Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 2 (September 2009)

175784 20090729185629 large

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)

172596 20100903173410 large

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 111 (September 2007)

810157

I think this issue has to be one of Bendis’s greatest successes with the series so far. It’s Peter and Aunt May talking about him being Spider-Man–is Bendis the first writer to ever do this scene?–and it’s absolutely perfect.

He opens–with Mark Bagley pencilling his final issue–and goes through Peter and May talking about the origin and all the villains. Hennessy’s inks and Justin Ponsor’s colors make the whole thing seem very Americana. Ultimate Spider-Man as Norman Rockwell.

Then, when Stuart Immonen takes over for Peter telling May about his adventure of the day, Bendis has May asking all these questions about the logic of it. It becomes Peter (and Bendis) explaining the lack of reality in comic books. It’s a great move.

Bendis had to tell this one just right for the series to work (it’s been building 110 issues).

And he does.

CREDITS

The Talk; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; pencillers, Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Bill Rosemann and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 110 (August 2007)

342721

I’m kind of hoping Bendis realizes he can’t keep bringing Kingpin back. This issue “resolves” Ultimate Kingpin, but also features Spider-Man threatening to tattle on Kingpin to Nick Fury.

It raises a big question. Why the heck hasn’t he done so already? If it’s such a big threat, why’s Peter protecting Wilson Fisk from Nick Fury’s wrath? Possibly because Bendis can’t write that story… it’s too much of an empty threat.

It’s not a bad issue though. There’s a big fight scene with Iron Fist and the other Ultimate Knights, then there’s Daredevil threatening to kill Kingpin’s wife (which would have been awesome… but Bendis chickened out) and then the big resolution. It requires a character surviving a gunshot wound to the head, but as long as it gets rid of Kingpin… maybe it’s worth it.

The Bendis tries a final page he just shouldn’t have….

Otherwise, not bad.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Conclusion; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 109 (July 2007)

342720

It’s a little better than I expected. Bendis does the “grownup” thing again with Daredevil; only he and Dr. Strange kind of bumble through the issue. Strange is particularly unimpressive. Bendis ideas for Ultimate versions are too often to make the characters callous and occasionally dimwitted.

The Kingpin versus Peter stuff isn’t terrible. It’s just more appropriate for a crime comic. Is he going to turn Ultimate Spider-Man into a gritty crime comic? Probably not… definitely not with Bagley, but he winks at it.

What else happens… Moon Knight gets busted and disappears. At least Bendis didn’t waste half the issue with his multiple personalities. Instead it appears the issue is the big kick off for Kingpin versus Daredevil.

Shame it’s not Daredevil’s comic.

I don’t think Peter even speaks until there are only six pages left.

The issue is a misstep, not a mistake. I still have hope.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 108 (July 2007)

329259

And here’s a Bendis misstep. Most of the issue’s spent in Moon Knight’s head–there’s nothing about Iron Fist selling out, because Bendis has found a way to make Moon Knight bad.

Ultimate Ronin is a new personality of Ultimate Moon Knight–a bad guy. He beats up Kitty, he kidnaps Peter.

Problems abound. First, Mary Jane is now the seventies–as in, television–Lois Lane. She does a story about Flash (set two weeks after his attack) when Bendis already jumped further ahead than two weeks for the TV movie joke.

Maybe continuity reset a little after issue one hundred.

There’s a lot of avoiding. Kitty and Mary Jane almost have a scene, then Bendis avoids it. Aunt May never gets a mention, Iron Fist never gets a mention.

He’s dragging things out, which doesn’t necessarily mean things are back to falling apart, but it’s not a good sign.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 107 (May 2007)

329258

Wow, Ultimate Iron Fist isn’t going to get his own series if he’s buddying up to Kingpin. Jeez.

Bendis splits the issue, mostly, between Peter and Kitty having a breakup conversation–actually, a post-breakup conversation–and Spider-Man talking Daredevil down from the idea of killing Kingpin. Maybe for the first time ever, Ultimate Daredevil works as a character. Because it’s interesting to see him brought down, intellectually, by Peter.

The scene with Kitty is good too. Bendis’s reasoning for her being at Midtown is idiotically contrived, but even he seems to know it. And having Ultimate Jessica Jones show up is kind of funny.

There are a few more scenes–Kitty in class, Mary Jane and Peter, Peter at the hospital–and Bendis is on for each of them. It’s still a little too soon to say, but he definitely seems engaged in the series again.

It’s good.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 106 (May 2007)

329257

Lots happens this issue. I guess crossing the hundred issue mark, Bendis has decided he needs lots of guest stars. Hulk for a panel, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four… Peter’s entering into the much bigger Ultimate Universe. Only about a ninety-eight issues later than the original did into the Marvel Universe.

Anyway.

It’s an okay issue. Bendis is very comfortable having Mary Jane back and without an agenda. He seems to have but Kitty Pryde into that awkward role–I can’t wait for the contrived reason she’s going to Midtown High. And Matt Murdock showing up at the school a few minutes earlier is lame too. There’s got to be a better way to bring him in to talk to Peter.

But the scenes at the Bugle and the one with Aunt May make up for the problems. The Fantastic Four scene is great too.

The series feels surprisingly rejuvenated.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 105 (April 2007)

313980

And there we have it. A somewhat new ground situation–Aunt May knows Peter’s Spider-Man, he’s living with Mary Jane, Kitty Pryde is mad–not much else though.

There’s nothing on Doc Ock, there’s nothing on the U.S. government hiring bad guys to genetically engineer clones and kill teenagers, there’s nothing on… something else, I’m sure. I sort of forgot.

Oh, Nick Fury’s a big sweetheart it turns out. He’s not tough enough to use Captain America and Iron Man on the bad FBI guys, only threaten the Fantastic Four with them. But he’s a pushover and a stooge now.

The Jessica Drew thing is mildly interesting. Bendis seems to realize she’s the best character to come out of this arc, just because it’s very strange and he has good observations with her.

Still, it’s unfortunate Bendis had to write so many bad comics for so little change.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Epilogue; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 104 (March 2007)

313979

Good thing the X-Men don’t have a fast jet because they might get there in time to see Peter and Mary Jane get their romance back on. I really hope Bendis comes up with some better result to this lame arc than them reuniting.

There’s still Aunt May, there’s still an evil U.S. government out to get Nick Fury, there’s still Richard Parker.

Wait, no, there isn’t. Because Bendis wraps that one up nice and clean. Had he made it dirty and told the issue around it, he would have had a great comic. A singular one. Had he been willing to commit to the sensationalism for more than four issues, however, he would have put Ultimate Spider-Man somewhere entirely new.

Instead, he promises a return to the norm. With some changes, but definitely a return to the norm.

It’s unfortunate; Bendis never lets the comic grow.

D 

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Eight; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, Drew Hennessy and Matt Ryan; colorist, Andy Troy; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 103 (February 2007)

313978

Yep, Bendis turns out rather predictable. Especially with Richard Parker.

The stuff with the X-Men is lame too, especially since they have a teleporting guy and a really fast plane. Instead, Bendis just does it to show he’s not entirely contriving this story, which is a complete cop out.

Speaking of cop outs, he also turns Nick Fury into an absolute stooge. As in Larry, Moe or Curly. In the span of a few issues, he’s turned Aunt May into a heinous bitch and Nick Fury into a buffoon.

I get a lot of what he’s trying to do and why–one can see Bendis is pushing the series to a new situation–but he’s forcing it every step of the way. Especially since he never establishes a good timeline for the events he tells in flashback.

It’s probably worse than the nineties “The Clone Saga.” It’s painfully goofy.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Seven; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 102 (January 2007)

302515

Very confused as to what Bendis is doing with this arc.

The big reveal has to be the Spider-Woman isn’t a Mary Jane clone but a Peter Parker clone made female. There’s also this implication Richard Parker is just an illusion or a clone too. I suppose Bendis is keeping that revelation for this arc’s finale, to reunite Peter and Aunt May.

There’s another big problem–at the beginning when the Fantastic Four faces off against Fury, they seem a little alone. One would imagine someone else would speak up against Fury executing a teenager, some other superhero (where’s Dr. Strange when they need him), but maybe not. I can’t imagine Thor’d be okay with it.

All of a sudden, the Ultimate Universe feels way too small. Bendis is trying to manage things, but then kicks off his weird Peter Parker clones business.

It’s goofy and trite and disappointing.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Six; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 101 (December 2006)

302514

Thank goodness Hennessy takes over as the only inker. He does a good job with it. Not sure what was going on when he was splitting the duties with Dell.

There’s a lot of implications this issue. The Fantastic Four comes in to save Peter from Fury, who’s been planning on killing him (and his clones) for a while now. Thus, one can guess Fury’s known about the clones for a while.

It’s unclear what’s going on with Mary Jane, Richard Parker and Gwen Stacy. But Carnage apparently infected Gwen or vice versa. Not much of it matters because Bendis is able to sell the issue on anger. Peter’s anger, the Fantastic Four’s anger. Maybe a little on Fury’s regret.

It reads way too fast, of course. Bendis is cashing in a lot of long term hints and so on and it sort of begins to pay off.

Well, maybe.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Five; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 100 (November 2006)

Skitched 20130714 064724

Eh.

So Gwen Stacy is Carnage. Yippee.

And Aunt May is pretty nasty. Bendis doesn’t redeem her much, even if she has been through a lot apparently. She hasn’t been lying to Peter his whole life, just the last few years.

It’s an interesting thing, making Aunt May unlikable. Has anyone else tried that gimmick before? Bendis gives her a heart attack at the end though, so she’ll eventually be forgiven.

And Peter Parker’s dad is an awful character. Not a bad guy, but a simpleton. Not at all believable as a genius. Bendis tries to insert this genetic engineering cold war between the CIA and SHIELD into the series and it’s just silly.

The art is so haphazard I thought they were using different pencillers. Dell goes overboard on Bagley, Drew Hennessy goes under. The result’s incredibly disjointed

Poor Spider-Man doesn’t even appear in his hundredth issue.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 99 (October 2006)

282745

I’m not sure Bendis actually does good writing this issue but he sure does go out on a high point. He establishes Aunt May as a super villain. She’s been lying to Peter his whole life. She’s a bad guy.

Wow.

Bendis will never stick with it. It’s too much.

There’s some good stuff with Peter and the Gwen clone. The stuff with Aunt May kind of ruins it, since Bendis has this big confession scene from Peter and there’s absolutely no payoff for it.

It’s sort of a catch–22. If he backs out of these revelations, he’s being cheap. If he doesn’t stick with them, he’s being cheap. Bendis has become so disingenuous with the series, it’s hard to “trust” him not to be as sensational as possible.

The Gwen stuff almost makes up for it. There’s decent “move the story along” scenes with the Fantastic Four too.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 98 (October 2006)

282744

Bendis should have done more with the Fantastic Four this issue. They’re really funny. The stuff with Peter calling himself “baby” in his internal monologue? Makes me hope he’s a clone not the regular character but I think it’s more just Bendis laziness.

There’s another big fight scene this issue; Peter fights some black costumed redhead with spider powers who doesn’t identify herself. It’s a bad fight scene. Then Gwen comes back and she’s confused. Then there’s another Peter clone, apparently.

Maybe it’s Eddie Brock. Not sure how much I care, as it’s clear Bendis doesn’t care.

I’m trying to think of what else goes on this issue. A great cameo from Nick Fury? A strange scene between Peter and Mary Jane’ mom; I don’t think she’s shown up before this arc. At least not enough for her to be memorable.

Bendis has lost his focus on Peter in Ultimate.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 97 (September 2006)

281626

Okay, great, John Dell has help from John Sibal and together they don’t ink Bagley well. I couldn’t even tell the guy in the Scorpion outfit was a Peter Parker clone. He just looked way too bland.

Otherwise, the issue’s okay. Bendis is doing his rushing thing to get rid of Kitty Pryde, just like he rushed breaking up Mary Jane and Peter. Contriving stuff for the villains is fine, but now he’s contriving the regular cast’s arcs and it’s getting painful at times.

For instance, why is Mary Jane so buddy buddy with Peter all of a sudden. Bendis even accelerates it more this issue.

And Peter’s callousness when it comes to Kitty is a surprise. He never acted callous before with Mary Jane, so what’s the point of this new romance? Sales bump from crossovers?

Oddly, the lengthy, meticulous action sequence is the best thing in the comic.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and John Sibal; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 96 (August 2006)

281625

First off my apologizes to Jimmy Palmiotti… his inks weren’t screwing up Bagley’s pencils last issue. This issue makes it clear John Dell–who is solo, so no confusion–really shouldn’t be inking Bagley or Ultimate Spider-Man. He ruins the tone at times.

The issue concludes the Morbius adventure, but it’s pretty slight. Ben Urich is in danger of becoming a vampire, Peter tries to save him, running into good guy vampire Morbius. Lots of fight scenes, lots of vampire nonsense.

Bendis can’t sell the vampire nonsense and he tries really hard. It becomes desperate at some point. And Bagley–regardless of an inker–does a terrible job on Morbius. One shouldn’t want to snicker whenever a guest star appears on page.

The incident gives Bendis an opportunity to develop Peter and Mary Jane’s new relationship, which is a good thing… though he skips explaining her change of heart.

CREDITS

Morbius, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 95 (July 2006)

281624

I’m sure Bendis and Jimmy Palmiotti are buddies but come on… no one could think Palmiotti is a good inker for Bagley. I thought Dell was weak, but Palmiotti is something else. You have these pleasant Bagley high school panels and Palmiotti makes them dreary. And the hands… don’t get me started on the hands.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty darn good issue. Peter has a friend fight with Mary Jane, he talks to Kitty on the phone (with Storm offering hilarious audio commentary) and works at the Bugle. Bendis writes the Bugle stuff rather well, it’s too bad he doesn’t use it more.

But this arc is the Morbius one and dang if he doesn’t go for disturbing. The vampires aren’t cute, they’re evil and scary. For the first time–maybe ever–I was worried about Peter’s safety. It’s bad stuff going on.

Maybe I wrote off Bendis’s ambitions early.

CREDITS

Morbius, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 94 (July 2006)

281623

So the whole story with the island and the X-Men and Ultimate Deadpool is just to set up a payoff of Aunt May having a boyfriend and spending the night with him?

This issue’s got some good moments. Bendis doesn’t use the TV narrative device too much (of course, when he does, it’s awful). He even writes a really good action sequence for Kitty when she needs to kick some butt.

But, who cares? Four issues and two things get established. Peter and Kitty aren’t breaking up, which she worried about in the first issue, and Aunt May has a gentleman friend. Seems like the perfect kind of thing Bendis could have juxtaposed in a single issue or maybe a good two parter.

Instead, Bendis went for sensationalism, aiming about as high as an episode of “Knight Rider”. I said before he’s running on empty; this issue confirms it.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Mark Morales; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 93 (June 2006)

281622

You know what isn’t a television show–specifically a reality television show? A comic book. Someone should have told Bendis because then I would have been saved this useless comic.

Deadpool and some bad guys are hunting the X-Men (and Peter) on this island and it’s all for TV. So Bendis is cutting between the host, the bad guys, the hidden cameras, with Bagley doing all double page layouts with little TV-sized boxes.

It’s probably the most writing, in terms of dialogue, Bendis has done in years on this comic. But it’s mostly crappy, because his approach is crappy. He can’t emulate the pacing and he has trouble getting in for character scenes; even his sincere stuff comes off plastic.

Oddly, not even the X-Men are the leads this issue–they’re barely in it. The TV host gets the spotlight.

It’s a complete misfire of a comic.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Danny Miki; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 92 (May 2006)

270272

Did Ditko start the thing where Spidey squints and his eyes change size? They overdo it today (and have since the late eighties) but there’s a little of it here and it works. He works rather well as a guest star. Bendis has a lot of fun writing Peter play off other superheroes.

And by guest star, I mean Bendis has basically given this issue to the Ultimate X-Men and allowed Spidey to guest. I suppose there are a couple things making it more his issue, but no… he’s guesting in his own comic.

It’s a mildly entertaining comic too. He’s on this island, fighting bad cyborg guys, running into X-Men. So for every new bad guy, there are more good guys to fight them. Dumb fun.

It’s like a video game, actually. Maybe Bendis originally wrote it for one.

Bendis’s ambition for the series, however, is kaput.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Mark McKenna; colorists, Laura Martin and Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 91 (May 2006)

270271

Bendis writes first person exposition rounded rectangles–there’s just no good description for them like word balloons–for Kitty Pryde. She’s Peter’s girlfriend, after all, and she guest stars in about half the issue. Probably more.

Oh, wait, Bendis never wrote those rectangles for Mary Jane. It’s a good issue and all, though the front is a lot better than the back, which has nothing of interest except maybe May going on a date, but it reveals something about Bendis as a writer.

He was always using Mary Jane as an unknowable side character, ever ready to use her for plot twists. Kitty, on the other hand, is an honest to goodness knowable side character. It makes her immediately more likable. I had to force myself to remember Mary Jane is part of the book.

And Peter having a superhero team-up? Awesome.

I didn’t even mind Dell’s inks here.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 90 (April 2006)

270270

Dell’s back on inks. There aren’t as many close ups so it doesn’t get too bad, but it’s not great. The faces are too sharp.

It’s mostly an action issue, with cuts to Nick Fury and Tony Stark talking in exposition to explain the comic to the reader.

Ultimate Vulture is a waste of time, just a way for Bendis to introduce Ultimate Tinkerer, who’s probably a waste of time too.

Silver Sable’s team isn’t in it as much, which is both good and bad. Good because Bendis wrote them so poorly, but bad because it means he’s got no dedication to making his plot flow. He jumps from character to character, only briefly pausing on Peter (who’s in the middle of it all).

Actually, it reads more like Peter’s guest starring in The Ultimates than leading his own title.

It’s not terrible, just not any good. Bendis’s struggling again.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Five; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Posner; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 89 (March 2006)

270269

And then Bendis gets around to introducing an Ultimate villain who I guess hasn’t had an Ultimate version yet. Even though I assumed he had one long ago. In Ultimate Six maybe?

But before he gets to that reveal–which is the hard cliffhanger–Bendis gets cute. He has these storybook retellings of the issue’s main characters, starting with Silver Sable. He doesn’t explain why he writes her sidekicks’ dialogue like it’s a PG-rated Tarantino knockoff though.

And none of the revelations make her a better character.

The Roxxon guy gets a flashback too, which is a page burner. Bendis is either trying to get to the big reveal or he realized he needed something mildly interesting to finally happen this arc.

The good Peter Parker moments don’t really make up for the rest, but Hanna’s back; the action’s reasonably good.

It’s a weak issue in a tepid arc.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 88 (February 2006)

270268

I think John Dell took over inking. It has his name on the cover but not the interior credits, but the art looks totally different. There’s a long scene with May ranting about how much she hates Spider-Man (weak scene for her) and she looks totally different.

As for the rest of the story, the end’s a little funny–once again, Peter only gets in trouble because he’s irrationally dumb; he’s supposed to be a genius, yet he falls for an obvious trick. But before he gets in trouble, it’s funny.

Silver Sable is still a terrible character.

Kitty, however, is getting more amusing. She’s a knowing confidant for Peter, a sympathetic ear with experience. Bendis only has her in the issue for a bit, but she’s definitely starting to feel like a regular cast member.

It’s on the low end of okay.

Terrible, trite and ugly Ultimate Vision.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part Five of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 87 (February 2006)

270267

The Flash Thompson thing is a somewhat funny distraction–Silver Sable kidnapped him instead of Peter–but it doesn’t make up for Ultimate Silver Sable being the worst villain in this comic since Geldof or whatever. Bendis tries real hard on her and her sidekicks too, which makes his failure more obvious.

But this issue also has Peter dating Kitty Pryde and being utterly insensitive to Mary Jane. As she was utterly insensitive to him quite a bit, it should read like just desserts but it doesn’t. Bendis never gave them closure. I’m hoping it’s intentional and not Bendis forgetting about something else.

Kitty’s a vaguely fun addition to the cast, but she doesn’t seem to have any depth. I was hoping she’d meet May but no luck there.

The Ultimate Vision backup is a short, boring galactic history lesson. Whoever decided to make her visually female is a moron.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part Four of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 86 (January 2006)

270266

Maybe not everything should get an Ultimate version.

For example, Bendis opens the issue with Ultimate Damage Control. Does there need to be an Ultimate Damage Control… probably not. But Bendis uses it for exposition and to frame his flashback. It’s okay enough.

Except the arc’s not about them, it’s about Ultimate Silver Sable, who’s apparently a corporate espionage person. Does she need an Ultimate version? Hard to say, but definitely not the way Bendis writes this issue.

She has all these morons working for her (the Wild Pack, I think) and Bendis is clearly enjoying writing their dialogue… but it’s all for a useless comic. He’s impressing himself again, which never goes well for the series.

The twist at the end, which should be played for laughs, ends up being vicious. The arc’s a misfire so far.

And the Ultimate Vision backup? Pointless but inoffensive writing; truly hideous art.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part One of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 85 (January 2006)

270265

Good issue. Finally. The last few have been trying.

Bendis still has his pacing problems, but at least the comic’s amusing. The scene where Black Cat meets Peter Parker had me laughing out loud, even if Bagley and Hanna’s art for it is weak.

The resolution to the big gang fight works well too, though it’s unclear why Bendis brought in so many new characters for it. None of them get a resolution, which makes the time Bendis spent on them earlier even more pointless.

And the soft cliffhangers are good. There are a couple, one for the Kingpin–Bendis really didn’t use him enough this arc as it turns out–and one for Peter. The Peter one just shows Aunt May should probably get half the comic to herself.

She’s definitely more interesting than Ultimate Moon Knight.

Bendis’s finish makes up for the arc’s weaker issues. Well, pretty much.

CREDITS

Warriors, Part Seven; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 84 (December 2005)

270264

Wow, the pacing’s actually worse with this issue. Frighteningly, it’s not even Bendis worst pacing on Ultimate Spider-Man.

The issue opens with a fight scene. There are maybe ten recognizable characters and then Hammerhead’s thugs. Bagley can’t make the fight scenes look interesting; it’s just an incompressible jumble of activity.

There are occasional pauses for banter–Peter keeps flirting with Elektra as they fight, Moon Knight keeps acting psychotic, Hammerhead keeps threatening everyone. The only interesting part is when Peter calls the cops for help–as Spider-Man. It’s a great honest moment.

But it doesn’t end well for him, as he’s just used a McFarlane amount of web fluid and conveniently forgotten to keep all the people webbed.

Bendis also has an odd moment when he acknowledges Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, which I thought was out of continuity….

The issue could run a third of its page count.

CREDITS

Warriors, Part Six; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: