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Ultimate Six #7
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Old school and new school comic fanboys have been clashing hard, lately. I know; there’s nothing new about that. But, there’s been a surprising amount of flaming going on over comics that give you “less bang for your buck," expanding stories that would’ve fit in one issue thirty years ago into 6-issue arcs.

Case in point, Ultimate Six; the Ultimate universe’s answer to Marvel’s Sinister Six, first introduced in The Amazing Spider-man Annual #1.

The conclusion to the experiment continues Green Goblin’s face-off with his son, Harry. The boy begs his father to stop his attack on the White House but doesn’t know that Iron Man is powering up a beam to take out Goblin on a genetic level (whatever the hell that means). Just as the green guy starts to power down, Iron Man takes the shot and purees Goblin’s genes just long enough for everyone with a weapon to bring him down. Goblin, of course, cries out that he’ll kill him (presumably Harry) before collapsing, and, as Peter Parker tries to console his friend, Harry vows “I’ll kill all of you for this”.

And thus ends the saga of the Ultimate Six. At least for now.

While I can understand why some old schoolers might not exactly be in love with this kind of storytelling, I have to defend the series. It was more than a repeat of the original story in both intent and execution, and, though the Sinister Six paved the way, so to speak, Ultimate Six did a nice job retooling the concept.

No longer a story of a lone hero facing off against his rogues gallery one at a time, the series serves as a cautionary tale of how the armies you create for one war can be the armies you fight in another (Afghanistan, anyone?) as well as a musing on fathers and sons. The heroes involved aren’t making cameo appearances to plug their own books but instead are placed in the story only as fit. It’s not a bad little read, really.

The individual issues, on the other hand…

It didn’t exactly feel like a trick when the preview edition came out with art by Joe Quesada rather than Trevor Hairsine, but I think that’s where the oddness started. Then the story took a good long while to rev up and used an overwhelming number of splash pages. However, the final blows came when the book first fell behind schedule and then added another issue to the series.

Since this is that final issue, the question we have to ask is “Was it worth it?” I’d have to say it wasn’t. Plot-wise, very little actually happens in this installment. Things wind down and a few lessons are learned, yet it feels more like a reminder that the fight will continue than an end to a story. What have we gained? Well, Harry wants to kill Peter and the Ultimates, now, and we know that Ultimate Doc Ock has great telepathy with his tentacles, but that’s about it. And actually, that one already was proven over in Ultimate Spider-Man, a book Marvel can deliver on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Trevor Hairsine’s art still looks great, as do Ian Hannin’s colors (quite pleasing since he took over for Dave Stewart and somehow pushed the palette one step further). It’s easy to see why so many pages were given over to these large, powerful images and I don’t think the most stubborn Silver Age sycophant could fault the quality of the images.

But, in the end, this issue didn’t achieve very much on it’s own. This isn’t so much a chapter in a story as the last piece of a puzzle: it doesn’t have much value on it’s own, but you probably want it to complete the picture. If you need the last issue to complete the series, by all means get it. If you missed any other issues along the way, just wait for the Ultimate Six trade paperback. You’ll get more bang for your buck.



Jason Schachat

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