After six issues, "Ultimate Avengers" draws to a close. As Nick Fury says in this issue, "Happy endings are for Chinese massage parlors," and seemingly Mark Millar written adventures. Or so it seems. This book wasn't going to end without a little twist or a surprise.
No, the surprise isn't the Red Skull dramatically remaking the entire world in his image through the Cosmic Cube --or as he calls it, the "God Box." The surprise is a couple of little surprises strung together: a last page reveal and a villain vanquished in unorthodox fashion. Everything up to that point is boisterously comic booky. We get to see Red Skull unleash the Cube on more than one of the "good guys."
For all of his snarling and posturing, though, the Skull strikes me as little more than an enabled Doofenshmirtz. Maybe that's the influence of the Disney purchase, or maybe it is a revelation of a deeper scale. I don't know for certain. What I do know is that the Red Skull is quick to dispense with the ass-whooping using the Cube, and he has a little fun feeding his sadistic nature while putting a beatdown on the crew.
This issue, like the issues before, is big and bold, an audition to be the story that is used for the script for the inevitable "Avengers" feature film. I do hope that it doesn't make it that far. This is a comic book story through and through, but it doesn't do much more than that. It's an exciting read as a comic book, but as a movie it would be way too much of "been there, done that."
This review is not about any hypothetical movie, however. It is about Carlos Pacheco handing in a solid issue of Carlos Pacheco art. The art plays to Millar's story, and vice versa. Millar doesn't hesitate to run a jet through Prague, as he knows Pacheco will handle the scene with pluck and detail. Pacheco, in turn, delivers a Nerd Hulk who seemingly withstands the onslaught of the Cosmic Cube through sheer determination and brute strength. This is a great match between script and artist, but I prefer Pacheco's Avengers to be more of the "Avengers Forever" vein and less of the "Ultimate" style -- the garish costumes seem more fitting for the style than leather and pleather outfits.
Millar ends this story with a cliffhanger, and "Ultimate Avengers 2" is prominently advertised in this book. There's more to be told here, but the story of the reunion between Captain America and Red Skull is done.