Jeph Loeb is one of the highest profile comic writers out there. He has written for Marvel, DC, and a number of TV shows including Smallville, Lost, and Heroes, some of which are staples of the comic reader’s TV diet. Well, as you may have read recently, Marvel has made Loeb the head of its television department. Some of his best comic works include amazing reads like Spider-Man Blue, Batman The Long Halloween, Batman Hush, Daredevil Yellow, Catwoman When in Rome, Superman Man For all Seasons and a great run on Superman/Batman. While his best works deserve a place on every comic book reader’s self, there is a common problem. They all are…how do we say…from the somewhat distant past. Unfortunately, the Loeb diamond has lost much of its luster in recent years. After Marvel signed Jeph Loeb to an exclusive contract his quality of writing has started to swan-dive.
When Marc Millar’s Ultimate series finished, I was hungry for more. As soon as the first issue of Ultimates 3 came out I tore into it expecting some more of Millar’s excellent take on the Avengers. But after reading the first issue, my first thought was: “what the hell? Is this the same writer?” And well no, in my haste to snatch it up, I didn’t notice Loeb’s name on the cover, so I went in with high expectations and I got bent over and reamed instead. There was so much wrong with the series. What happened with Thor? The Millar Thor was sure of his destiny of Thor but his characterization was that of a savior who was a pretty down to Earth peace-activist guy, a hippie of sorts. In the transition we’ve seem to have received a grim dirty Thor who doesn’t really seem any different from the 616 universe Thor, which means why even bother having an Ultimate version of him? Related to the Thor thing is Valkyrie. Did they even really explain the transition from girl who seduces Hank Pym into wearing a Captain America outfit to true Valkyrie who starts telling off Captain America? And the whole Captain America dressing up as the Black Panther? What a waste of panels. It’s been years and I still can’t think of a good reason for them to have pulled that off.
Following the disaster that was Ultimates 3, we were subjected to Ultimatum which was Marvel’s way of trashing the Ultimate universe, which through the launch of Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men, helped launch the line back into popularity and just might have helped to save the company from staying a bankrupt joke. There was so much wrong with this that I could go on for ages about this one. Why exactly did the Blob decide to eat the Wasp? I can’t figure this one out, did he just happen to be in the area after doing some weed and had the munchies? It’s even hard to understand in the context of Magneto sending Madrox to blow up the Triskelion. Or even before that, the Wasp’s passionate defense of Hank Pym after Captain America is berating him. What the frig is wrong with you, lady? Not only did this guy used to beat you, once within the last 2 years, he also sided with the freaking enemy during Ultimates 2. Unless you’re crazy enough to believe that he was really working undercover.
And this leads us into Loeb’s New Ultimates which…I am reading purely for the Frank Cho art. I can’t even muster the mental strain to state the reasons for not getting this book. I’m not ranting to complain about Jeph Loeb’s entire body of work, I love his DC stuff and his Spider-Man Blue series and just want to see him do some quality work again…ok so maybe this is a rant but I bear no malice!
David Diep is a News Editor for ComicBookDaily and is known to weep among the smoldering ruins of his love for the Ultimate Universe and awaits each issue of Millar’s run to sweep him off his feet.