Last issue’s cliffhanger, which finally made an attempt to tie this comic to the "Death of Spider-Man" event, is only given momentary consideration in this issue before being dropped almost entirely. If I was reading Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates purely out of interest for the "Death of Spider-Man" I would be very disappointed, but thankfully I am not. I read this comic for the action, the heroes, and the master manipulator villain who is finally revealed.
Early in the issue there are some spectacular fight scenes, but none are protracted. As tempting as it may be to linger on these brawls, there are more important things Millar seeks to address. Once the characters are given time to relax and assess what is happening with S.H.I.E.L.D. is where the comic truly succeeds. The dynamics of the New Ultimates team is explored and displays some good insight to the overstressed heroes. Black Widow’s skepticism regarding Fury’s guilt is an interesting tidbit that is sure to be brought up again.
Most intriguing of all is the relationship between the Stark brothers. Their animosity goes far beyond mere sibling rivalry -- the worst kind of obsession that provides a credible explanation for the actions. The surprises Millar unleashes on the reader are great, and while he tips his hand too soon as to the identity of the villain, the ending more than makes up for it.
Segovia and Yu split the art duties again, and again the result is superb. The switches between artists are not at all noticeable. Both men are fantastic, whether drawing action scenes or intense moments of revelatory dialogue. One talk that takes place on a helicarrier is powerfully rendered as on one page’s focus increases on a character as his words becomes increasingly dire. Yes this technique has been done before, but it is a classic. The helicarrier itself is also very impressive. Its imposing nature adds to the callous mood of the scene.
As a Punisher fan, I was particularly pleased with Millar’s interpretation of the character. He is a man who has to punish every bad deed. It does not matter if it was an accident; the person must face violent repercussions. This puts him in a tormented position after having shot Spider-Man and believing the man he has been working for is a traitor to the U.S. Hopefully his internal conflict will be further explored.
This is another great issue of Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates. The characters get a real chance to shine and not just with their fists.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Wallace also reviewed Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #4. Read his thoughts, too!
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