Saturday, May 31, 2008

Comicbook Review: Ultimate Spider-Man 122

Creative Team
Writing: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 8 out of 10
Art: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.5 out of 10

Story Developments
While trying to film some stuff on the streets of New York for MJ's brocasting club Peter and MJ hear Shocker attempting to rob another bank. Peter puts on his Spider-man costume and does short work of Shocker. As Spider-man is webbing up Shocker he is caught of guard when Shocker attacks him and as Shocker makes his escape he takes Spider-man with him.

MJ, who filmed the whole battle, calls Kitty Pride for help in finding Peter and after viewing the video Kitty agrees to help find Peter. Kitty than decides to go to the cops and get them to help her find Spider-man.

Spider-man with his mask taken off is seen hanging from the ceiling of a warehouse in chains as Shocker tells him a little history about himself and why he does what he does, while als punching and using his "shockers" on Peter every so often. As Shocker continues to tell his story Peter is able to break out of the chains and knocks out the Shocker. As Peter is about to finish Shocker of Kitty arrives, finding Peter and the Shocker with the help of MJ and the cops, to stop him. Before the cops arrive Kittyputs Peter's Spider-man mask back on him and leaves with Peter, who is half conscious, while the cops enter the warehouse and arrest Shocker.

Coming out of an average one and done issue last month Ultimate Spider-man 122 was an improvement. It is issues like this that make me wish Bendis would write more solo titles than team books. With books like Ultimate Spider-Man and his past run on Daredevil is were Bendis writing skills really because he is able focus much more on one main character and his supporting cast that all have their external voices while also giving the reader an intriguing villain to oppose the hero. But when Bendis writes team books, i.e. the two Avengers books, Bendis writting is less focus and he is not able to give all the characters their own external voices instead he writes all the characters to have generic voices and villains that have zero motivation outside of ruiling the world. It also seems that Bendis uses this title to poke fun at the regular 616-Universe and he did once in this issue with the women dressed as I believe Psylock screaming "Who can you trust" which is the tagline to Secret Invasion.

The reason I loved this issue was because for the first time ever I actually started to get interested in the Shocker character. In truth the Shocker both in the 616-Universe and Ultimate Universe has never really interested me and always felt that he was one of the lamest Spider-man villains. But with this issue I actually felt sympathy for poor old Shocker because the Ultimate version of the character seems like a guy that has never caught a break in his life and almost everyone he's known has taken advatage at him. In his previous apperrances Ultimate Shocker was just Spider-man's punching bag of the week and had the least development of all of Spidey's villains. But now the reader is able to understand that this is a guy that has been screwed over so many times in his life that it is understandable his only invention that wasn't taken from him to rob banks.

I loved that even though Peter was hanging from the ceiling of a warehouse without his mask off he was still able to keep his cool and still make fun of the Shocker even if he was defeated. This shows that Peter has matured with his role as Spider-man and now seems to be used to having his masked pulled of by yet another villain. Now with Shocker, even though he doesn't know Spider-man identity, almost every one of the Ultimate Spider-man villains know how he looks like behind the mask. Peter is probably just used to being unmasked by everyone he fights every other week. And by having so many people know his identity it helps to see how different Ultimate Spider-Man is from the 616-Spider-man.

One of the best parts of this issue was getting to see MJ and Kitty interacting with one another without Peter or anyone else around. I actually think this is the first time that both girls have interacted with one another alone were they actually have a conversation. I could actually feel the tension between both characters and MJ's look when Kitty ask her why she didn't contact Johnny was priceless. In truth now with Liz attending the Xavier School I can actually see Bendis building these two up to become good friends since they both don't really have many people to talk to, with MJ losing her best friend and Kitty having left her friends back at the Xavier School.

That brings me to Peter because it is obvious that Kitty still has a thing for him and that Peter still might also have feelings for Kitty. It is hard for me to think that Peter doesn't have any romatic feelings for Kitty especially since that relationship ended so quickly. Maybe it is because I actually like their relationship but I think there are really a lot of good stories oppurtunities especially if MJ and Kitty actually become friends and Kitty continues to fight villains with Spider-man as partners.

I also found it interesting that we yet again meet another guy that has been screwed over by the Roxxon company. So far Doc Ock, the Venom symbiote, Sandman, Omega Red, The Vulture, Silver Sable, and now Shocker all have had some involvement with Roxxon in one form or another. It seems as though Bendis is building Roxxon up as more involved with all the events that have occurred in the Ultimate Universe. While I am not reading any of the other ongoing Ultimate titles I find it interesting that Bendis seems to have been using these past 10 or so issues to suitally build up interest in the Ultimate Origins mini series that will be come out in July which will be followed by the Ultimatum mini.

I now a lot of people like Immonen art but I am just not a fan of his art and find his work on this title to be average. Don't get me wrong because I think that he draws great action scenes but the strength of this has never been the action but all the characters in Peter Parker's life outside of his life as Spider-man. Peter and Kitty continue to look like their twelve while MJ looks like she is 21. In truth Peter actually looked like a 16-17 year old while he was hanging upside which is probably because of all the blood rushing to his head.

Overall: Again Ultimate Spider-man proves that it is the best Spider-man title on the market. And with this OMD/BND debacle over in the 616-Universe it's great to be able to read a Spider-man title that has nothing to do with BND. I actually dropped all Amazing Spider-man even before OMD from my pull list and have not picked up that title since. So reading Ultimate Spider-man is great because I am able to still read great stories about my favorite comicbook character and save an extra $10 that I would have to waste to be able to read Amazing Spider-man which I used pick up another title. So I hope you all enjoyed my first comicbook review and I will try and post at least four more reviews later this week.