With a four-issue mini-series, you’ve got a limited amount of time to grab your reader’s attention. Move too slowly or don’t offer up enough of a hook, and there’s a good chance the reader will just drop the story mid-stream. After all, if it’s not an ongoing series, there isn’t a chance for things to pick up in a couple of months. I feel like that’s one of the two problems with “Ultimate Enemy,” which had a surprisingly weak second issue that seemed to primarily rehash last month’s premiere.
Last month, “Ultimate Enemy” showed us a series of attacks on different characters and corporations; this month, the remaining characters run from one location to the next, looking at what happened in the previous issue and showing us survivors. The problem is, there’s very little new being offered up as a result. We already know who was attacked, so seeing the comic move through all those places again feels a tad bit old and stale. It’s the second issue, and we’re no further than we were at the end of the first issue.
The other big problem with “Ultimate Enemy” is that it doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of the new “Ultimate” status quo. “Ultimate X” earlier this month did just that, looking at the decks being cleared off and moving forward with a fresh start. This, on the other hand, feels like a left-over from before “Ultimatum” kicked off; it doesn’t feel like a fresh take on anything, just a lot more of the same old stuff. Certainly not something that warranted its own mini-series instead of appearing in one of the main titles.
The saving grace this month is Rafa Sandoval and Roger Bonet’s art. It’s full of clean lines and full figures; Sandoval reminds me a lot of the late Mike Wieringo’s art and his approach to the human figure. Sandoval knows how to push a lot of energy into his panels and characters, and every single drawing has a liveliness about it that makes me want to see more from Sandoval and Bonet.
After hitting the halfway point, “Ultimate Enemy” seems to have gone nowhere slowly. There’s only so much that Bendis’ trademark snappy dialogue can cover, unfortunately. With Sandoval’s excellent pencils, though, I can understand if you’d want to stick around and see the conclusion. Regardless of the script, Sandoval and Bonet are going to make it look spectacular.