Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1

Writing: Bendis continues his Ultimate Spider-Man work, with a six month jump after Ultimatum. Peter has a job, and is romantically involved with Gwen Stacy. A new mysterious figure, who looks like the Hood, shows up, and appears to be a hero. These events are all well and good, but the narrative barely progresses. Bendis is more comfortable spending four pages on an old lady upset about French fries.

Art: Lafuente’s art is already the subject of much controversy, being criticized for looking “too cartoony.” I’ll admit, it’s not to my liking. It’s the kind of art that can’t properly delve into the realm of maturity. That doesn’t seem to be Bendis’ objective anyway, so, for what it’s a part of, Lafuente’s art gets the job done. Hopefully, over time, his comedic skills will improve, as his work doesn’t have the humor it should.

Final Word: Bendis’ writing has upset me lately, and this is no exception. It’s just not for me. He spends so much time on such insignificant details. That’d be fine, I suppose, but it’s not even that amusing. I wonder if this series will be as popular. With a worse artist, and a pretty good weekly Spidey series to compete with, why bother?

Grade: D+

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Top Ten September 2009 Marvel Covers

10. Illustrated by Steve Epting

Ah! A man on fire is running at me!

9. Illustrated by Yanick Paquette

“My teeth are whiter!”

“No, my teeth are whiter!”

8. Illustrated by Stuart Immonen
 
What a striking cover! Is Luke Cage dying?

7. Illustrated by Mike Choi

This cover will stand out on the shelves. Why is X-23 in pieces?

6. Illustrated by Rafael Alberquerque

Mrs. Robinson, are you showing me your blue snatch?

5. Illustrated by Alan Davis

What is Reed Richards doing with the Infinity Gauntlet? And while Galactus is asleep? Eww…

4. Illustrated by Dave Johnson

Unique, striking, and well-drawn.

3. Illustrated by David Lafuente

So, this one time I got high while watching Spider-Man…

2. Illustrated by Skottie Young

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Skottie Young is a comedy genius.

1. Illustrated by Chris Bachalo

Poor Venom. It’s unique, funny, and wonderfully rendered. It reminds me of the end of “Grindhouse: Death Proof.” This is the end of the series. Will it end with Venom getting his ass thoroughly kicked? I kind of want to know. What a brilliant cover.

I ranked the DC covers last month. So, this was a nice change of pace. Who knows? I might even do the DC covers this month too.

That was my list. What’s yours?

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Bruce Castle Presents: Ultimatum Is Almost Here!

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 (*****)

This was the best issue of Ultimate Spider-Man in a long time. This series has been a bit disappointing lately with the new Venom arc, but this was a refreshing return to greatness. I’m sad that Mark Brooks wasn’t providing the art. I actually thought that Brooks would have made a better replacement for Bagley. Lafuente does a decent job though. He has a super cartoony style that mostly works well here due to the large quantity of laughs. That’s right folks! USM is hilarious again! That’s what was so great about this issue. It wasn’t the action or the new Ultimate character (It’s a villain. I won’t give away any more. It will remain a mystery until you read it), it was the high-dose of laughter and those oh so lovable teen moments. Peter and MJ talk about sex (There I spoiled something, happy?)! Hey! What did this have to do with Ultimatum? Unless that new villain is the reason, I have no idea why this was an Ultimatum tie-in. Oh and I loved that moment when the girl dressed as 616 Spider-Woman screams “Embrace change! Embrace change!” So awesome!

Ultimate Captain America Annual #1

Ultimate Captain America Annual #1 (***1/2)

I don’t know, but I think Ultimatum might actually be pretty cool. First off, this is such an awesome teaser.

C’mon! How can you not be excited after seeing that!? Anyway, this wasn’t really a Captain America comic. It was really about Black Panther. It’s pretty much his origin and then it explains how he got to Ultimates 3 and such. I don’t know if Loeb just had to get his bearings or if it really was intentional that most of Ultimates 3 seemed so off. At first, it was like Loeb had never read an Ultimates book, but in the last installment of Ultimates 3 and again in this issue, you can tell the man knows his stuff. Continuity is thrown at us in a totally accessible way. I rarely get to see Marko Djurdjevic on interiors, but he provides some stunning work here. There is also a new Ultimate character and the usual Loeb humor (Fury uses a Hulk cutout shooting target. Ha!). This comic is mostly about explanation, but it does plant some seeds that I’m sure we’ll see pop up like daisies soon.