I took a random grab into the back issues and came out with Ultimate Nightmare number 3. This series was the first part of Warren Ellis’s big Ultimate Universe event. It was followed by Ultimate Secret and Ultimate Extinction, which became known as The Ultimate Galactus Trilogy.
This book clearly in the meaty second ac of a story. A story about nightmares. Two sets of characters, a group of X-Men and a group of Ultimates, Plunge deeper and deeper in to a dark subterranean maze. And, as appropriate for the second act of a story about nightmares, it gets darker, stranger, and more horrible at each turn. Some pretty simple details really have some pretty powerful effects. In one scene, Cap and Nick Fury smell something which turns out to be, in Cap’s words, “droppings”. The cumulative result is not a gross-out, but more like a building sense of dread of “what on earth happened here?”.
The art is dark and largely monochromatic, but still clear. It suits the mood very well.
What did not work:
Some of the action seems a bit off. There is a moments where Sam Wilson takes some decisive action against a levitating freak and I am still not 100% sure what it is that he did. Some of the dialogue doesn’t quite ring true either. Most notably the big closing line where Colossus is fighting some mostrous brute and tells him, mid brawl, “….YOU WON’T SURVIVE THE FALL!” They fall, through a few panels of wreckage and we turn the page to see the issue ending splash where Colossus again faces his opponent and says….remember this is to close the issue and bring you running back to the next issue….”and neither might we.” It is in a slightly different font which implies that it might be in Russian, or at least spoken with an accent. So, maybe it is daringly clever to have foreign language dialogue seem to be clumsily translated. That could be a cool device, but it is pretty clumsy way to end a chapter.275