Ultimates #20, from Sam Humphries and Scot Eaton, is out now. What's going on with Nick Fury? And what about the Infinity Gems? And can Humpries turn his reputation around? Find out after these spoilers...
end of spoilers
-Two Hydra soldiers, Skull and Nails, find a dead SHIELD agent in the river.
-Scorpio stops them from shooting any more and brings them back to base camp.
-He meets with Commander Crimson, who has a new secret item labeled "The Torch."
-Carol, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Cap meet on a helicarrier to strategize.
-Meanwhile, Thor and Sue continue looking for the fourth Gem.
-Thor inadvertently uses the Gems to teleport the pair to an undisclosed HYDRA location.
-Ford (the California Governer's advisor) forces Hugo Lopez to let him into the lab where he keeps the Wackos.
-While Scorpio and Nails are keeping watch, an explosion hits the HYDRA base.
-Scorpio rushes to Crimson's tent and grabs the Torch.
-Nails tries to stop Scorpio, but he claims he's protecting it.
-Suddenly, Hawkeye pops in and tries to talk to Scorpio as Nick Fury.
-Scorpio denies being Fury, and he and Nails subdue Hawkeye.
-Crimson orders Scorpio to kill Clint.
To be continued...
I'll say this much - this is a big improvement in a lot of ways. I'm actually really digging this story. Most of the cheesiness from DWF/UWS is gone, and we're actually seeing some pretty exciting stuff.
Humphries' biggest problem, though, is still the characters. He clearly gets the characters, because their actions and motivations are pretty solid, but the dialogue all lands so flat. Everyone sounds like a weak version of themselves. Although I really liked the conversation between Scorpio and Nails. I feel like that relationship is the saving grace of this issue, and it looks like it's going to keep developing.
The story, on the other hand, is actually pretty cool. I like what's going on with SHIELD vs HYDRA, and the Infinity Gems are looking to be a cool story as well. Plus, we're quickly approaching the appearance of the West Coast Ultimates, which I'm quite excited about. From a plot standpoint, Humphries is doing a MUCH better job than during the crossover. If his dialogue can catch up, this could quickly become a great book again.
Scot Eaton's art is somewhere in the middle. It's good art, it really is, but I'm having a hard time with it on this book. Some of the stuff was fantastic - namely the explosion and Death's Head scene. But others were less exciting, like the helicarrier scene. I think part of the issue might be the colors, because the bright colors on Cap and Iron Patriot really bug me. That said, Eaton is not a bad fit for the Ultimates, but he's not what I would prefer.
As I've said for the past few issues now, this book's really starting to get better. It's still nowhere near the level of Hickman's run, but it's improving. If we're lucky, the trend will continue.