Current Reviews


Ultimate Six #2

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Trevor Hairsine (p), Danny Miki (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

As Norman Osborn reveals that the power dampening collar locked around his neck is there for a very good reason, we see Doctor Octopus steps forward to make an impassioned case that he is ready to use his scientific knowledge for good. However, while the promise of having his formidable intellect working for them proves to be an inciting lure for S.H.I.E.L.D. they soon discover this trust was a huge mistake.

I realize that it affords him more opportunity for character development, and one of his strengths as a writer is his ability to deliver dialogue exchanges that feel like real conversation. However, the entire plot advancement in this issue can be summed up by the single sentence, the Ultimate Six escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. I mean we get a scene with the Ultimates where Nick Fury lets the group know S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping these villains under lock and key, and has been using them to advance the very same research that lead to the creation of the Ultimates. We also get to see Doctor Octopus has a wonderfully duplicitous side, as there's a great little moment where we see him attempting to explain how his control of his metallic arms works before the book gives us a look at the state of his audience. However, in the end I'm a rather impatient reader when it comes to seeing this particular story move forward, and Brian Michael Bendis' regular pattern of slowly unwrapping the story to get at the prize inside is far more difficult to take. Now I imagine now that they are loose the action will pick up considerably, and the comments made by Norman on the final page make for a pretty solid entrance line for Spider-Man to finally make his arrival in this miniseries. Plus given the Ultimates have figured rather prominently in these early issues, I imagine the big finish will be the Ultimate Six versus the Ultimates, which sounds like one heck of a fight.

As for the art, there are moments when Trevor Hairsine is very impressive, as there's a great looking one page shot of Iron Man arriving at the Triskelion, and the scene where Electro blasts his way out of his restraining collar is a wonderful shot of the character using his power. However the real treat of this issue is the reveal shot in which we learn that Doctor Octopus was rather busy while he was attempting to explain how his mental control of the arms functioned. However there are also moments in this issue where the art comes across as a little rough around the edges, with its work on the facial expressions being particularly worrisome, as the characters seem to have a rather limited range of expressions to draw upon. I mean the expression on Doctor Octopus' face in that final panel when we see the results of his handiwork utterly fails to convey the pure evil of the character.

A somewhat slow issue, in which the members of the Ultimate Six are given a little more time to project a sense of just how truly evil they are, with Doctor Octopus being the biggest benefactor of this mandate, with his wonderfully chilling moment where we see he manages to pull a fast one on his captors. In fact primarily because I'm such a big Doctor Octopus fan I'm more than willing to overlook the fact that very little actually occurs in this issue beyond the escape attempt. I mean there's a six page scene with the Ultimates where precious little actually occurs beyond the team getting itself brought up to speed, while Captain America is given another chip to place upon his shoulder. The last page reveal of who the sixth member of the group will be should also catch some readers by surprise, though as I said in my previous review this does fit the pattern we saw from the Green Goblin in his previous appearance. It is good to see the issue ends with the five villains back on the street, with what looks to be a somewhat uneasy alliance in place.

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