Sunday, April 17, 2005

ULTIMATES v2 #5

One of the more subtle joys of The Ultimates in its second season is how the first one wasn't a fluke -- they really are this bad at working together. Forget about teamwork or coordination; the Ultimates are miserable at cooperation. Considering that they are backed up by the best in military tech support and that a few of them have military training, they are laughably ineffective and don't have the excuse of newbiness to use anymore. Nick Fury and his minions with an AWACS have nothing on poor old Cyclops and his barking out orders without amplification or a bird's eye view in terms of tactical work.

That's not to say that some of them aren't darned effective on their own; Natasha's low blow struck home with full force and they did eventually bring Thor down. But the entertainment value in the fight is in the details of why and how it takes eighteen pages for the entire Ultimates team (with reserves) to stop one man with an impressive hammer.

Sadly, the proportion of time spent on the tussle in the snow made it feel like one of those moments in the rock concert where each and every member has to get their twenty minute solo. Nobody cares about the rhythm guitarist's licks. Loki's taunting of his half-brother (in his guise of Gunnar Golmen) was actually much neater and far more clever than anything in the fight. Loki has no reason to lie to Thor about there being a mole on the team and Thor's fears -- that the Ultimates are getting used for no good in the Middle East -- are realized and, put together, there's a fair bit of intrigue going on at the Triskelion. Between that and whatever happened to Bruce Banner and Hank Pym... maybe the fight could have been knocked back to twelve pages.

Good to see this issue out a month after the previous; after last month's hiccup, it looked like it could have been Season One all over again.

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