Careful beyond this point there be spoilers yo
When this book was announced I was pumped. Secret Wars already had my attention and knowing in advance that this would lead to the Ultimate U and the 616 combining, with Bendis writing, had the hopes high. While I didn’t hop into the Ultimate Universe until after the death of Peter Parker (and even then I just focused on Miles Morales) I grew quite fond of this pocket of the Marvel U. Miles Morales quickly became my favorite Spider-Man, in a time where I wasn’t super pleased with the direction of Dan Slott’s run, and his interaction with characters like Captain America or Cloak and Dagger felt fresh in a lot of ways. Plus I was reading at a time where things in life weren’t exactly perfect. My father was in the decline from brain cancer and I found a lot of solace in Miles’s world. With the knowledge that Miles is more or less the only bright spot in the Ultimate U (looking at you All New Ultimates) I figured he would have a central role in the Ultimate End. Wrong.
What followed was a mess of a book series that was full of delays, and if I’m being honest, I was kind of hoping it never got a publication date allowing it to slip into comic book lore. “Whatever happened to Ultimate End five?” Some how this seems like a more fitting ending for the series. There were very few points throughout the series where I could tell the difference between Ultimate U characters and characters from the 616. Not to mention I’m pretty sure half this cast were just doppelgangers any way and no on was actually their true form. Right? Did anyone else think that? See! This is what I mean.
With Miles showing up at the very end of book four, yes for the first time, I finally felt some promise for this conclusion. What proceed was a very confusing, talky book with no emotional pay off. Don’t get me wrong there were tons of character reaction shots but no resolution. It was like poof the Ultimate U is over. Can you try and figure out which character is an Ultimate U character by their facial expression? Oh you can’t? Either can we.
For a bunch of super heroes facing their conclusion this book had minimal action, oh hello Thors…goodbye Thors? It almost felt that Bendis had already said goodbye to the Ultimate Universe at the conclusion of Ultimate Spider-Man and was now just going through the motions so we could too. the universe deserved better, and that’s coming from someone who is very pro Bendis.
Oh, and that twist ending? Why!? What possible purpose does it serve? It came across as the book needing some sort of shocking moment to get people to talk about it. The problem is there’s no real explanation as to why so it falls flat. Especially when the talking point will be how disappointingly the end of the Ultimate Universe was; a branch of Marvel that helped rejuvenate the brand and laid the foundation to a large part of the MCU. At least Miles is carrying on, but seeing the way this book ended I’m not entirely sure if his book will have the same feel. Sigh
FINAL RATING: 2.0 out of 10