The Ultimates 2 #11


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The Ultimates 2 #11


  • Words: Mark Millar
  • Art: Bryan Hitch
  • Inks: Paul Neary
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: America Strikes Back
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 21, 2006

After the Liberators’ brutal assault on U.S. soil, Captain America and company gather the survivors for a last minute save. But will it work?

The Ultimates has been one of the best comic books out there since it first appeared, if you don’t count the repetitive lateness. With the current storyline involving political intrigue, terrorists, and traitors, the tension is reaching its boiling point. In the penultimate issue of the second series, the team has been torn apart, the nation has been invaded, superheroes have been captured, and things look dim for the Ultimates. A few unexpected guests arrive while Iron Man and Thor hint at just how awesome the next issue will be…when it comes out…here in like a year or so.

My praise for Mark Millar knows no ends. His wordsmithing on comic books is in a class alone. Somehow he manages to make us love and hate the heroes he writes. Ultimate Captain America is a conservative, 1950s soldier-boy who probably would have voted for G.W. Bush, and yet I like him, I want him to win. Henry Pym is a wife-beating, self-loathing, failure-turned-terrorist, yet I can’t help but feel sorry for him. And the Liberators are the exact opposite of the Ultimates. They are superhumans from countries that have fallen victim to some of the United States’ more underhanded dealings. They are the bad guys, make no mistake; they invade America, take its heroes hostage, and could just as quickly become that which they hate. But a part of me can’t help but sympathize. This is where Millar is at his best. He turns comic book superheroes and villains into real people in a way few manage to do, all the while keeping the action strong. His balancing act is to be envied.

Bryan Hitch's pencils are also something to be envied. Heck, on the first page he proves a comic book splash needs no action to be worthy of note. His attention to detail is mind-boggling, as is the case with Cap and Wasp’s battle with Schizoid Man. The action is brutal, violent, enthralling, but above all, clear. When Cap breaks a man’s jaw, we can see that jaw break and almost hear as well as feel it. The wide panels make for a movie feel, as do the cinematic postures of the characters in the book. They inhabit a world the artist is trying to make as alive as possible. The backgrounds are defined, and dare I say, photo-realistic. But the action and people in the foreground are clearer, making for a book that looks and feels eerily real.

Millar and Hitch have created a gem among mainstream comics. Though in this issue there is a certain green guest whose appearance is confusing, considering the last time we saw him he was in the middle of a miniseries that has yet to be finished, the power of the issue, the questions the whole storyline has raised, are enough to get you to look past the consistency quirks, salivating for the conclusion.

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