Ultimate Six review

Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol. 9: Ultimate SixUltimate Spider-Man, Vol. 9: Ultimate Six by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, since Sony and Marvel have teamed up and thereby negated all the planned Sinister Six movies for the foreseeable future, it looks like the Ultimate Six miniseries from Brian Michael Bendis published in 2003 is the closest thing we’ll get to a real, earned, Sinister Six movie anytime soon… I mean don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This is just, you know, the closet you’ll get to it.

By this point in comics history we had reached the point of decompression where trades were no longer something that collected multiple stories, say, as with Essential Avengers or something. Now this is one story, and the trade collects it all together as one. It reads much more like a novel and feels much more like a novel or a movie. Comics were on a slow path to becoming more and more cinematic, until they eventually just gave up and became cinema. What, you think the Marvel Cinematic Universe were movies? Don’t be silly. Those are comic books, they just evolved into cinema so gradually that you didn’t notice.

But I jest. This miniseries brings to a close most of the ongoing plotthreads that have been running through the Ultimate Spider-Man run up until this point, and it does so by bringing back all the major villains into the Ultimate version of the Sinister Six… or, as we end up seeing, the Sinister Five.

Throughout the novel, we’re teased that Harry Osborne might finally become something more than human, as Norman Osborne threatens to forcibly recruit his son as a member. The catch / twist is that he isn’t actually talking about Harry: he’s talking about Peter, whom he now views as a son, his genetic research having gone into the Oz formula that gave Peter his Spider-Powers.

This isn’t as much a departure from the main 616 story as some people have thought, and thoughts on this miniseries have mellowed over the years as a result. It harkens back to the then-recent Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin storyarc, and a little bit from the Return of the Goblin arc that followed it, which both followed Norman as he tried to recruit Peter as a surrogate son so that his legacy could continue following the death of Harry Osborne (clearly, all this was before One More Day).

Ultimate Six is a great, tense story with some amazing art that also shows some of what the Ultimates (the Ultimate Avengers) were up at this time, as their own book was criminally behind schedule at that point.

I miss the heyday of the Ultimate Marvel Universe.


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