Well, yes, Bendis did take Gwen where I thought he was taking here but he only reveals it at the end. The rest of the issue is terrible.
The dialogue, with Doc Ock explaining his evil plans because he’s crazy and making fun of Peter, is fine. But the idea of him knocking Peter out, kidnapping him in a van, stealing a private jet and flying off to some secret location to kill him?
Someone should have told Bendis no. Maybe his editors were must overjoyed at the corporate synergy tying into Spider-Man 2, even though he portrays the filmmakers as complete asshats.
The issue isn’t just bad for its stupidity, it’s also bad because one can see the machinations behind it too much. Reading Ultmate Spider-Man, one comes to expect Bendis’s decompression filler… but he’s too obvious about it here.
Even the Gwen-centric finish is weak.
Hollywood: Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.
You know, when Bendis and Bagley are on, they’re really on. Though this issue is mostly just a big fight between Peter and Doc Ock, there’s a couple little things with Gwen and Mary Jane. First–and I thought foremost–Mary Jane’s mother (off panel) kicks out her father, which will have repercussions in the future I’m sure. Bendis treats it casually, but it shows he hasn’t forgotten what he’s got brewing.
More importantly, there’s this little implication Gwen’s figured out Peter’s secret identity. It’s just a little thing, one or two panels–and maybe I’m wrong, but I’m hoping I’m not. Otherwise I’m not sure what Bagley and Bendis were trying to do.
During the fight, Peter has a line about Doc Ock’s prisons never being good enough. Still doesn’t explain the incompetence of Ultimate SHIELD, but at least Bendis is aware of the contrivance.
It’s a fun issue.
Hollywood: Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.
The Spider-Man movie adventure continues with Kong getting a part, Gwen freaking out and Peter stalking the set.
Oh, and Dr. Octopus storming the set during filming.
It’s kind of a cheap issue, the kind of cheap Ultimate Spider-Man issue one feels a little bad about enjoying because it’s clear Bendis didn’t work very hard on it. He included some really funny lines between Doc Ock and his arms, he made Kong look like a moron, he made Gwen sympathetic. Bendis knows all the right notes to play here and he goes through each one.
What’s strangest is how disconnected the issue seems from the series in general. While Gwen’s finally voicing her frustration over Spider-Man, Mary Jane’s rather serious grounding doesn’t even get a mention this issue. Bendis is diverting attention from some subjects instead of focusing it on others.
Like I said, though, it’s fun.
Hollywood: Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.
It’s another Bendis setup issue, complete with a text piece from Peter recounting current events. Actually, he doesn’t so much recount events as explain he’s finally happy (though Mary Jane’s not allowed to see him) so what could possibly go wrong.
Immediately following those happy thoughts, he finds out about a Spider-Man movie. Bendis ties it into Spider-Man 2, I think, since the first once missed the Ultimate boat.
Aunt May has also left for a week–trusting Peter and Gwen, which seems unlikely. It’s an excellent departing scene, but ignores recent events.
The kids at school want to be in the movie, which leads to Mary Jane teasing Peter. It’s another fine scene from Bendis. He’s just obvious in his setup. It mildly cheapens the enjoyment of reading Ultimate Spider-Man.
Oh, and Doctor Octopus is back. Once again, Ultimate SHIELD is really dumb.
Still, it passes.
Hollywood: Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Bendis misses just about every chance he’s got this time. It’s not a bad issue, surprisingly good, actually, but he misses all the great chances. He doesn’t, for instance, let Peter beat the shit out of Mary Jane’s dad. It’d be a hard scene to do, but I’ll bet Bendis could handle it.
Or when Peter–in costume–rescues Black Cat. She’s in her civilian identity and it could have been a strong encounter. But Bendis doesn’t. He abbreviates it. This arc, had Bendis cut out half the useless action scene a couple issues ago and lengthened the finish here, would have been really strong.
And the Mary Jane stuff needed to be introduced earlier since it turned out so important. Bendis arcs might be trade-friendly, but he doesn’t write enough for the arc. He doesn’t put enough thought into what he wants to get done.
Still, good issue.
At least there’s a lot of action this issue so one doesn’t concentrate on Bagley’s strange version of “sexy girl” art.
Bendis actually spends a page, alongside Peter scaling a building, to write up a bunch of narration. And it’s the best thing in the issue, even though it’s only necessary because of the lengthy, unfulfilling fight scene.
He covers Peter’s self-awareness about pursuing Black Cat with Mary Jane at home. But there’s also some about the adventuring. When Peter gets to the top of the building, he’s upset the fight’s over and he’s alone. That observation is a little one, but it’s telling… Peter’s an adventuring junkie.
There’s some inexplicably weak bookends with Kingpin (not to mention yet another tease of May discovering Peter’s secret identity).
It’s yet another pointless, terribly paced issue, but Bendis makes up for it a little with his excellent handling of Peter Parker.
Mark Bagely’s attempts at drawing sexy, scantily clad women–Elektra and Black Cat–are mildly disturbing. He’s not good at it; he’s also not good at designing their Ultimate costumes. Visually, this issue is atrocious.
As for the story, it’s not bad. Bendis is clearly setting up throughout the issue–a big fight between the three–and everything else seems back burner. Even Mary Jane and Peter, which Bendis does cover… but he gives it less space than the Black Cat stuff.
For example, the opening scene bringing the Kingpin into the story is totally useless. It’s filler. Ultimate Spider-Man probably would be a lot better if it weren’t for the double issue months. Bendis might figure out his story.
There’s a lot of potential in the Black Cat meeting though, because Bendis still writes Peter well. Hopefully, he won’t disappoint in the plotting.
But that Bagley art’s gross.
Not a good issue. The stuff at the end, with Mary Jane’s dad flipping out and May and Gwen off to the rescue, that stuff is good. The stuff with Peter and Mary Jane, kind of good. It’s all a little redundant, especially since Bendis and Bagley just got done with their terrible Ultimate Black Cat introduction.
For a while, when Bagley was concentrating on Black Cat’s eyes (in very Cooke Catwoman googles), I didn’t think her costume was going to be inordinately exploitative. I even got hopeful Bendis would have fun with the bad luck powers. I was totally wrong about the former and mostly wrong about the latter.
Especially after Peter shows up. I think the issue’s oversized is for the lame fight.
It’s great Bendis writes May and Gwen so well, but they shouldn’t be the best thing in an issue. I don’t even think Gwen talks.
And here comes the secret identity stuff. Kingpin is going to find Peter out! But wait, doesn’t Peter know Nick Fury? Can’t they do something? Nick Fury would move heaven and earth for Aunt May but not against Kingpin? That story’s a lot more interesting than the one Bendis is going to tell, I’m sure.
Otherwise, it’s a pretty good issue. Jonah realizes he’s been wrong and he tries to be a reporter. There’s a funny fight scene with the Enforcers. It’s way too long, but it’s funny.
Bendis once again tells some of the story in the opening recap, this time about Jonah changing his mind about the District Attorney race. He easily could’ve spared two pages of the fight scene for a good real scene.
Then there’s the standoff with Peter and Kingpin and it’s only okay. The jokes aren’t good enough (from either of them).
I just love how Bendis handles Ultimate Kingpin and Peter. I know I’ve already said it, but it’s even better this issue. The relationship between the two obviously has to do with Peter’s idealism, which is just the inherent lack of reality of superhero comics. Bendis, with Bagley’s art beautifully working against it, is trying to bring some gravitas to Ultimate Spider-Man.
He’s not doing it with a dark story or whatever, he’s doing it with politics and corruption and Jonah being a really shallow guy. It’s a great issue. I don’t remember the last time the comic was so impressive, actually.
And I started this arc nonplussed. Bendis shaved the weaker story arc for this issue (the secret identity) and married the Kingpin and District Attorney candidate nicely. Using Ultimate Ben Urich helps, of course, since Bendis writes him so well.
The moment with May is outstanding too.
Bendis introduces three new plot lines–the Kingpin is back, too many people know Peter is Spider-Man and the Bugle is backing a mayoral candidate who’s out to get Spider-Man. Well, maybe not a mayoral candidate. I wasn’t paying too much attention.
To stay true to his form, Bendis will likely tie these three plot lines together, which doesn’t make much sense. In a lot of ways, it feels like Bendis doesn’t know what he’s doing here.
But he’s at least doing it in good scenes. He excels at the Bugle stuff, even when people are being quiet, and he also excels at Ultimate Kingpin. Bendis writes a very funny Kingpin. Unfortunately, the Spider-Man identity question gets the least treatment.
Having reunited Peter and Mary Jane, Bendis is at a loss for how to write them together. Without drama or tension, there’s nothing for them to do.
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.