Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #6

Background

We're looking at the sixth installment of the Ultimate Marvel Team-Up series. Judging by the previous issues, this is a series which seems to serve no other purpose than introducing new characters. As for this issue, read on!

Story Details

Let's start by looking at the cover. We see Spidey in the reflection of a sniper sight lens, it looks like he's about to get killed. Can't wait to see this scene.

Our story starts at Ryker's Island, a maximum security prison. Some inmates are talking about a certain Herman Shultz who made some vibro-shock units and became the Shocker. Apparently Spidey took him down.

Then the talk goes on about how one of the guys was caught during a break in. He didn't find anything but a nice girl with who he would have liked to do the horizontal mambo. When he gets out, he says he'll pay her a second visit to finish what he (almost) started. That's when we see a guy who takes a spoon and starts lashing out.

A fight follows, just pictures, no words and several people are down. The guy's name is Frank Castle and the guards take him back into custody using some electric stun beam.

Enter Doctor Ruben. She's visiting Frank who's locked up like Hannibal (you know, Doctor Lector). She tries to make conversation. She tells him nine inmates died in that fight (so, there is a spoon after all). The six o'clock news calls him the Punisher, since he executes criminals.

During this conversation, we get to see a flashback of the Castle family spending a day in the park. Then four guys in black enter and start shooting. Frank survives the brutal attack, but his wife and two kids are dead. Ruben then wonders why Frank killed two cops, being an ex-cop himself (and a good one too), it just doesn't fit.

When Frank doesn't want to meet her half way, there's nothing she can do for him. She leaves the room and a pen, a paperclip and a paper coffee cup are still on the table. Exiting the room, she runs past the guards. Why running? I don't know, perhaps in the next issue we learn more about her. The guards tell Frank he'll go back to the "hole". The pen, paperclip and cup are nowhere to be seen.....

Switch to the Empire State building (well, I'm guessing it's this building). Spider-Man is climbing the wall and people in the street are screaming and look scared. It is because of Spidey? No, a huge screen shows the latest news, The Punisher has escaped. Next: Daredevil.

General Comments

The cover scene is not in the book. It happens more often, but this one is very misleading. Not one but three new characters are introduced. One being the Shocker, the second Doctor Ruben and the third one being The Punisher. We never get to see this Shocker and it might be nice to follow the Ultimate Spider-Man series and see whether this reference to Spidey is actual true. There might be more to Doctor Ruben than meets the eye. A female Microchip perhaps?

The art is done by Bill Sienkiewicz and it's overall very dark. Which is cool, because it gives the prison a creepy atmosphere. The scene where the Castle family gets killed looks a lot like someone else drew it. Peter, a guy I met at my local comicshop told me Bill started out being a clone of Neal Adams. Taking a closer look, it does look like Neal Adams. Hmmm...

Brian Michael Bendis takes his time to introduce us to The Punisher. Therefore we only get 3 pages with Spidey in it. OK, given the fact that this is a 3-part story he can eliminate Spidey from the first part. But he'd better include the webhead in the next installment!

Overall Rating

OK, I'll have to admit, the stories are getting better with each issue. I gave issue 5 a 3.5 so this should get a 4, right?. No, all we got was a very lengthy introduction to The Punisher. And reading the book, I thought from time to time, this is not right, this isn't how Frank became the Punisher. Then I had to remind myself it's an Ultimate Marvel story. Which is bad, because the other Ultimate stories are clearly non-regular Marvel stories. Perhaps it's the art, it's very moody but also very non-Ultimate Marvel.