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by Alex Irvine
performed by a Full Cast
2014 Graphic Audio
6 hours unabridged
Genres: science fiction, comic heroes
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
3 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The Ultimates are a cadre of Super Heroes employed by the U.S. government to face threats to humanity too powerful for conventional operatives to handle. Led by General Nick Fury, the roster includes billionaire playboy Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man; Captain America, a World War II super-soldier whom fate has thrust into the twenty-first century; an environmental activist who claims to be the Norse god Thor; and Janet Pym, a scientist whose mutant powers allow her to shrink to the size of a wasp. The alien shapeshifters called the Chitauri were defeated by the Ultimates in a decisive battle, but suspicious activity leads the Ultimates to believe that not all of the aliens were destroyed in that cataclysmic attack. Stark Industries has developed a means of quickly and easily detecting Chitauri DNA, but the federal government refuses to adopt the technology, claiming that if the tech is widely available, the Chitauri will find a way to fool it.
Frustrated by the government's seeming unwillingness to protect its own people, Captain America takes matters into his own hands, leaking the technology so that it can be manufactured and distributed throughout the country. His radical actions sow discord among the Ultimates and within the highest levels of government, raising a troubling question: Could this disunity and chaos be playing right into the Chitauri's hands?
Meanwhile, Hank Pym, who desperately wants back on the Ultimates team, has been feverishly experimenting with his ants in the hopes of finding his own alternate method of detecting the Chitauri. When he appears to be successful, it could spell doom for the alien menace — but only if the Ultimates can finally set aside their differences long enough to recognize their true enemy....
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Okay in case, like me, you didn’t already know this The Ultimates is a superhero team created for Marvel Comics by Mark Millar. They first appeared in The Ultimates #1 in March 2002 and have been a going concern for Marvel ever since. If you read comic books or watch movies then you probably already figured out that The Ultimates are just The Avengers. Marvel Comics decided to give the team a new name so they could sell more comic books. Against All Enemies was an Ultimates story written in novel form by Alex Irvine and this Graphic Audio production is based on Irvine’s story.
So in this reality the Chitauri attacked and were defeated by the Avengers, I mean the Ultimates, just like in the Avengers movie, only instead of happening in New York it happened in Arizona. In this reality, not every Chitauri was killed or deactivated or whatever, some of them survived and laid low for a while. You see, they have this ability to mimic other life forms. All they have to do is eat a human or a dog or something and they can actually become that human or dog or something. As you can imagine that presents a distinct problem for the Avengers, I mean the Ultimates. Oh, did I mention that in this reality, the members of the team work for SHIELD and they take orders from Nick Fury?
So basically The Ultimates: Against All Enemies is about the struggle to try to locate and defeat the Chitauri who are still on Earth. Naturally Tony Stark invents a device that can key in on Chitauri DNA. It comes in the form of a metal-detector-like security device that can be installed at the entrances to airports and buildings and such. There is some dispute, however, as to whether the technology should be made widely available. Some feel that if it goes viral the Chitauri will catch wind of it and find a way around it. And in fact that’s pretty much what happens.
Another solution comes from former Ultimates member Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man. Pym develops an ingenious method of getting ants to key in on a Chitauri and attack. It works by sending out something like a radio signal. Any ant in the area receives the signal and goes on the hunt for Chitauri. And not just any ants but dreaded bullet ants, the largest ants with the most potent sting. After a couple of test runs it is determined that Pym’s method works. Tony Stark then develops a method of sending out the signal worldwide using satellite and cellular signals and the Ultimates are ready to go Chitauri hunting. Unfortunately, the Chitauri already know about the device and they are more organized than anyone thought. They attack Stark Industries, in an attempt to destroy the technology before it goes online.
I gotta tell you, as much as I love comic book heroes (Captain America and Iron Man have always been a couple of my favorites) this story really didn’t do much for me. For one thing there was not enough action. No action at all in fact until more than 3 hours into this five-hour story. Up until that time it’s all back-story, much of which left me scratching my head because it kept referring to prior events that I was not privy to. Maybe I’m just old fashioned; I like my superheroes just the way they are and this whole Ultimates thing is sort of a skewed reality where things are a little bit different. I will say that once the action began things felt much better to me and it continued most of the way through the remainder of the book. I was especially impressed with Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. I had never paid much attention to him in the comics but his role was played up a bit here and I liked him.
The production quality of this book is up to Graphic Audio’s usual high standards; the music and sound effects always sound great. The Ultimates: Against All Enemies was adapted for Graphic Audio by Richard Rohan and features the voice talents of Richard Rohan, James Keegan, Richard Cutting, Jefferson Russell, Eric Messner, Laura C. Harris, Danny Gavigan, Christopher Scheeren, Andy Brownstein, Bradley Smith, Steve Wannall, Nanette Savard, Diedra Starnes, Rex Anderson, Andy Clemence, Joe Brack, Jonathon Church, Rebecca Sheir, Daniel Sonntag, Joel David Santner, Eric Singdahlsen, Jonathan Watkins, Matthew Keenan, David Harris and Thomas Keegan.
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Special thanks to Graphic Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.