Miscellanea and Ephemeron
04/28/2004 Archived Entry: "Ultimate Six"
Ultimate Six #7
Full disclosure: I was a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society and I own a lot of Silver Age Marvel.
Summary: Here's the blurb that Marvel sent us – it's a hell of a better summary than I could write: "The Green Goblin is one of the last 'men' standing after the terrible battle between the Ultimates and the Ultimate Six on the White House lawn. And there is only one being in the world that can stop him…and it isn't Spider-Man!!"
Review: Want to know who it is? It's his son, Harry! What a surprise (not). See, I'm probably not the best person to review this, because up until 3:30 this afternoon I had no idea what this "Ultimate" thing was about. I look at the pages of beautiful art and I think, Oh, I know these guys – Spider Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor – but no! They dress different! They talk different! Peter Parker looks like he's fourteen years old! Thor doesn't look anything like the way Jack Kirby drew him!
OK, enough whinging. Turns out Marvel invented this Ultimate concept to create an alternate universe for the stable of tried and true Marvel superheroes. The backstories have been updated, the action takes place in the present day, and alliances of Good Guys (Ultimates) and Bad Guys (Ultimate Six) are quickly formed so they can bash the bejeezus out of each other, pronto. There's some stuff about aliens and genetics wars that I didn't get, but I only have this one issue to read, so bear with me in my ignorance. Apparently (according to my good friend the Internet) there are a whole bunch of Ultimate comics, and this series focuses on six villains: Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Sandman, the Green Goblin, and Kraven the Hunter. They are a lot more powerful and a lot scarier-looking than they used to be, that's for sure.
The art is great and the coloring is especially fantastic – really excellent use of dark and light shading, colored rays of light, and lots of texture. There are also nifty floating panels and some very judicious word-balloon placement. All in all, it's a visual treat. It's too bad the writing veers into the extremely trite. At the end, Captain America turns into Captain Obvious when he says, "It's men of influence and power that decide what these wars will be about…In a sense, really, these people of power will the war into existence." Really? Wow! I had no idea! I know you've been asleep since WWII but c'mon, Cap, catch a ride on the clue train!
Of course, this is a Marvel comic, so the emphasis is really on interpersonal relationships. The best moment is when Peter tries to comfort his best friend Harry (after GG is ostensibly offed, which takes 5 pages of explosions and gunfire and red ink) and Harry says, quietly, "I'll kill all of you for this." Now that's scary.
If you want to know more about the Ultimates, you can check out the Marvel site, if you can get past the Flash animation.
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"Ontology on the Go!"
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