With the 616 Universe version of Galactus controlling the Ultimate Universe's Gah Lak Tus, things look pretty bleak for the residents of the Ultimate Universe in "Hunger" #3 from Joshua Hale Fialkov and Leonard Kirk. An "Age of Ultron" aftermath tale, this comic book presents the Ultimate versions of Rick Jones, Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel (Mahr-Vehl in his native Kree). As is wont to happen in adventures of this magnitude, one of that trio does not make it to the final page of this issue, leaving his peers dumbfounded and the future of the universe in peril.
The severity of the threat does not keep Fialkov from allowing Rick Jones' humanity to shine through. When Jones is upstaged by Mahr-Vehl, he stomps off in a huff and tries to find a way to reclaim his humanity only to find himself in his old neighborhood. Fialkov even sprinkles in some humor, most notably in a conversation between Mahr-Vehl and Surfer about the whininess of the human race. Through it all, however, Fialkov never loses the focus of the series, which is the hunger of Galactus, unhampered by the brilliance of Reed Richards or the persuasiveness of Silver Surfer. This is Galactus unleashed and the Ultimate Universe might not survive it.
Leonard Kirk draws the heck out of it all. Kirk has always been very good at storytelling, superb at layout and strong with details, all of which factor into the look of "Hunger" #3 very prominently. Kirk's artwork absorbs the colors from Jesus Aburtov, frequently blending to become "art" as opposed to "drawings" and "colors." The story bounces across the cosmos, giving Kirk a range of setting and character to draw, from the denizens of Hala fleeing the Kree homeworld to Rick Jones carrying on a very awkward conversation with Mary Jane Watson. The sumptuous work from Kirk is flexible and varied, energetic and reverent, with heartfelt homages to Jack Kirby and heartwarming panel layouts to amplify emotions in every scene. Cory Petit's lettering keeps the worlds distinct and character voices identifiable, helping Fialkov and Kirk to set the tenor of this penultimate issue.
As the awesome pairing of Galactus and Gah Lak Tus claims Hala, the parallel to the events in "Infinity" are interesting at the least. Surely between the two universes it can't simply be a coincidence that Hala stands on the brink of destruction, can it? Whatever may be the case, coincidence or grander plan, there is no denying the fact that on the final page of "Hunger" #3, readers are left on the edge of their seats, counting down the days to the conclusion of an epic. Kudos to Fialkov, Kirk and crew for making an epic tale with minimal crossover or extraneous tie-in shrapnel. This is, quite simply, a straightforward high-octane adventure with a universe at stake.