By Millar, Hitch, Currie
Ultimates vol. 1 issues 7-13

Millar turns up the edginess. Here we’re introduced to the black ops Avengers lead by the Black Widow and Hawkeye

Issue 7 still deals with the aftermath of the Hulk rampage and the fight between Jan and Hank. Alas, I thought that the whole domestic violence story was very ham handed. Janet’s former roommate Betty confesses that she knew that Hank was beating Jan and that it had been going on for years. Yet, Betty just thought it wasn’t her business to even say anything. Then it turns out that even though Hank beat up Jan so badly that she ended up in a hospital, the whole thing wasn’t about Jan at all. It was All About the Men, once again. Hank beat Jan because he has an inferiority complex and the beating was a reason for Cap to beat Hank.

The influence of Matrix was quite clear in issue 8 where the black ops Avengers were introduced. The Black Widow and Hawkeye dressed in black leather and shot everyone on site. It was later revealed that the people they killed weren’t humans but I’m not so sure that it made their actions excusable. We also get a glimpse of the Scarlet Witch and the Quicksilver who are, once again, apparently lovers. Then the plot starts to thicken.

The Chitauri are an alien, reptilian shape changer species who have infiltrated human societies for decades. They were the ones responsible for the Nazi super weapon. Apparently, they now have larger bases and are planning a whole scale invasion. The Avengers and the SHIELD soldiers are going to stop them. The Avengers which now consists of Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow, lead a huge attacking force against the Chitauri’s biggest known base. Their headquarters is left almost empty.

This Black Widow has some unspecified combat enhancements but otherwise she seems to be the same former Russian spy. Hawkeye was a bit incongruous among the other gun toting operatives but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he has kids and a girlfriend. However, they were just mentioned in passing.

This is more like the Avengers action I’m used to. I still don’t think that the Ultimates are different enough from their classic versions and I guess I have to admit that I don’t really care for the grayer characterizations. When I want that, I can watch news or read history. I want something else from my comics.