Ultimate Six #5

Background

After being apprehended by Spider-Man, the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Electro and Kraven the Hunter were being held in a S.H.I.E.L.D. containment center. Now the worst has happened as all five have escaped. While Nick Fury took the Ultimates to search for them, the villains attacked and destroyed the Ultimates stronghold, the Triskelion, and kidnapped Peter.

Story Details

Norman Osborn has convinced himself that, as Peter Parker's ascent to the status of super-powered being was a result of his and Dr. Octavius' scientific work, that they (Osborn and Octavius, respectably) are basically his (Peter's) parents. Hm. The team of villains outlandishly known as the Ultimate Six have young Parker tied to a chair and watch as Osborn, the team's leader, proposes Peter join them in their quest for injustice and villainy. Peter is having none of that, of course, and breaks free from his reigns prepared to fight until Norman calmly informs him that such actions will result in the deaths of Aunt May, Mary Jane, Mary Jane's family, etc. Peter decides to listen to the Six's proposal calmly, on the grounds that Aunt May is left alone.

Aunt May, meanwhile, is in the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D, and is told that she and Peter (who, she is told, is in a separate room "for security reasons") are there to be protected from the terrible Norman Osborn. She isn't informed about Mr. Osborn moonlighting as the Green Goblin, and makes quite a racket about wanting to see Peter, wanting to see a "manager" (a S.H.I.E.L.D. manager, heh), and about being generally displeased with the events as are.

Back at what remains of the Triskelion, Captain America and Nick Fury share a nice conversation about war history, and Sgt. Fury exclaims that he knows "what he is going to do."

Finally, Osborn calls the White House to check up on his demands. The Chief of Staff (who is apparently in charge of negotiating) says that they are taking Mr. Osborn's concerns very seriously, and that they should arrange a get-together to try and arrange some compromise. Norman likes the idea of a get-together, and takes the White House under siege along with his other super powered buddies (Spider-Man in tow). The Ultimates show up and inform the Ultimate Six that they are trespassing, and I guess the real party will ensue next issue.

General Comments

Not bad, but certainly not up to par with the last four issues. This installment seemed somewhat lacking to me. As you can probably tell by the fact that my "IN DETAIL" section up there is only three and a half paragraphs long, there weren't really a lot of developments in the story, and the ones we did see weren't particularly captivating. Yeah, Norman wants Peter to join the Ultimate Six. Yeah, Peter's family and friends are in danger. Yeah, the Ultimates want to put a stop to this. Blah blah blah. This issue served as little more than review of the stuff we already learned in the previous four issues. I had heard (and please forgive me if I've been misinformed here) that this series was originally going to run six issues, but writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to up it to seven to fit all the stuff he wanted to put into it. Well, sorry Brian, but this issue could easily have taken up four pages and still have been equally effective.

And what is up, by the way, with Peter's mask being off, like, throughout this entire series? First Daredevil, now this? I sometimes wonder if Bendis really recognizes the reasons superheroes HAVE secret identities in the first place. But that is really neither here nor there.

Overall Rating

2.5 webs. Not great, but not terrible. Completely and totally neutral, really. Sure, the art is still great, and the cover to this issue is probably one of the best I've seen for ANY series in the last five years or so. However, as I said, this issue would have simply worked better as a four or five page intro to the next issue.