The Wednesday Run – June 29, 2011

Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!

Ultimate Six
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by: Trevor Hairsine, Joe Quesada and Mark Bagley
Published by: Marvel Comics Comics

Once in a while a comic book is released that will make you stand up and say: “Interesting…very interesting!” Ultimate Six from Marvel Comics is one of those books. And it’s interesting for a number of reasons.

I missed this title when it was first published as a seven issue mini series back in 2003-2004. I’m not the biggest Marvel follower and I usually get my reads from the “House of Ideas” borrowed off of BBP’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy B. A few years back, he lent me Ultimate Avengers, written by Brian Michael Bendis and I really liked it. The Ultimates line of comics was not beholden or encumbered by history and Avengers felt really fresh in this new world. Of course, there was an Ultimate Spider-Man series as well and with that came the original monthly run of Ultimate Six.

Who are the Ultimate Six?

Well, any self-respecting Marvel Comics fan, specifically a Spider-Man fan, knows about the Sinister Six, the web-head’s most dastardly villains: Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio and the Sandman.

Then again, maybe not.

Those names have changed through the years and there was even a “Sinister Seven” and a “Sinister Twelve” at one point. But with the Ultimate version of things, those names changed again. In Ultimate Six, the characters of Mysterio and Vulture get dropped in favour of the Green Goblin and…Spider-Man himself! Yeah, the bad guys try to recruit our hero!

“Very interesting!” you say? Brothers and sisters, that’s just half of it.

This series has been collected twice before, in the various Ultimate Spiderman collections, so if you have either of those, then you’ve got this. And now we get this new hardcover compilation. That’s four publications and counting! Sinister cash grab, indeed! But I trust Spider-Man in the hands of writer Bendis. He’s got a way with this character that is true to the long-establish persona of Peter Parker but with a 21st century take that breaths new life into old ideas.

I’ll tell you something else that’s interesting: if you look at the Marvel Comics solicits for this book, you’ll see that Mark Bagley’s name is front and centre. In fact, Trevor Hairsine illustrated the vast majority of this book but Bagley is a big name in comics and big names move books. That’s probably good news for Hairsine as he probably gets a cut of units sold – but I still find the billing mildly curious.

Ultimate Six should prove to be an old-fashioned, rip-roaring good time as far as comic books are concerned. And if you’re new to Spider-Man or the Marvel Universe in general, don’t worry. In the Ultimate’s world, you don’t need to know any history. Just dive in!

So make the run this Wednesday and give Ultimate Six a sinister glance if not a sinister go.

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