Jessica Jones 4 (March 2017)

Jessica Jones #4

Someone’s killing capes. It’s good to see Bendis is as original as always. Besides an annoying talking heads sequence with Captain Marvel, this issue is probably the best one so far. Well, except the scene with Misty and Luke Cage talking about Jessica, that one was just cheap. I guess the last scene is okay. You know, wait–the more I think about the comic, the worse it seems.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Jessica Jones 3 (February 2017)

Jessica Jones #3

It’s another non-starter for Jones. No “case” either, which makes the promotional materials referring to each issue as a case more annoying. Lots of boring talking heads with occasional PG–13 curse words. Bendis’s big reveal is weak, the art is boring (not Gaydos’s fault though).

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Jessica Jones 2 (January 2017)

Jessica Jones #2

It’s an entertaining issue, with some rather good Gaydos artwork, but Bendis is covering a lot of the ground situation as revelations to cover up for the narrative failings. Jessica Jones doesn’t have its own tone. Alias: The Sequel it’s not, but it’s nothing else yet either.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Jessica Jones 1 (December 2016)

Jessica Jones #1

I loved Alias, I really did. I can’t even bring myself to read the trades again. I even have the hardcovers. Loved that comic. I didn’t realize Jessica Jones was going to be Bendis and Gaydos, I thought just Bendis. Jessica Jones is like a remake of Alias, only without the shock value, without the intrigue, with some superhero soap opera thrown in. Reading it, I had to remind myself the comic doesn’t do done-in-ones, so not to expect too much.

Overall, it’s better than expected, but Bendis is treating Jessica like the subject of the comic not the protagonist. He’s got cameos from Misty Knight and Jessica Drew and the latest crop of New York heroes. Because New York is back–Gaydos’s New York from the regular people’s perspective, that amazing thing he does with it. And it’s cool. It’d be better if Jessica were a stronger character, it’d be better if the mystery were actually engaging, it’d be better if it didn’t rely so heavily on Jessica’s post-Alias backstory. I can’t believe Bendis expects the reader to keep up with it all.

Will Jessica Jones get to Alias-levels of quality? Nope. Will it get better if Bendis has enough time to get through setting up his elaborately deceptive ground situation? Probably. It’ll have Gaydos art and the art is almost worth the price of admission alone.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1.50 (June 2014)

Daredevil #1.50

I'm really glad Mark Waid cares so much about Daredevil to craft the comic, and Matt Murdock, such a sweet story for the fiftieth anniversary of the character. It's a nice story. It's also completely pointless.

Waid tells a future story with Matt Murdock as former mayor of San Francisco (or something) and gives him a crisis to resolve–some mystery villain has made most of the city blind, including little Jack Murdock. Mom is a mystery but Foggy's around. He's probably supposed to be fifty too. He looks like a thirty year-old.

The story is slight and saccharine. Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez's art's decent, never anything more.

Then, to amplify the self-indulgence, Brian Michael Bendis does a text piece with Alex Maleev art. Comic book text pieces are real bad. Every time.

Finally, Karl Kesel and Tom Palmer do something goofy. It's bad, but they appear to enjoy themselves.

C 

CREDITS

The King in Red; writer, Mark Waid; penciller and colorist, Javier Rodriguez; inker, Alvaro Lopez. My name is Stana Morgan…; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth. The Last Will and Testament of Mike Murdock; writer and penciller, Karl Kesel; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Grace Allison. Letterer, Joe Caramagna, editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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.

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.

Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009)

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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 set in the present too.

Like I said before, he should stick to his strengths. Aunt May having a gun for protection, strength. Competent multi-layered plotting… oh, come now, Bendis can’t even competently plot when he’s not working in flashbacks.

Hopefully he’ll get the series moving forward again.

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 127 (December 2008)

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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 for French kissing. Peter should have asked if she ever French kissed Harry, but he doesn’t.

It’s a shame Bendis can’t sustain this book for any length of time anymore. He gets better, then he falls off. Even the Immonen art is padded with artificial panel breaks.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 126 (November 2008)

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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 versions of characters, those are Bendis’s strengths.

Notice I’m not talking much about the issue’s contents? Because nothing happens except a fight scene and the followup. The followup is Nick Fury talking to Peter and Iron Man asking questions.

Still good Immonen art though. Shame Bendis isn’t matching it.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 125 (October 2008)

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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 back, before Nick Fury disappears, but after Gwen died. I’m not reading it and remembering all the clues Bendis put into the series contemporaneously. Because he didn’t.

Even if Bendis didn’t forget he had to tie in to the game, it sure feels like it.

Pointless, but nice art.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch, Lauren Henry, Bill Rosemann and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 124 (September 2008)

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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 Mary Jane, talks to Nick Fury. Only for exposition though, because it’s all flashback and Bendis doesn’t take any time to texture it. Probably because he forced this arc.

There’s some really nice art from Immonen, particularly during the Firefly chase, but the whole thing’s off.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 123 (August 2008)

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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, Silver Sable is back again. Not one of Bendis’s better Ultimate creations. Not as annoying as last time, but only because Eddie’s narrating the thing.

I guess Bendis trying to making Eddie somewhat sympathetic, but he doesn’t at all. Not even with all the sad panels Immonen can muster.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 122 (July 2008)

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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 them, but Mary Jane disappears all of a sudden once Kitty takes over.

I guess Bendis is trying to do something different, with the sympathetic focus on the villain he’s been mocking for almost the entire series. It’s sort of successful, but not really. It just doesn’t work out.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 121 (June 2008)

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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 from Brian Michael Bendis. I didn’t even know he could do these things, certainly not with such grace. Maybe Immonen helped a lot (I do know Bendis can do them, I’m just being hyperbolic).

Great Bugle stuff too.

It’s another good issue of Ultimate.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 120 (May 2008)

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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 that one a lot–he used it last issue with Kenny–but he ever bothers having anyone acknowledge they used to bully Peter mercilessly or stood by while someone did.

It’s a big disconnect.

The X-Men get too much play, but otherwise it’s a fine issue. Problematic but fine.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 119 (April 2008)

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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 Peter’s part of the conversation and he heads to a cliffhanger with Magneto just after it becomes about Peter.

The title definitely appears to be changing–and for the better–but it’s hard to tell if Bendis is committed to this change or if he’s treating water again.

CREDITS

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

Ultimate Spider-Man 118 (March 2008)

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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. They’re these double page layouts of all the characters’ reactions (Peter freaking out, Kenny sulking). It’s beautiful stuff. Bendis really does excel.

And then there’s some nice superhero bonding time for Johnny, Peter and Bobby Drake. It segues into a nighttime beach campfire. Then a big surprise.

Truly excellent issue.

CREDITS

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

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