An issue with many ups and downs, and an important ending that just didn’t click with me.
Most folks who know me – or who read my reviews here regularly – have probably noticed that I’m more of a DC man. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of Marvel titles I love (Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Factor and Uncanny X-Force are all strong ongoings, and Marvel’s recent mini-series Mystic is an early contender for one of the year’s best trade paperbacks), but on a month-to-month basis, DC tends to fulfill my comic-reading itch a little better, whether its because of their characters or (more likely) because of their more reasonable pricing structure. So maybe it’s just that I’ve been absent from mainstream Marvel continuity for a time, but I cannot imagine how this month’s prologue to their upcoming big event, Avengers Vs. X-Men, is that much of a prologue at all. But don’t let that stop you from checking it out: AvX #0 is definitely enjoyable – and surprisingly character-driven.
When Marvel’s Ultimate line first launched, I hated it with the passion that only a fanboy can muster to hate something they’ve never read. I eventually got around to sampling many of the titles, and what I read, I hated. That tarred my opinion of the entire line for a good long while. From the crass big-screen action of The Ultimates (which I never finished but plan to soon) to the cartoony retreads of Ultimate X-Men, it just seemed like a waste. Here we had a major publisher, probably the biggest monthly comics publisher in the world, and they were wasting their time and money doing gritty reboots of old stories rather than doing something interesting and innovative.
I similarly dismissed Ultimate Spider-Man, though, unlike the other core books of the Ultimate Universe, I’d never actually read a page of it. But I knew everything I needed to know – Spider-Man hasn’t grown and changed enough that I felt he really needed to have his entire mythos retold bit by excruciatingly slow, decompressed bit. But then, something happened. General interest for the Ultimates waned. Same thing with Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four and a variety of other titles. But Ultimate Spider-Man grew more and more respectable as the years passed until it became essentially the centerpiece of the Ultimate line and, this past year, made our list of the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011.
Last year was the year I caught up with Ultimate Spider-Man. This year is the year I write about it.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colours: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Kaare Andrews
The slow yet enthralling introduction to Miles and his world continues in this issue of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. I have really enjoyed this series so far and this issue does not let me down.
The only downside so far in this series for me has been the cover art, as mentioned in my last review I am not a fan of this ultra-realistic depiction of Spider-Man that Kaare Andrews draws and so again this issues cover is a let-down. I do however like the massive moon behind Spider-Man and the glittering city lights below him. I also think that Spider-Man’s pose on this cover is a slightly uncomfortable one, knowing that he is only 13 years old.
The plot of this issue is as good as the two issues before it. It again deals with Miles not wanting these powers that he has received but knowing that he could do a lot of good with them. We receive our first glimpse of Miles doing a heroic rescue in this issue and it is interesting that he does this in full view of everyone. Evidently at such as early point in his development as a superhero he is not thinking about needing a secret identity, but simply knows he can save those that are trapped and goes and does it. I really liked that in this issue the series has begun to tie into the end of Peter’s time as Spider-Man, right at the end of the issue we are told that there has been a superhero battle on a bridge and that there are unconfirmed reports that Spider-Man has been shot. The shock on Miles’s face when he is told this news is brilliant, it is evidently going to affect him more than those around him because he is considering not using his powers as there already is a Spider-Man, and so with Peter’s death Miles is going to have one less reason not to take up his mantle.
The interior art in this issue was again fantastic; Pichelli continues to draw the world of Miles so uniquely and vividly. I think that my favourite panel of the entire issue was when Miles was having a nightmare that he was attacked and electrocuted by a villain. The bolts of electric shooting around the panel were amazing.
Ultimately this issue continues the excellent introduction that Bendis and his team are creating and I look forward to issue #4.
Issue Rating: 9/10