Ultimate Spider-Man 6 (March 2010)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 6 (March 2010)

Ultimate Spider-Man 5 (February 2010)

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. … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 5 (February 2010)

Ultimate Spider-Man 4 (January 2010)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 4 (January 2010)

Ultimate Spider-Man 3 (December 2009)

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. … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 3 (December 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 2 (November 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 2 (November 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 1 (October 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 1 (October 2009)

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 2 (September 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 2 (September 2009)

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 1 (August 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 1 (August 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 133 (June 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 133 (June 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 132 (May 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 132 (May 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 131 (April 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 131 (April 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 130 (March 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 130 (March 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 129 (February 2009)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 129 (February 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 3 (December 2008)

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 … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 3 (December 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009)

It’s funny how Immonen isn’t very good at fight scenes. It’s like he gets bored with them too fast. Venom versus Carnage, Super Venom, boring. Aunt May pulling a gun on Eddie Brock–awesome. This issue finishes Bendis bringing Gwen Stacy back to life. Hopefully. She’s fine at the end of the issue, following an entirely unrealistic scene where Tony Stark is able to talk down Director Danvers. Bendis also returns to Eddie on the park bench. Turns out it was in the future, kind of. Or the present of this issue, which doesn’t work with how the previous issue was … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man 127 (December 2008)

Oh, come on, Bendis. If you can’t plot a full arc–even when you’re doing a bad one like this arc–don’t do a pad issue, just cut the number of issues down a little. Here’s what happens this issue. Eddie threatens Peter in the present. He wants the suit back–now, let’s not forget Bendis opened this arc with Eddie having the suit and then got confused in his flashbacks. Peter tries to find Eddie and can’t. Gwen comes to see Peter because she’s got the Carnage face stuck on her body. There’s the comic. Oh, and apparently Mary Jane isn’t reading … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 127 (December 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 126 (November 2008)

Why is Bendis making this story arc so confusing? It’s giving me a little headache. So this issue ends with the Ultimates having the suit and Eddie Brock in the wind. It seems like Bendis has gotten to the present action of the the comic again. But he hasn’t, not unless he forgot about Eddie in the park eating people and telling the story in flashback. We’re still in Eddie’s flashback and Bendis seems to have forgotten. The guy really should play to his strengths and complicated multi-layered narratives are not his strengths. Good scenes, fun dialogue, occasionally inventive Ultimate … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 126 (November 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 125 (October 2008)

I’ll bet the flying guy is Ben Reilly. Maybe. It’d make sense, at least in Ultimate Spider-Man. Still not getting why Bendis thought he had a story here. Is it an adaptation of the video game or something else? I know the game’s in continuity so is it a sequel? An aside? Does it matter? No, it doesn’t, because Bendis never made Peter getting reattached to the black costume a thing when it obviously should have been a thing. The whole approach can be filed under “dangers of complicated flashbacks”. It takes place better Kitty, which means before Harry came … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 125 (October 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 124 (September 2008)

Wait a second, is the the arc Bendis wrote to tie into the “Ultimate Spider-Man” video game? I thought he delayed it for years and years and then finally did it. He should have waited longer. So, Eddie Brock is gone as a narrator now, which makes no sense. Eddie’s narration last issue was the present and this issue Bendis is kicking around two flashbacks. First with the Rhino and then Firefly? Or some guy in a Firefly-like suit; he doesn’t have a name yet. In between fights, Peter–because he’s all of a sudden the lead with no transition–talks to … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 124 (September 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 123 (August 2008)

Oh, no, Bendis is going off the rails again. I thought last issue was a fluke, but now it’s a definite thing. This whole issue is Eddie Brock sitting at a park bench, telling people his story, then eating them. Bendis is demure about the eating thing until the last panel. Immonen does really good with the art, which makes me think maybe Bendis knew he could branch out more with him on the book but it’s a mistake. It removes Peter from being the center of the book and then you’ve just got Ultimate Spider-Man without its star. Worse, … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 123 (August 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 122 (July 2008)

Bendis is really building up the Roxxon thing. Just on and on with Roxxon. I’m getting kind of sick of it. It’s his new Green Goblin. Well, maybe not, but kind of close. It’s way too convenient to have this evil company out there. Bendis is a writer who gets lazy easy and it’s just another crutch. Worse, he misses the best parts of this issue. The Shocker kidnaps Spider-Man and tortures him. Bendis sticks with the sad Shocker story and not with Mary Jane and Kitty teaming up to save Peter. Oh, he does get some scenes in with … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 122 (July 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 121 (June 2008)

Except for the panel where Immonen draws Peter with so much of a girl face I thought Mary Jane and Kitty were friends–speaking of… I think Immonen even puts Peter in a Hello Kitty t-shirt–it’s a good issue. There’s some great comedy stuff with Flash protesting (without anyone accusing) he isn’t Spider-Man, then a joyous finale for Kitty getting a good grade. Bendis structures it in flashback. Kitty and Peter’s “take home a baby doll for a while” assignment is due and Peter messed it up. The flashbacks reveal how things all went wrong. In other words, it’s a done-in-one … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 121 (June 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 120 (May 2008)

So the Blob is Liz Allen’s dad. There, I spoiled it for you. Now you won’t have Bendis’s sensational tacked on last page about it. Just a terrible, terrible page. But the rest of the comic is all right. He has a couple false endings, which are definitely annoying, but the whole “mutant hater” Liz turning out to be mutant story does work pretty well. Not sure why Bendis couldn’t have given Kenny and Kitty a page or two though. And there’s also the whole bit with Peter and Liz talking about how they’ve known each other forever. Bendis uses … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 120 (May 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 119 (April 2008)

I don’t think I’d ever realized how big Immonen makes Spider-Man’s eyes. It’s kind of annoying. Especially since this issue is a couple big talking heads scenes amid some superhero chase action. I guess no one wanted to bother with an Ultimate Angelica Jones so Bendis just turned Liz into Firestar. It’s a good issue–great moment with Kenny revealing he knows Peter’s secret identity; actually, Bendis doesn’t have a chance to really let that one sink in. Hopefully it’ll have a nice echo later. The stuff with Bobby Drake and Liz Allen is really good. Bendis takes too long establishing … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 119 (April 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 118 (March 2008)

Seriously, Kenny can’t get a kiss? He gets a hand squeeze from Kitty, but no kiss. Kid deserves some smooching. As I hoped, being rid of the Osborns has done nothing but help Bendis refocus his efforts. He opens the issue with one page internal monologues from Peter, Mary Jane, Kitty, Liz, Kenny and Johnny Storm (not sure if he’s setting up the new cast or just this arc). Lovely art from Immonen on these pages. He’s really working out. But then Bendis kicks off this entire high school drama thing with Ice Man showing up to talk to Kitty. … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 118 (March 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 117 (February 2008)

Wow. Bendis does half one of his big action issues with Norman going after Harry and there being a big Goblin battle. Peter and SHIELD are there too, with Peter jumping in and out of the action. There’s enough time for him to have a decent moment with Harry too. But then the issue changes it up. The last four or five pages deal with fallout Bendis has been building since the first arc of the series. It’s strange Bagley didn’t stick around to finish it, but maybe they saw it as a way to establish Immonen as the artist … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 117 (February 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 116 (January 2008)

Bendis continues his streak–two issues in a row at least–and Immonen is really settling in. There’s a lot of double page action spreads, lots of panels, with Kitty saving Peter from a fall with Norman. That sequence opens the issue and it’s fantastic. Even Bendis seems to get Kitty and Peter make a good superhero pair; shame he had to put them through dating. I suppose it does add some texture to their relationship, but not enough for it to matter. He also clarifies some things about Kong, which is nice. The big surprise is how Bendis handles Norman at … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 116 (January 2008)

Ultimate Spider-Man 115 (December 2007)

Peter’s not very smart this issue. I figured out mean old Ultimate Carol Danvers was using him as bait in the first scene. He needed for Kitty to rescue him and for Danvers to explain it all. Still, good enough issue. Kitty and Peter make a far more amusing superhero partners than they ever did a couple. Danvers is one note, but Bendis gets to write a bunch of good Peter explaining himself to adults dialogue, which always goes over well. The stuff with Norman terrorizing people isn’t bad either. No thought balloons for Norman on it either–another plus–and Immonen … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 115 (December 2007)

Ultimate Spider-Man 114 (November 2007)

As usual, Bendis redeems himself an issue later. He sticks to Peter–Norman doesn’t even get a live appearance; the villain turns out to be Electro (who seems real powerful in his Ultimate version). Sticking to Peter works wonders, as he gets to interact with both Mary Jane and May. Immonen is a slick artist, but I really do like how he handles Mary Jane’s panic attack. He lets himself get loose to show her utter terror. Then there’s the suburban scene with her mom, which works quite well too. The stuff with Aunt May’s good, but her man is way … Continue reading Ultimate Spider-Man 114 (November 2007)