Tag Archives: Brian Michael Bendis

Book of last week: Ultimate comics. All new Spider-man 2

Exactly one week later than I had wanted:

1. Ultimate comics. All new Spider-man #2 (Marvel comics)
High expectations notwithstanding, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue. Ever since the Ultimate Spider-man video game and artist Stuart Immonem replaced original penciller Mark Bagley, I have loved the Brian Michael Bendis written alternate take on the friendly neighborhood Spider-man. While staying true to the core of the character comic readers have loved for more than fifty years, the ultimized version of the wall crawler has been redefined for a new generation with original takes on both characters and stories. Originally there were a lot of references to the original continuity, lately however the whole Ultimate universe has gone topsy-turvy and has never been more unlike the original Marvel universe. The pinnacle of this new direction perhaps being the recent death of Peter Parker and the announcement that he is being succeeded by African American/Latino youth Miles Morales.

Just as the first start of Ultimate Spider-man back in 2000 the story that is being told is super decompressed. Originally we didn’t get to see Peter Parker in costume until the sixth (?) issue. If the first issue two issues of this series are an indication it looks like Bendis is taking his time again, this time around. So while this may not be for everyone and might read better in a collected edition, it works completely that this series as of yet is pretty low on action, while it’s packed to the brim with emotional punches and funny bits.

As to what happens in this issue, we see Miles panicking about the fact that the bite of an irradiated spider has given him some mysterious superhuman abilities (not all like the original Spidey). In his panic, he visits his friend Ganke to demonstrate what’s happening to him and voice his fears of turning out to be a mutant. In doing so, he accidently discovers yet another new ability. Later we see an important moment of bonding between Miles and his father about the (criminal) history his father and uncle share. Finally, we see Miles getting text messages from Ganke explaining that just like the original Spidey he isn’t a mutant but has somehow gained the abilities from the bite of a spider (which I guess is the first thing actually steering him to becoming the next Spidey).

So while the story is as good as it gets, the art by Italian penciller Sarah Pichelli may be even better. Seriously, this book looks so good it made me weep. Reading this issue and taking in the gorgeous artwork was a miraculous experience that made my eyes bleed in a good way (the best way). If it was possible in some shape, way or form I’d marry this artwork (I think it’s slightly more realistic my wife would share me with artwork than with the artist). Effective linework, dramatic camera angles, dynamic action, really Marvel should count their blessing that she wants to work for them. I especially admire Pichelli’s ability to render every character through very unique and realistic body types and postures. Whether it’s the young Miles (the slimmest and scrawniest Spider-man ever?), his geeky and slightly obese Asian friend Ganke, or Miles’ father with his stern expression, freckled face and bald head they are all very realistically, fully developed , three dimensional characters. And honestly I can’t wait to see Miles in his costume, because he is the youngest and smallest Spider-man we’ve ever seen and I have always liked the fact that the first Ultimate Spider-man was always portrayed as a slimmer and shorter version. And no doubt Pichelli will be able to use Miles diminutive dimension to great effect in action scenes.

Overall, this issue offers tons of beautifully drawn and well written character development. Additionally, we get a first peek of Miles his new and mysterious powers and the supporting cast is slowly being expanded, with perfectly fleshed out human beings, as we have become to expect from Brian Michael Bendis’ last 160 issues of Ultimate Spider-man.
Art:9.5                        Writing: 9.5                Overall:9.5

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Quick shots for week 39: Kirby Genesis, getting caught up with my MArvel and some more DC 1’s

A beautifull two page spread by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert, from Kirby Genesis #3, published by Dynamite Entertainment.

A beautifull two page spread by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert, from Kirby Genesis #3, published by Dynamite Entertainment.

5. Kirby Genesis #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)                                                      8.5
This feels like an action packed Saturday morning cartoon, complete with a giant toyline. There are like a hundred characters in the cartoon, so they can sell all kinds of cool action figures. If that doesn´t sound too good for you, let me just spell it out for you: This comic is excellent! There’s a bit much going on and there really are a lot of characters. But they are all extremely well designed, very distinct from one another, very original and just like this series, heaps and heaps of fun! Basically, this series tells the story of a normal, realistic world (not unlike ours), which in the span of a couple of hours gets bombarded with a whole bunch of superheroes and villains (all unused or license-free creations of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby). The whole world quickly goes ballistic, while we follow a kid named Kirby, who is looking for his girlfriend (who turned into some kind of power princess) and in doing so gets abducted by aliens, together with Sasquatch and subsequently delivered in the land beyond time… (come on, need I say more?)
6. Ultimates #2 (Marvel comics)                                                                                         8
Contrary to the first issue, this really felt like its own beast. This isn´t so much a new take on Millar and Hitch’s (or Hitlar as we know that duo on the millarworld forums) run on the Ultimates, but a good story by Jonathan Hickman about the Ultimates. This issue, things are jam-packed with action. And once again I appreciate the bold editorial choices that have been made to set the Ultimate universe apart from the 616-verse. [Spoiler:] All the Asgardian gods (except for Thor, it seems) get killed by the inhabitants of evil Reed Richard’s sphere society.
7. New Avengers Annual (Marvel comics)                                                              7.9
Interesting story about former Avenger Simon Williams (AKA Wonderman) trying to end the Avengers with his own team of superheroes. First target, the New Avengers, [spoilers], they go down relatively easy, which was kinda surprising. But of course they aren’t the big league Avengers, which are their next target. So, I’m curious to see how that will pan out. The art was interesting, not great but pretty good. I think what made the art by Gabriele Dell’Otto back on Secret War particularly impressive, was all the dark areas which hid a lot of details. This issue plays out in clear daylight and we see much more details, which diminishes the impact of his linework.
8. New Avengers #16 (Marvel comics)                                                                      7.5
Very well written story about how Daredevil gets to join the New Avengers. A cute tie-in to fear itself. Yet, again Bendis does this thing where the story is narrated through interview scenes. I can’t stand them! They work great however, especially in this issue. The art however ugh… I (really!) like Deodato a lot, but the coloring here is not helping him, it’s making it far too photorealistic. Plus the architecture and Nazi mech armors look computer generated, which doesn’t look good.
9. Green Lantern #1 (DC comics)                                                                                     7
Not enough action. I like the premiss of Hall Jordan without a ring, without a job and without money, and seeing Sinestro (of all people) with a green ring. Well played comedic bits. There´s just not enough action and that’s what the art team of Mahnke and Alamy do best, which is a shame. Will check out the second issue, but I’m still very cautious.
10. Fear Itself #6 (Marvel comics)                                                                                     7
Once again, the grade is pulled down big time through the writing. I don’t think I’ll be back for the next issue. The writing was a bit better, art a bit worse compared to earlier issues.

Will try to get the Book of the week and Runner Ups online tomorrow or the day after. Titles to be reviewed: Batwoman #1, Ultimate Spider-man #2, Sweet Tooth #25 and X-men Schism 4.