ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

July 14, 2001 Posted by admin

TITLE: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

REVIEW DATE: 24/02/02

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

ISSUE: 19

WRITER: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

ARTIST: MARK BAGLEY

REVIEW:
ultimatespiderman19How does he do it? How does Brian Michael Bendis produce the kind of thrilling, emotional and consistently excellent kind of storytelling that puts other so-called writers to shame? With a monthly workload of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Alias, Daredevil, Elektra, Powers and too many sideline projects to name, you’d think that at least one of his titles would suffer. Well, he’s reaching his two-year anniversary on Ultimate Spider-Man and it doesn’t like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

This issue sees ol’ webhead going through more teenage superhero trauma as he faces up to the aftermath of last month’s encounter with Doc Ock, Justin Hammer and S.H.I.E.L.D. Bendis keeps the pace jogging along with more challenges for Peter as he’s nearly discovered wearing his costume by Aunt May, begins to realise that big game TV hunter Kraven might actually be more of a threat than he initially thought and faces painful jealousy from girlfriend, Mary Jane. It’s the latter that always gives me a thrill when I read this title. The quiet moments when Peter is dealing with the kind of problems we’ve all faced at some point in our lives. Whether it’s been tackling a difficult relationship, wanting to avoid hurting those we love or simply dealing with the mistakes we make that affect those around us.
Of course it’s not all navel-gazing with this title as Bendis always infuses Ultimate Spider-Man with his infectious sense of humour and the ability to pull the rug out from under the reader at the drop of a hat. C’mon, did you really see that surprise ending coming?

And that’s what makes Ultimate Spider-Man such a thrill to read. I shyed away from Marvel’s Spider titles for years, but it’s the like of Bendis and fellow web writer J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man) that make these comic books such a joy to read again. The constant presence of penciller Mark Bagley (Thunderbolts) also helps to give the title an important sense of consistency which, coupled with a unique contents/recap page, makes Ultimate Spider-Man an accessible read for newcomers and long-term fans alike. Great stuff.

BULLETPROOF RATING: 9/10