Comics, Reviews

The Ambassadors #6 Review: Not the Avengers

Find out what happens when ordinary people are hand-picked to be the Earth's mightiest superheroes in Mark Millar's latest series finale from Image Comics.

The Ambassadors #6 Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesJun 16, 2024, 7:14 PM

The Ambassadors #6

The Ambassadors #6 Full Cover

Writer: Mark Millar

Artist: Matteo Scalera

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: June 6, 2023

Page Count: 28

Format: Comic

The Ambassadors joins Mark Millar's signature line of comics that depict a darker and more violent side to superheroes.

If you jump into comic book circles and open up a discussion about Mark Millar and his body of work, then you’ll most likely find some polarizing responses. Without a doubt, Millar has been one of the biggest names in comics for over three decades because of his inventive works like Kick-Ass, Superman: Red Son, and The Ultimates. But throughout his career, he’s developed a reputation for relying too heavily on shock value to make his stories feel more impactful. Just read a few Millarworld titles, and you’ll see that he loves to sprinkle in just a little bit of ultraviolence when he can.

With titles that span in and out of the Big Two, Mark Millar has made a career out of telling superhero stories with a darker edge. Whether you love his work or not, you can’t deny that he has a flair for subverting the ethos of superheroes. In his new series called “The Ambassadors” from Image Comics, Millar continues his trend of pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a superhero.

With that, let’s jump into my review of “The Ambassadors” #6.

The Ambassadors #6 KoreaImage: Image Comics

Who are The Ambassadors?

The Ambassadors is a group of superheroes assembled by super-genius billionaire Choon-He. She devised how to effectively give people superpowers after extensive research and development with near-limitless funding. Her goal is to handpick six of the most altruistic people on Earth to represent their country and the superhero rescue team.

Throughout the series, Choon-He recruits representatives from India, France, Brazil, Australia, and Mexico. The team utilizes a high-tech system that allows them to “download” three superpowers at a time from a memory bank. They can fly, run at light speed, grow to the size of skyscrapers, control gravity, and do many more with a push of a button. Together, they travel the world to save people from life-threatening crises.

But while Choon-He was busy putting together The Ambassadors, her ex-husband and former business partner Jin-Sung had more nefarious plans. Using stolen research, Jin-Sung assembled an army of superpowered murderers comprised of the richest people on earth. While Choon-He strives to use her knowledge for good, Jin-Sung wants to keep the richest of the rich right under his thumb.

The Ambassadors saving the dayImage: Image Comics

A Different Kind of Superhero

One of the defining aspects of “The Ambassadors” is its story structure. Because the premise revolves around finding six individuals who deserve to be superheroes, each issue thus far explored the origin stories of the different Ambassadors. But the concept goes even further than that. For the comic’s six issues, Mark Millar brought in six incredible artists to help shape the stories of each of the different Ambassadors. With a lineup that included Frank Quietly, Karl Kerschl, Travis Charest, Olivier Coipel, Matteo Buffagni, and Matteo Scalera, the series delivered on making each of the would-be superheroes feel distinct from one another. Except things fall apart when the story hits its big finale.

Codename Mexico was built up as the final member of The Ambassadors for readers to meet. But by the end of issue #6, it feels like we still haven’t gotten a proper introduction to the character. That’s because the final issue is more concerned about delivering a climactic battle, just like how superhero stories “should” end. Having the superheroes duke it out against an army of superpowered killers leaves little time to explore who Mexico is beyond some details, like how he used to work at a supermarket. Considering the Ambassadors were supposedly picked based on their altruism, not getting a glimpse of who Mexico is is disappointing and inconsistent with the rest of the story. It’s ironic how a story that subverts the concept of representation ends by underrepresenting one of its lead characters.

Something worth noting is how the comic confirmed this is only the beginning of the international team of superheroes. Which makes the big finale of this volume feel all the more rushed. Having the story devolve into standard superhero fare felt like another reason for Millar to go into his old bag of tricks and spike up the violence at the end. While the big battle succeeded in delivering shocking moments, the way it concludes leaves little to be excited for what comes next. Instead of feeling hyped about the possibilities of the future, I feel like I’ll just passively wait and see what happens next.

The Ambassadors get attackedImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts

For better and for worse, “The Ambassadors” has all the signatures of a Mark Millar comic book. The concept of the title is creative and intriguing, but the character and story development falls flat by the end. It feels like another case of prioritizing shock over storytelling. However, showcasing a different artist for each issue was an ambitious endeavor that elevated the story beyond being a stylistic gimmick. If anything else, Mark Millar is consistent in his willingness to explore new ways of telling a story within the pages of a comic book.

Why You Should Read The Ambassadors

  • There are interesting characters throughout the series 
  • The shifting artist per issue made the series feel distinct 
  • It’s refreshing to see more nationalities represented in comics
TAGGED: Image Comics, Reviews