The Loeb universe

I’m a bit puzzled by the recent works on longtime writer Jeph Loeb. To me, Loeb’s name always gave me pleasant memories of his workings with Tim Sale and even his lesser-known, yet still enjoyable run on the post-Age of Apocalypse X-Force. Before his exclusive signing with Marvel, I was enjoying most of his run on Superman/Batman and his credited episodes of the series Heroes on NBC have been fantastic. Good stuff, I would think.

Since his Marvel return, he’s been hit-and-miss, with more of an emphasis on miss. I strayed away from Onslaught: Reborn not because of him, but because of Rob Liefeld’s art and because it was an anniversary story that should never have been made. I’m sure it was good for what it was…or something like that. My first exposure was his Wolverine storyline “Evolution” which was pretty much abysmal. If you didn’t catch it, check out the X-Axis’ review of it. While Wolverine isn’t one of my pulls, Casey faithfully reads it and shared with me the issues, and I had trouble getting through the whole thing. Blatant contradictions with numerous titles including X-Men and Cable & Deadpool made me shake my head. Never mind the ridiculousness of the whole thing – it was like the editors gave Loeb the go-ahead for anything, then had to go back and correct the details (like showing Feral and Thornn powered when they were victims of M-Day).

Somehow I missed issue #4 of Ultimates 3, but after reading Casey’s copy of the issue, I have decided not only to skip the issue, but to drop Ultimates altogether. I have been reading Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men almost since the beginning of their runs. I followed both chapters of Millar and Hitch’s Ultimates and am somewhat familiar with Ultimate Fantastic Four. The point here is that I’m quite familiar with the long-building continuity of the Ultimate universe. Loeb, however, has taken that and pretty much thrown it to the wind. It seems like he’s decided exactly what he wants to do with which characters and to hell with what’s happened before.

Examples of this in just four issues have been the fight with Venom (who has been missing since his debut in Ultimate Spider-Man and is just now returning to the picture), the unexplained arrivals of Black Panther and Valkyrie (who was a non-powered wannabe in Ultimates 2), the blatant romance between Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, the changing of Captain America to depressive, and the odd characterization of Hawkeye.

To me, the final clincher was the appearance of Pyro in issue #4 as a homicidal member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. That characterization showed me that Loeb did not bother to see what Pyro had done in the title before. He just new that he had appeared, so he got his design and put him in the role he wanted. In actuality, when last we saw Pyro, he was a member of the X-Men and quite amazed to be on the team he was! He had secretly infiltrated the Mutant Liberation Front, but was quite on board with the X-Men. How he went from that to murderous psychopath member of the Brotherhood wasn’t – and likely won’t be – explained. It’s Pyro, and Pyro is a villain. So there you go.

The writing in Ultimates 3 seems to be blatantly egotistical, and what kills me is that the editors seem to be turning a complete blind eye to it! As for me, though, I’m tired of questioning why I’m shilling three bucks a month whenever the book comes out for something I’m not enjoying. For the bigger picture, perhaps? Well, that obviously doesn’t fit here. Loeb’s got his own picture and that’s that.

I say enough.


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