The Ultimates 2 Annual #1
This is really an issue all about Nick Fury. Although, he doesn't appear in it that often, we're shown glimpses of all the things accross the Ultimate Universe that he has his hands in. From new Ultimates recruits to assassins.
So, the Ultimates kick the crap out of some terrorists attempting to hijack an airplane. This scene is really set up to give us our first glimpse of the focus of the issue; the new recruits. We see the Rocketmen, piloting some older versions of the Iron Tech armor, they manage to save the lives of the terrorists after the Black Widow flings them out of the plane. Continuing the new recruits, we see a page that profiles all of them. There are five Goliaths, each with the power to get really big. A squad called the four seasons, with nondescript powers that come from their very colorful costumes. Thunderbolt and Intangi-Girl, who's name's decribe what they do. Finally, there is a guy named Lieberman, who's been injected with the new Super Soldier Serum. The thing with these characters is that they're not really fleshed out in way that makes them more than just jarheads with powers. Lieberman especially comes off like the most annoying jock you'll ever meet. I'm sure that's intentional, but he's the only one of them that gets anything that resembles a personality. Maybe this is some subtext dealing with how Millar feels about the American military, maybe he just can't be bothered with making us care about these new nobodies, whatever the case, these guys are boring.
Now comes the plot with the assassin. Some General, presumably a Russian one, gets on Fury's ass for using the Ultimates on foreign soil against a sovereign nation. Fury isn't having any of that shit, and basically tells him to fuck off. From there, we're led to believe that the general hires this aged assassin, Mr. Nix, to off Fury. It's all so obvious that it has to be a red herring.
After some complaining from Summer, one of the asshole Four Seasons, we get perhaps the coolest moment of the book. Confirmation that the Hulk is alive and smashing things in the Himalayas. It isn't even commented on, but it's Millar's way of hammering the point home for those too dumb to get the ending of #3.
Another cool moment is the appearance of the Defenders. Seems they've recruited a guy in a wheelchair. This gives Millar the oppurtunity to make lots of handicapped jokes. It's all very funny in a slightly guilty way. We also can infer from the narration boxes that Damian Hellstorm is on the team with the sole purpose of monitoring Hank Pym, who doesn't even bother to show up for the meeting.
Now another action sequence, shown from the perspective of the new recruits that don't really do any fighting. The team beats up some giant sand monster while the Four Seasons act like assholes. There IS a humourous bit though, commenting on how no one really knows what Scarlet Witches powers do.
After a pretty forgettable scene with Mr. Nix, we find out what the deal is with Lieberman. Turns out that he's gonna be the reserve Captain America in the event that Steve Rogers goes down. Makes a certain ammount of sense. But, of course, this doesn't last long, cuz on a night on the town, Lieberman tries to do the superhero thing and save the residents of a burning building. He's actually successful, but in the end the SSS fries his entire central nervous system. Fury comments that they should put his body with the OTHERS. Ugh, they've been killing a lot of people with this new SSS.
Finally, Nix attempts to make his hit, but Fury caps him instead. Turns out that Fury is the one who made the hire, all to catch a notorious assassin. Yeah, sure, didn't see that coming.
So what was the point of it all? Fury is a bastard. He does some sneaky, underhanded, fucked up things, but does so because he believes what he's doing is right. He's doing it for our safety... or something. Millar likes to write assholes, he's good at crafting situations where people are bastards, and this is no exception. I'm not that big a fan of Fury, but then, I'm not a fan of anyone who takes who they are and what they do THAT seriously. Like the Jack Nicholson character in A Few Good Men, he's guy on the wall that you and I don't know exists. And he'll put a bullet in the head of an innocent person to keep the world ignorant of that wall. He's got absolute power, and you know where that goes... right to hell on the pavement of good intentions. (wow, that's a lot of cliches.)