Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Sometimes, numbers don’t tell the whole story.
I don’t care what any stat says, Barry Bonds is not baseball’s homerun king.
And the team of Bendis and Bagley may have broken Lee and Kirby’s record run on Fantastic Four in terms of numbers, but Ultimate Spider-Man has never touched those issues of FF in terms of quality.
And now that Stuart Immonen has taken over the pencilling duties, how are things looking for the next 100 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man?
…even Stan and Jack had some off issues.
Immonen is a more than competent artist, and for the most part his work on this issue is up to his usual standards. At other times…
…take a look at the last panel of page 19; yeah, we can tell who Peter is because he is standing next to M.J., but if she wasn’t there we couldn’t tell him apart from Kitty. Call me old-fashioned, but when I plunk down my $2.99, I want to be able to tell my superheroes from my superheroines.
Now what about the writing?
…look, I’m not a Bendis-basher by any stretch. I like about 60% of his work, which is an awfully good rate by my standards. Only Alan Moore and Paul Jenkins, off the top of my head, match or exceed that average. But was this one of those 60% that I like?
…one thing I’ve learned as a loyal Ultimate Spider-Man reader from the very beginning is that Bendis doesn’t always write teen dialogue well. Case in point: in this issue, one of Peter’s classmates makes a Love Boat joke. How many teens do you know who make regular references to the theme songs of twenty-year-old TV shows? Look, I’m 31, and I barely remember the Love Boat.
Okay, so I didn’t like one little line. What about the story itself?
…there are really only two – arguably three – events of any consequence in this issue. First, Norman Osborn escapes from prison. Well the cover blows that little development, so no surprise there.
Second, Kitty and Peter are, against their wills, partnered up on a class project in which they will be responsible for acting as parents to a baby doll.
That’s right. Bendis resorted to one of the most clichéd plot devices in recent pop culture history.
“What th – Peter and Kitty can’t get along because of their awkward romantic history, and now that have to pretend to be a couple for a class project? Wow! What are the odds of this zany development? Gosh, I bet wackiness and romantic entanglements ensue!”
The third and final “major” event this issue: Kitty and Kenny made googly eyes at each other.
Look, for three bucks I expect more out of 23 pages of story than Osborn breaks out of prison, Peter and Kitty have to work together for the sake of a baby doll, and Kitty and Kenny are sitting in a tree. I expect more for my money, and I expect more from these truly competent creators.
So save your money this month if you’re not big fan, but come back next month. These guys are too good to blow it two months in a row.
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