Sunday, August 22, 2004

Ultra #1

Ultra #1
Image Comics
Created by the Luna Brothers

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Ultra #1 is one of those comics you pick up because there is a sense of familiarity about the cover. The torso shot of an ample female heroine, not too unlike the cover to Supergirl #1 gives the indication that there must be a chick about to kick your ass on the inside. Either that or the chick is wearing lingerie and wants to spank you, but that is another story.

Ultra opens with three attractive women driving home from a night on the town. Dressed in what I would call business casual, most of the story is told from their point of view while riding in a car, with a brief stop on the way. The conversation really reminds me of what my girlfriends and I would talk about, dishing on men and the like, which builds an instant rapport with the characters. While most of the evening is pretty average, a chance stop at a fortune teller gives an ominous sense of what is to come in future issues.

The Luna Brothers have created a compelling look at a different kind of hero. The ladies pictured here are women of privilege, but with a life-saving career that gives them public adulation and star power. Pearl, Liv, and Jen are the kind of girls you would read about in Vogue, wearing the newest Dolce and Gabbana pantsuit. They have a sense of style and the credentials to go along with it. The fact that the entire first issue is told out of uniform but still attracts the readers' interest is a credit to the creative team.

Jonathan Luna is the artist, colorist and letterer along with co-writer with his brother Joshua. I had not previously heard of any work done in the comics industry so bear with me as I say that if this is a freshman effort, it is a brilliant one. I felt instant empathy with the characters and want to know more about them, especially how they interact in their work environment. Ultra is a book I showed to several women comic readers at the shop on Wednesday for this very reason.

Ultra #1 is one of the best comics to come out of Image for awhile that doesn't have Robert Kirkman's name on it. The art is unique and interesting, and the story is wonderful. I am interested to learn more about these characters and how the fortune teller's words will affect their lives. If you missed picking up Ultra, grab it and give it a shot, it's worth the read.

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