Beezer gets a nemesis this issue. Instead of seeing things in an idyllic, pre-disaster light, this guy sees them the other way. Bleeding eye sockets, end times sort of thing.
I assume Brubaker has a point to the juxtaposition but it doesn’t really matter. The nemesis angle is a lot less interesting than it should be. It overshadows–complete with a soft, ominous cliffhanger–the story developing between Beezer and the environment suit girl.
She has a name, I’m sure, but use has to wear an environment suit around all the time and everyone talks about it so her name doesn’t make much impression.
Brubaker sets about half the story back in the regular setting, the outer sector, and it’s a mistake. The story feels too artificial. He had a great chance to stick with Beezer on this strange quest and, instead, he drags all the comic’s baggage along.
Cameron Stewart joins as inker this issue, which Brubaker splits between the present action of Beezer exploring the nicer sectors and flashbacks to his departure.
The way Brubaker layers the narrative is sort of nice. He’s doing it to keep Deadenders more compelling, which he might not need–Case and Stewart’s vision of the perfect future from the ground up is compelling enough. The flashbacks, which don’t have much (if any) conflict, make the issue hostile to new readers. A look between characters only means something if one has read the previous issues; Brubaker still needs a character map at the start of each issue.
Brubaker refocuses around Beezer this issue. He’s not a side character in his own book anymore. It’s unclear what it means for all the subplots….
It’s excellent writing, full of humor and subtle emotion. The comic’s all of a sudden about undefinable longing.
This issue might be the most Love and Rockets influenced issue of Deadenders yet. It might even just be homage.
Brubaker follows a relatively unfamiliar member of the supporting cast–she’s so unfamiliar I thought she was someone else. Brubaker really needs a better recap system for the supporting cast. There are like two dozen characters so far.
He’s very obtuse about the structure, especially how it figures in as a resolution to the previous issue’s finale. It takes place some months later. I think Brubaker contradicts himself on the exact timing.
But the timing doesn’t matter. What matters is the sublime story he tells here, all from the perspective of a basically new character. He follows up on some developing subplots (in some ways, he’s always just reducing Deadenders main plots to someone else’s subplot).
It’s a great comic book. Even if Pleece and Case don’t differentiate characters well.
Once again, Bendis tries to humanize Ultimate Cap. He gets to close out Ultimate Six with the observation he’s basically a fascist pawn. Bendis doesn’t go so far as to call the United States fascist, but there’s the implication.
Sadly, it’s the only interesting thing Bendis comes up with. Oh, he comes up with some amusing stuff this issue. There’s a good scary moment with Otto, there’s a great moment with Aunt May yelling at SHIELD agents (it’s another of those “where’s Bagley when we need him” moments). But there’s nothing with Peter and the Ultimates, nothing substantial with Peter and Norman Osborn.
I guess Hairsine and Miki do a better job for the finale than they did on the previous five issues. None of the art is jaw-dropping ugly like it had been.
Six feels a little like Bendis testing his writing muscles.
He comes up really short.
More double-paged action crap from Hairsine, though Bendis does eventually come up with a great sequence for the Wasp. It’s in single pages though.
I’m still a little confused how Kraven gets taken out. Apparently a random bit of lightning or electricity hits him and he goes down. Meaning Peter doesn’t actually succeed in anything. He just lucks into living. Kind of makes him a side character in Ultimate Six.
There is a great little moment between Ultimate Cap and Peter (making this issue Ultimate Captain America’s first ever good moment). I wish Mark Bagley had drawn it. Bendis might figure out how to write the Ultimates for this series, but he can’t figure out how to write Peter for someone other than Bagley.
I don’t like the comic, I recognize it’s a bit of a ripoff in terms of cost versus payout, but it’s got some good stuff.
Just when I thought the Hairsine art couldn’t get any worse, it does. Given a huge action sequence from Bendis, Hairsine flubs it and then he somehow worsens it.
There are a lot of double page spreads this issue; Hairsine produces less bad art but on a larger scale.
Putting it mildly, this issue of Ultimate Six is an ugly read. Bendis mildly recovers, revealing Norman isn’t quite as insane as he previously implied, which is good. Norman being able to outthink Nick Fury and all the SHIELD geniuses if he were totally insane is a little much.
Though it’s too bad Bendis doesn’t go anywhere with the alternative life style thread Norman suggests between himself and Doctor Octopus.
The issue also shows no one can write Ultimate Captain America and make him an appealing character. Bendis makes him a dick too.
While the writing’s not incompetent, the comic’s bad.
Well, there’s a crappy issue.
More of the bad art from Hairsine and Miki and no story from Bendis. The bad guys break in to kidnap Peter from SHIELD at the end, which should be a good action scene, right? Maybe, if Hairsine and Miki weren’t drawing everything silly.
And there’s an Ultimates action scene a little earlier. It’s terrible too.
The issue opens with the faceless president (not Bush, the vocabulary is too advanced) yelling at Nick Fury. It’s a useless scene because there’s no weight to it. Bendis also fails at any of the good bickering (Nick Fury and Peter, Fury and Osborn). Actually, all of the characters are without personality here.
Worst is the bad guys. Hairsine has stopped bothering to draw Kraven and Sandman any different so the conversation scenes are hard to read.
It’s a terrible comic book. I can’t think of any redeeming qualities.
For this issue, Hairsine and his inker, Danny Miki, all of a sudden decide they’re doing a comedy. The art is very emotive, comical and sketchy. There’s no slickness to it.
It ought to work too, because it’s Peter Parker meets the Ultimates mixed with a little of the Nick Fury and Peter Parker bickering. It ought to work with a comical art style.
It does not.
Worse, it feels like Bendis is dragging things out. Instead of enjoying Peter’s trip to the big leagues, he uses it for the bickering (which is good) and exposition (which is bad).
When he finally does get to the big cliffhanger, it feels like he’s missed out on every opportunity the story presented.
The issue starts out okay and Bendis writes the dialogue and emotion fine, it’s just not a good finished product.
And that big cliffhanger implies tedious, contrived plotting to follow….
I remember this issue. It’s the first Marvel comic–with the text recaps–I remember having a spoiler for the end of the issue. Norman’s so nuts he thinks Peter is his son (Peter being the Ultimate Sixth). Shame no editor caught it, because it’s a good little moment at the end.
There’s another good moment in the issue, one of Bendis’s better ones, actually. Hank Pym reveals he’s already got all of Norman’s secret formulas. Norman freaks out. It works with the Hairsine art. Six is Bendis doing the big action Ultimate series and it turns out he does it well. The first issue he was a little restrained, more in the comedic Spider-Man mode. Here he’s doing big action melodrama.
It’s a fine issue. Though he could’ve done it in half the pages.
Shame Nick Fury has to act moronic for Bendis’s plot to work though.
I’m not a big Trevor Hairsine fan–his Ultimate Cap is a disaster, for instance, but given Bendis’s writing of Ultimate Thor, I forgive Ultimate Six a lot.
It’s an Ultimates series too, not just Ultimate Spidey (which I forgot) and Bendis has a great time writing the Ultimates. He does quite well with the character interplays. It’s a lot fun; Bendis is able to present the Ultimates without a challenge, but still make them compelling. He probably would have made a great sitcom writer.
As for the titular six, they’re only kind of funny. Hairsine’s art is very dramatic, which makes them whining in group therapy less funny than it should be. And then there’s Norman. Norman’s totally nuts and all, but when he’s not bickering with Nick Fury, he’s tiring.
Bendis is having fun making fun of the Ultimate universe, which gives no indication of the series’ quality.
This issue is a prelude to Ultimate Six, with Bendis focusing on Sharon Carter and her take on the last time Spidey fought Doctor Octopus. Turns out Ultimate Sandman was there too.
Bendis can get a little mileage out of it being an untold tale, but the comic’s fairly limp. Spider-Man’s outgoing personality comes across as forced and unlikely.
Carter is an awful protagonist for the comic, alternating between unlikable and mentally unstable. Of course, Bendis understands she’s a weak lead, so he gives Bagley maybe six double page action spreads to do.
The best part of the comic is probably Flint Marko’s expressions and it’s unclear who came up with those, since he doesn’t talk.
All Bendis had to do was a solid prequel to an event and he flops. Ultimate Carter is just a lousy character. The issue makes one want to avoid Six at all costs.
Reading Deadenders is watching Brubaker’s development as a writer. At least one hopes he’s developing and learning from the mistakes.
For example, if you’re going to write an ongoing comic book, it’s not a good idea to imply a protagonist’s death (by flashing forward ten years into the future) because why should a reader stick with a book? To find out what happens? Who cares, given Brubaker never spends enough time establishing characters in Deadenders anyway….
And another flash forward lesson? Don’t imply one of your other protagonists, who’s been entirely sympathetic, will grow up to make someone as unhappy as the guy looks at the end of this issue.
Until the flash forward, however, it’s a great issue. Brubaker’s making a lot of daring narrative decisions and they pay off. Too bad he decided to capstone it with the lame finish.
Deadenders often should be great, but just misses.
Brubaker runs into a big problem this issue; I’m a little surprised, because it’s an obvious one.
His backup episode, about one of the characters crushing on a guy, is far more effective than his lead story. The lead story is following a plot, it’s increasing tension, it’s got a decent cliffhanger, but it feels constructed.
Meanwhile the backup moves entirely on its own momentum. Pleece and Case are a lot more creative too, because it’s in a less constrained environment. There’s no agenda.
The lead story is also problematic because it requires Beezer to be both the protagonist and the antagonist. He’ll probably turn out being right about things, if only because it’ll create narrative thrust.
But the backup doesn’t need any artificial boosters.
It’s a good and interesting issue–the lead story is strong, it’s just nowhere near as strong as the backup and compares poorly to it.
Brubaker does a nice move starting out this new arc. He sets the action ahead about a month from the last issue. The reader hears, from the characters, about the time between, but it doesn’t sound like much interesting happens.
So the inciting incident for this arc is Beezer’s pissed off dealer boss finally getting ahold of Beezer and kicking the crap out of him. Fatefully, there’s someone nearby who can help and the story kicks off. Basically, Beezer’s out of it and some older guy is starting to creep on Sophie.
It’s a nice bit of work from Brubaker, Pleece and Case. Subtle, if often violent.
Then there’s a backup with the repo kids. It provides a little Deadenders texture, but it also gives Brubaker space to experiment with narrative form. The experiment isn’t particularly exciting but it is cute and it does have a nice feel about it.