Monday, May 30, 2005
In Praise of Ultra!
As Don Markstein's Toonpedia recounts, I have a stupid origin, look hideous, and have an unimaginative quartet of powers (a strong arm, a magnetic arm, a lightning leg, and a flying leg...*sigh*). Have you ever thought about what it's like for me when I do anything OTHER than fight? Like, say, take a friggin' shower? Let's just say I'm not planning on getting my security deposit back.
Even worse! I'm stuck in that vague era some time between the present and the Legion's era. That's right, my bowling league consists of me, Tommy Tomorrow, Space Ranger, and Space Cabby, (scintillating conversationalists all) and we only fight alien races that are NOT known to exist in either your century or the Legion's; go figure.
STILL, I've got a couple of reasons to vote for me! First, I'm the guy who redeems any other shabby character you like. You're there at the geekstore counting out pennies to buy the Madame Fatal Archive Volume 2, when the local comic book toughs, wearing their Starman leather jackets and Rough Trade Superboy tees, slouch out from behind the Image Comics back issues and start to deride you between threatening snurfs on their DC Direct Sandman Mystery Theater asthma inhalers. What do you say? "Hey, he's better than Ultra!" Stymied by the inarguability of your retort, they back off, impressed. THANKS TO ME.
Next, in the current issue of Legion (#6), it's shown that a comic book with me in it is so valuable in the 31st Century it's used as an irresistible bribe. That's right, bub; I'M AN INVESTMENT COMIC BOOK. Stare at those longboxes cluttering your hallway and think HARD before you vote!
Finally (and this is the biggie),I'm the guy who got rid of Adam Strange. Yes, ME, Ultra the Multi-Alien! I displaced Strange from Mystery in Space, and then was awful enough to get the whole thing cancelled 8 issues later. If it weren't for ME, you'd still be reading monthly stories where Corporal Finhead saves the sobsisters of Rann from Killer Crabgrass, Cybercicadas, or the Dew of Death. If Thanagar needs a merc to take care of their little Rannian problem, I'm their guy!
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Don't think Ultra got rid of Adam Strange ... he just moved over to Strange Adventures, where they barely had to alter the title to make it ADAM Strange Adventures! And he did have new adventures in that book. So there! VICTORY TO RANN!
Oddly enough, the alien races whose aspects made up each of Ultra's limbs had a cameo in "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E". The blue, bald ones (Ultra's upper-left quadrant) actually had two full issues devoted to their invasion, in a crossover with Young Justice. Representatives of the other three showed up in a viewscreen communicating with a blue dude.
Wow! Score one for continuity!
I love when DC does that sort of thing...
Take care of their Rannian problem? Hah! According to this wonderful site, Rann will be still alive and well by Space Ranger's time, and one of Adam Strange's descendants will take up the mantle of protector of Rann and ally with Space Ranger! Not only that, but Adam Strange's legacy continues well into the 853rd Century. I certainly can't think of any future Hawkmen. Probably people will have completely forgotten about him after a few centuries because his history is too ridiculously convoluted for anyone to understand anymore.
Oh, such Continuity! You don't know the half of it The blue aliens' evil plan involved zapping everyone with a ray gun that would turn the humans into their species. The phone call they were making to the other three races was to report on how awesome the ray was. It was a fun story, especially when all the heroes started getting zapped.
Given your perspective on whiney superheroes being Marvelesque, isn't odd how much Ultra looks like Super-Skrull? Sadly Ultra lacks a cool theme song, though.
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