Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ultra: Seven Days Deluxe Hardcover Review

Ultra: Seven Days
Image Comics
Oversized Hardcover
248 pages
$74.99 (2011)
$17.99 (2005) TPB
$39.95 (2005) Hardcover
ISBN 9781607064527

Contributors: Jonathan Luna and Joshua Luna

Reprints: Ultra #1-8 (of 8)

Synopsis: In Spring City superheroes exist and perform miracles everyday.  They help the authorities in an official capacity and work for commercial agencies.  Popular heroes are superstars and the target of lucrative promotional contracts (similar to pro athletes). It's not an easy job being a hero and famous icon under the constant, microscopic scrutiny of the public.

Aphrodite and Cowgirl
Pearl Penalosa is a superstar as the incredible Ultra and adored by millions of fans. She works for Heroine Inc., one of the premiere agencies in the city and has been nominated for a superhero award. Her life isn't all glitz and glam however as she prefers kicking back in a pair of sweatpants with a t-shirt rather than getting dressed up.  She hasn't been in a relationship for five years (now those are some cobwebs) since her highly public breakup with Captain Steel.

She's a workaholic with little time to repair her broken love life.  Fortunately she has some great supergal pals keeping her sane.  On the way home from a night on the town Pearl, Olivia (aka Aphrodite), and Jen (aka Cowgirl) make a chance stop at a psychic's apartment to have their fortunes read.

The fortune teller's reading is foreboding as something will happen to each woman within seven days - Olivia will suffer a loss, Jen will receive what she has given, and Pearl will find true love.  The three are somewhat incredulous until Olivia's car is totaled by a truck as they leave the fortune teller's place. The first of the fortunes has come true!

Now Pearl agonizes with self-doubt over the possibility of finding true love.  She has a chance meeting with a  nice, regular guy - could he be the one?  Meanwhile a devastating killer is on the loose killing people and superheroes alike.
Pros: Excellent dialogue, great premise of superheroes working for commercial agencies with product endorsements, subtle yet expressive art, good colors, nice characterization (i.e. human), lots of extras in the oversized hardcover edition, loved that each cover looked like a different tabloid magazine

Cons: Simple art (not flashy, but minimalist), relatively straightforward story, some panel repeating (i.e. repeating the same panel with some minor difference, I always complain about Bendis' work using this)

Mike Tells It Straight: This was an interesting read - simple, clean art with lively dialogue and a few plot twists.  I would literally call this a superhero Sex and the City.  It was utterly charming and very enjoyable as a change of pace from typical superhero stories filled with senseless brawls. No convoluted history to bog down the story and just simple storytelling.

This book is my second exposure to the Luna Brothers after reading Girls, and I'm officially a fan.  The brothers make a great team with highly competent art (almost subdued) and awesome dialogue.  I thought Ultra was refreshing and would easily recommend it to friends (both comic fans and non-comic fans alike).  My only gripe is it ended after eight issues and there doesn't appear to be a follow up planned.

The deluxe, oversized hardcover edition is absolutely beautiful with some nice extras.  You don't absolutely need to own it unless you love the story or large format a great deal (it looks great next to the other deluxe Luna books like Girls and The Sword).  The regular softcover trade paperback collection is perfectly fine to enjoy the story and a lot less expensive.  Check this one out.

TO BUY and Recommendations: