Current Reviews


Ultimate Six #5

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

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

Publisher: Marvel Comics

As S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates struggle to get there act back together in the aftermath of the attack upon their headquarters, we see Spider-Man wakes up to find himself captive of the Ultimate Six. While he's originally belligerent we see the Green Goblin's threat against his loved ones is quick to bring Peter back on side, and he is soon joining the villains as they launch an attack against the White House. However, the situation becomes even more complicated for poor Peter when the Ultimates arrive on scene.

If I had to make one complaint about Brian Michael Bendis' work it's that there are moments where I think he's a little too aware that he writes killer dialogue exchanges, as he seems to tailor his scripts so that they include as many moments as possible where characters are doing little more than talking another character's ear off. I mean yes it's nice to get a look at Aunt May and watch her attempt to force the issue with a rather tightlipped S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and getting a look at the aftermath of the Ultimate Six's attack on the Triskelion was nicely informative, but when these two scenes are followed up an eight page conversation between Peter and the villains, this book starts to feel like it doesn't quite understand why fans would be drawn to this miniseries. I mean here is a book that features a group of villains forming a team and after five issues we still have yet to reach the point where these villains do battle with the heroes. I mean yes there was the escape from the prison and the attack upon the Triskelion, but both of these scenes were handled in a rather abrupt fashion with the former playing out largely off panel. However the final page of this issue does take us to a point in the story where I don't imagine even Brian Michael Bendis will be able to avoid delivering the big scale action that fanboys like myself entered this project hoping to find.

As for the art, Trevor Hairsine is a fairly solid artist as he puts an impressive amount of detail on the page, and he's able to keep things visually engaging without losing the clear storytelling that is often the first thing to go when you get an artist who is going for dynamic visuals. Now his characters aren't the most expressive, as the opening scene with Aunt May doesn't really convey her desperation when she's looking for answers, and Peter's a little stone-faced during his encounter with the villains. However, the scene where Kraven lashes out manages to nicely capture his animalistic fury, and the panel sequence where we close in on Peter face after his Aunt May is threatened is nicely handled. The big scale action of the final pages is also worth a mention, as that one page shot of the gathered villains makes for a great companion to the final pages of the issue where we see the Ultimates have arrived.

Final Word:
Another issue where Brian Michael Bendis manages to hold off the big show that likely acted as the primary reason most readers were drawn to this miniseries. However, given Spider-Man is being backed into a corner where he is forced into helping these villains, I will give Brian Michael Bendis the time he needs to craft the situation so that Peter feels he has no other recourse than the help them in their attack upon the White House. In fact if nothing else by the time this issue is finished I couldn't help but be a bit curious as to which side of the fence Spider-Man would fall upon in the impending battle, as from a pure excitement level I'd love to see him square off against the Ultimates, but doing so would likely get him into more trouble than Brian Michael Bendis would be able to deal with in the amount of time he has left to tell this story. Plus, while watching Spider-Man battle the Ultimates would be a lot of fun I'm not sure I'd want to leave the party before he had an opportunity to test his luck against the villains of this story. If nothing else this issue manages to build a nice sense of excitement for what's coming up next.

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