Images & Words – Ultimate Avengers #6
[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]
Spoilers Ahead. Forreal.
This week’s top comic came down to two serious contenders. One of them was more of a fantasy-based, all-ages type deal. The second was the comics equivalent of a hard PG-13, a book with superheroes who aren’t afraid to fuck shit up. And while both were worthy adversaries, one got the definite edge after displaying supreme excellence in the squared circle. So if you can afford two comics this week, make sure you pick up Joe the Barbarian #4.
But if you’ve only got enough pennies for one cartoon-book, make your choice Ultimate Avengers #6.
Millar and Pacheco bring the first arc of Ultimate Avengers to an ending that is equal parts shocking and appropriate. Taking place in the Ultimate Universe of Marvel Comics, Captain America has spent the first five issues evading capture at the hands of his friends. Why’re the Avengers hunting down Steve Rogers? Well, he just found out that the Red Skull is his son and they’re worried that he’s going to go loco. With good reason.
Of course, this issue sees Captain America and the Red Skull finally going toe-to-toe. But before this battle can occur, the requisite Pre-Final-Confrontation Confrontation has to go down. And it does. We get to see the Red Skull, wielding the fucking Cosmic Cube, dispatch each member of the Avengers. It’s an epic buildup, a suitable appetizer to the main course for which we’ve all been starving!
That isn’t to say that there aren’t some great moments in this melee as well. One highlight is seeing the cowardly Nerd Hulk finally being worked up into throwing down. Sick of the Red Skull’s hurtful words, this Banner-clone lunges into the conflict and screams,
STOP TALKING TO ME LIKE THAT! STOP PUTTING ME DOWN!
It’s a great moment.
As you can guess, this only leads to the final battle. I won’t spoil too much, but you can rest assured that Steve Rogers wins. And since this is a Mark Millar book, he wins in quite a crafty and violent manner. Ok, here’s a hint: It involves impalement. Alright, one more hint: It involves a fighter jet. In other words, mission accomplished.
But what I really love about this issue of Ultimate Avengers is that it cleans up enough of the first storyline while leaving more than enough breathing room for the next. After delivering a sincere declaration that all he ever wanted was a happy ending, Red Skull is laid to rest by Red Wasp via bullet to the head. Nick Fury and Gregory Stark have a heart-to-heart in which it is revealed that Red Skull may have been purposely lured out of retirement. The reason? To justify the necessity of a Black Ops squad led by Fury. And lastly, we’ve still got all of the members of the Avengers alive and accounted for (clearly Jeph Loeb didn’t write this shit).
Ultimate Avengers #6 is a joyride of a comic book. If you haven’t read any of the previous issues, I’d say either hunt them down or wait for the trade paperback. But you’re going to want to hop on board for Ultimate Avengers 2, which starts at the end of this month. In addition to being penciled by the lovely Leinil Yu, the first cover features Frank Castle. The goddamn Punisher!
Ahh, I love comics so damn much!