODY-C’s Christian Ward). Instead of the team – unceremoniously dropped by Galactus at Alpha Flight Space Station – it focuses on Lifebringer himself. Last issue he took on the quest to find out who managed to shackle Eternity. But for now that mission has to wait, as Galactus is confronted by two of Marvel’s major cosmic entities, Master Order and Lord Chaos.

As we learn from them, the transformation from Devourer to Lifebringer has left everyone in the cosmic hierarchy uneasy and angry. Galactus was supposed to undergo this change – just not now. And those beings would like a return to the previous status quo, though for different reasons. Master Order believes everything has its place and should remain in it (he’s basically an angry comic book fan unable to accept any change to the status quo). Lord Chaos has simpler reasons – he just likes to watch Galactus devour planets, and he is furious that is no longer the case. Thus, they came to demand he return to his former role as the Devourer – by force, if need be. After all, they always were his betters in the hierarchy of cosmic entities.

So Galactus punches Master Order in the face.

Well, metaphorically, as their confrontation is basically a clash of ideas, and that punch is mostly a representation of Galactus’ new strength. Lord Chaos goes down even faster. While he is a being of disorder, he is also a part of a balanced system, and thus unable to ever truly be himself. Therefore, he is weak, compared to Master Order, who is always true to himself.

Having taken care of both beings, Lifebringer sends them with a message to others: Galactus will not regress. Not without a fight.

And that’s when he is contacted by Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, taking a break from rebuilding the multiverse with Reed Richards and family, and chilling in his own quasi-reality. Galactus is noticeably more cautious when dealing with him, constantly reminding himself that Reece, thanks to his power of controlling the building blocks of reality itself, could end him with a thought.

Reece sheds some light on a problem that might be connected to Eternity being chained up. If you’ve been following Jonathan Hickman’s runs on Avengers and New Avengers, you know that despite everyone’s attempts at stopping it, every universe ended. Then Secret Wars happened and everything was rebuilt. So did the omniverse die? Is this still the seventh cosmos, or already the eighth? The cosmic aspects are in discord over it. Some – Eternity’s children among them – believe the omniverse didn’t die. Others believe everything did die – but it shouldn’t have and everything should be back to the way it was, including Galactus himself.

Lastly, Molecule Man reminds Galactus of the myth of Sisyphus, condemned to push a boulder upon a mountainside, only for it to roll back down. Reece wonders if the bottom of the mountain is where the rock is supposed to be. Gravity, will of the gods, and tradition say that this is its place. This particular question is related to Galactus himself, as he fights against reverting to his former role. It is a fight both in-story, but also on a metatextual level. The Big Two love their status quo, and while something might change for a while, there’s always a risk that everything will be back to the way it was.

A few years back Kieron Gillen ended his Journey Into Mystery run by having Kid Loki be taken over by the older version of himself, as the endgame of the former’s plan to change. Gillen explained this decision on his blog, as influenced by this particular problem. No matter how long Kid Loki was allowed to be his joyful, roguish self, in the end he would be forced back into the role of the villain, unable to prove he can be anything else. Gillen was criticized for it, but he is right. Already we have Steve Rogers return to the role of Captain America, and while Sam Wilson still gets to use his shield, as soon as someone decides we only need one Cap, they’ll find a way to take it from him. Loki himself, if the recent The Mighty Thor issues are to be believed, has become a much less morally clear character, and there are fears this is the beginning of him going back to villainous ways.

Changing the status quo isn’t hard in comics. Keeping that change for a longer period of time – that’s the Sisyphean task for Galactus and Al Ewing. And if past attempts are anything to judge by – they are incredibly likely to fail.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.