Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Spider-Man 6 (March 2010)

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Maybe Bendis and Marvel were trying to sell Ultimate Spider-Man to the Disney Channel with this series? There are like three boys, three girls… it’d be perfect…. right? I can’t see any other reason for the terrible decisions Bendis makes this issue.

Worst is when May meets with the principal and their previous meeting comes up. It was back when Stuart Immonen was on the book and he could draw emotion and conversation. As opposed to Lafuente, who makes it all look like less competent than an ad for Hostess Fruit Cakes.

The big reveal of the issue–in true Superman fashion–is Kitty Pryde’s new superhero identity. It’s worse because she disappears in Kitty style this issue and Peter doesn’t figure it out.

It’d be a shame what Bendis had done to the series, except it’s so bad one can’t even remember the good days after this issue.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part Six; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Sana Amanat, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Ultimate Spider-Man 5 (February 2010)

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I don’t get it. Ultimate Spider-Man was supposed to be a realistic, modern retelling of Spider-Man, right? Why has Bendis turned it into a really stupid cartoon? Not just stupid, but really stupid.

He’s reduced May to pleading with Peter for Bobby Drake to live with them, telling Peter “she needs to do this.” She needs to fill her house with refuse from canceled Ultimate books who don’t even get scenes in the comic.

Bendis has even lost his ability to do a fight scene. Lafuente doesn’t help with that one–the Mysterio fight, resolving the previous cliffhanger, is atrociously handled.

There’s nothing redeeming in this issue. Nothing whatsoever. Except maybe Kitty Pryde and only because Bendis actually gives her a real scene.

And Bendis goes overboard with the dialogue to hide his lack of content. Lafuente’s composition’s so bad he just enables Bendis.

It’s terrible, terrible stuff.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part Five; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Sana Amanat, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 4 (January 2010)

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Hang on, between Lafuente’s style and Peter’s incredibly feminine hair… is Ultimate Spider-Man supposed to be a manga now? I’m also thinking of the awful section where Peter, Johnny, Gwen and Aunt May sit in the kitchen and talk. May’s lines are goofy one-liners for emphasis. Oh, and Peter moves into the attic. Wasn’t that on “Amazing Friends” in the eighties?

There are some really lame things in the comic. It opens with Mary Jane getting attacked and the Robe superhero saving her. Lafuente’s action scenes are hideous. Page after page of bad action at the beginning–and then at the end too when Peter’s fighting the Hulk. It feels weird to call him Peter. Bendis doesn’t write him to same anymore.

New Peter.

But there’s a hint of the old goodness when Gwen, Mary Jane and New Peter talk for a little while. It’s not enough though.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Sana Amanat, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 3 (December 2009)

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I think I get it–Bendis is going for the worst superhero cartoon ever. Johnny Storm now lives with Aunt May. Why? Why not.

Peter and Mary Jane talk. Bendis makes Peter the jerk. Even though he doesn’t tell the reader why Mary Jane broke up with Peter–and even though the reader believes Peter didn’t start seeing Gwen right after the break up–the sympathy is with Mary Jane.

Knowing Bendis it’ll be something goofy like she was just too worried about him being Spider-Man and loved him too much and couldn’t be with him. Exactly why Peter broke up with her.

Between Bendis’s unsure writing and Lafuente’s artwork, the comic feels like someone aping the original Ultimate Spider-Man. Not the writer of the original by any stretch of the imagination–even Peter’s narration is off.

Bendis didn’t plan out his six month jump very well.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Sana Amanat, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 2 (November 2009)

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More with the mysteriousness–and, of course, Mysterio. Flash is back and he’s a bigger jerk than before. Kong and Kitty have broken up. Kong has a mohawk now. The way Kitty makes fun of Mary Jane for not having a boyfriend, how Bendis plays her for immediate sympathy, makes one wonder how long before she and Peter get back together.

Why have any faith in Bendis? He’s cheap.

The supervillain sequence is awful. Bendis read Kick Ass too, apparently. Only he has a mother and daughter villain team. It’s terrible, terrible stuff.

Peter complains constantly about being popular as Spider-Man now (post-Jonah’s obituary). It’s a bad move for the series too, since Bendis doesn’t have anything to do with it. Maybe if he were showing the changes instead of their aftereffects.

It’s still too soon to get a handle on what Bendis is going for, if anything.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Sana Amanat, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 1 (October 2009)

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Oh, well. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Bendis starts off the second volume of Ultimate Spider-Man flashing forward six months. Guess he watched “Veronica Mars” too, down to Veronica–sorry, sorry, Peter–dating Gwen Stacy now. Where’s Mary Jane? Well, she’s alive because she’s still on the high school’s news channel, but Bendis is making the reader wait on that one.

The actual story, not Bendis hiding stuff for effect, is Mysterio showing up and killing Kingpin. Bendis is trying to make Ultimate Mysterio a lot tougher than Kevin Smith left regular Marvel Mysterio. It’s interesting, I guess. Bendis never could make his villains work over long periods; killing them is a good idea.

Otherwise, there’s nothing to it because Bendis is doing the gimmick–he’s deceiving the reader instead of telling a story.

Also not getting why David Lafuente’s supposed to be so impressive. Not at all.

CREDITS

The New World According to Peter Parker, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 2 (September 2009)

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Eh. Dang it, Bendis.

He structures the whole thing around Jonah’s obituary for Spider-Man, flashing back to Spidey’s first meeting with the Hulk. Oddly enough, back when Peter ran into the Hulk at the end of the original series, he didn’t seem like he remembered this incident. Bendis rips off the school bus scene from Superman pretty well. It’s not the problem.

The problem is when Jonah’s article becomes the cake instead of the icing. The art is then a bunch of pin-ups, mostly by Bagley, which seems inappropriate given how much work Immonen’s done. Scott Hanna’s inks seem a little off on the flashback story too, like he forgot how to do Ultimate Spider-Man.

The finale, with Immonen, takes a couple pages. It’s predictable, without personality. If Immonen had more room, he might’ve been able to make it visually matter.

Bendis strikes again. He’s dreadfully uneven.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; pencillers, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, Trevor Hairsine, Ron Randall, Bill Sienkiewicz and John Totleben; inkers, Scott Hanna, Wade von Grawbadger, Danny Miki, Randall, Sienkiewicz and Totleben; colorists, Pete Pantazis and Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Mark Paniccia and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 1 (August 2009)

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And there Bendis goes again. He does a phenomenal issue, the kind making the bad stuff worth it. Well, some of the bad stuff. A lot of the bad stuff should just be skipped.

Jonah, Robbie and Ben Urich head back to the Bugle in devastated Manhattan and Jonah tries to figure out how to write his Spider-Man story. Very human art from Immonen; he toggles between disaster and character drama perfectly. It’s a shame Bendis never grew up and wrote a Bugle book.

Jonah reads about a time Spidey helped out Iron Man. Mark Bagley comes back for that retro story, which is cool. It’s still Bugle-centric (something Bendis never really let the regular series become) and, after seeming awkward, it turns out it’s the perfect fit. Outlandish and grounded at the same time, like the best of Ultimate Spider-Man.

Hope Bendis delivers for number two.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; pencillers, Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen; inkers, Scott Hanna and Wade von Grawbadger; colorists, Edgar Delgado, Pete Pantazis and Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 133 (June 2009)

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Did Spider-Man and the Hulk crossover a lot in their eighties cartoons? A few times, right? Because there must be some reason Bendis gives so much of this comic to the Hulk. Laziness is another possibility.

Bendis has the ending he wants to do and he’s got to fill the pages until he gets there.

Oh, there’s no talking. There wouldn’t be much anyway, except Kitty Pryde rejecting Jessica Drew. They do team up to save people. Kitty gets to be the star of the last scene (kind of), even though Bendis followed Jessica Drew around the whole issue.

It’s a bad last issue, if it’s supposed to be a last issue. It uses the idea of being a last issue as a gimmick, which shouldn’t be a surprise from Bendis.

Nice work from Immonen though. He approached Bendis’s malarky script with sincerity. Shame he was the only one.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics

Ultimate Spider-Man 132 (May 2009)

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So many pretty double-page spreads, so little story. Bendis has Nightmare–is that Dr. Strange’s villain’s name–torment Peter and the Hulk. There are like four pages wasted on the Hulk fighting off all these random people he killed. It’s not even his comic.

Worse, there’s seemingly endless pages with Peter fighting off his villains, flashing back to Amazing Fantasy #15 in one of Bendis’s neater moments, but… no actual content.

The only content is Kitty revealing to Mary Jane (and Gwen and Kong) she’s still in love with Peter. Right after Mary Jane decks her. Then Kitty leaves, presumably to join the crossover event in some other comic.

It’s an odd misfire, given it’s Spidey versus his rogues gallery. They don’t even talk–it’s like watching the action on mute. Bendis doesn’t give it any personality at all, given Peter’s narration is all fast-paced panic.

Bendis fumbles.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 131 (April 2009)

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It’s another okay enough issue for a tie-in. Sort of. Bendis again hints at much, much better things if he weren’t being so darn cute with the plotting.

He opens at the Bugle–or the Bugle’s emergency newsroom in New Jersey–and it’s a great scene. There’s some stuff with Ben Urich, then Jonah realizing he’s been a jackass about Spider-Man. It’s just a nice panic scene.

The scene between Jessica Drew and May should be a lot better. Bendis is trying too hard to keep his cards close to his chest. It’s sad their two pages of dialogue is the best May has had in quite a few issues.

As for the main storyline–Peter befriending the Hulk and trying to save people? It’s awesome. It’s slight and messy, but it’s still awesome.

Immonen’s art works rather well for the disaster aspect.

Shame it’s just crossover nonsense.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 130 (March 2009)

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It’s a fast-paced crossover mess of a comic book but it’s not terrible. Bendis gives May a couple good scenes–even though she’s sort of Gordon from Dark Knight Returns in how she’s saving people on the street.

There’s a nice moment for Kitty, a hint of a nice moment for Gwen and Mary Jane. What’s so unfortunate about this crossover hitting now is Bendis finally had his ducks in a row. He had all his characters set up for a nice, memorable run of issues–and Immonen had hit his stride with offsetting the teens against the superheroes too. The characters suffer the most from his elongated pacing; Bendis doesn’t respect his characters enough.

Peter gets nothing to do except swing around in a disaster movie and telepathically chat at Professor X. Serious tone or not… it reminds of goofy Marvel crossovers of the past.

It’s a shame.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 129 (February 2009)

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Oh, come on, Bendis… good grief.

So, Bendis finally gets around to giving Peter and Mary Jane an excellent circle of friends to hang out with–Kong, Kitty, Johnny, Gwen–and then it turns out the end is near because this issue is an Ultimatum tie-in. And there’s a great bit with Johnny crushing on Jessica Drew, who’s back in New York for whatever reason.

The issue’s upsetting because, as usual, it does show Bendis can write. Great scenes for Johnny, great ones for Peter and Mary Jane. The school principal freaking about Gwen isn’t so great, but it’s okay. Bendis doesn’t seem to know what to do with May since she’s found out Peter’s Spider-Man.

But where’s it going? Into a crossover event. No good ever comes out of a crossover event and Bendis always takes forever to right his course after the series gets upset.

Bummer.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 3 (December 2008)

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I’m not sure how I feel about David Lafuente’s art. He seems to let the colorist do a lot of the work when it comes to faces. Not sure I’m comfortable seeing that level of brevity from an artist in a Marvel comic.

Not sure at all.

Half the issue is Ultimate Mysterio, who kind of stinks. Bendis is just throwing him in here; there’s nothing to him yet and probably won’t be. He’s got a cloud for a head, which means no jokes from Peter about the fish bowl. Makes me sad.

The other half is Peter and Mary Jane angst. Are they or aren’t they ready for sex. They aren’t, it turns out, because they’re teenagers and Marvel wouldn’t want to be on the news for promoting premarital teenage sex. Sadly, that whole plot line feels like a MacGuffin.

But so does Mysterio. So double MacGuffin. So… what?

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.