Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man #128 Review

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

Story - War of the Symbiotes: Part 6

After the last issue placed more of a focus on Peter Parker than Spider-Man it was inevitable that this issue would be an action pack conclusion for "War of the Symbiotes" arc. For as much as hate Venom and Carnage in the regular 616-Universe but I have to admit that I've enjoyed the Ultimate version of the symbiotes. The thing that seperates the 616 version of the symbiotes to those from their Ultimate Universe counterpart is that there is a much deeper connection with Peter in the Ultimate Universe.

Bendis does a nice job showing that even though Peter considers Eddie one of his more dangerous enemies he still wants to help him out due to their previous brotherly bond they shared before the whole symbiote thing between them. It is gret seeing Peter playing mediator between both Gwenage and Venom during the big fight sequence since he shares a deep bond in with both characters. I was actually kind of upset that the fight between Spider-Man and the new monstorous version of Venom was cut so short.

I was happy to see that Gwen is back on this book, even if it was spoiled in Ultimatum, and it will be interesting to see various character reactions to Gwen being back especially those at Midtown High School. But with Ultimatum tie-in dominating the next few issue of USM I don't think that we will see Bendis pick up on this until after the tie-in issues.

One of the stand out moments in this issue were the ones with Aunt May. Ever since learning Peter is Spider-Man we have gotten to see much more of May than before and it is a good thing. It looks like May is a lot more paronoid about keeping Peter safe now since I have never seen May ever pull out a gun out on anyone before. Even without seeing Eddie for a long time, since they did not meet in the "Venom" arc, she new Eddie was dangerous and her willingness to pull a gun out on him shows how much learning Peter secret has affected her. I also enjoyed it that Peter, as Spider-Man, had to take Eddie to another location because of how scared she was from what Peter was doing. It looks like Peter and Aunt May may need to have another talk about his duties as Spider-Man have affected her.

As with much of USM Bendis used the ending of this story to set up future storylines with Beetle capturing Eddie/Venom and taking him back to Latveria. Hopefully Bendis picks up on this ending after Ultimatum and has Peter team-up with the Fantastic Four to fight Beetle and his boss as well as having to fight Dr. Doom since it might take place in Latveria and we have yet to see Spider-Man fight Dr. Doom in the Ultimate Universe yet.

Unlike most of Bendis work this issue was mostly a big brawlfest between Venom, Gwenage, and Spider-Man which plays to Immonen strengths as an artists. The fight scenes had a lot of energy to them, and I got to say that I love the splash page of the new monstorous form of Venom and I hope we see him in the future. Still this was probably Immonen strongest issue of USM to date.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 - Bendis did a nice with the conclusion of this arc while also laying the foundation for future USM arcs after the Ultimatum tie-in issues.
Art: 8/10 - This issue played to Immonen strength as an artist though I still don't like how he draws character faces outside of costume.
Overall: 8.5/10 - As with the previous issues Bendis and Immonen have started to work a lot better as a creative team and it seems Bendis is starting to write to Immonen talents a lot more.


Anonymous said...

When I was reading the past couple of comics, they seemed jumbled and not quite as dynamic as past USM that I have read (such as death of goblin, etc.) However, this one was very action packed and tied everything together nicely. I was somewhat disapointed by how things were cut short: Eddie just gave up for instance which made parts seemed rushed.

Kevin said...

@Doug: Ya I agree with you. The problem with this arc is that Bendis used almost all of these past few issues to tie-in the USM video game into the Ultimate Universe continuity. But I got to say that I actually enjoyed this and the last issue because they focused more on Peter Parker than Spider-Man.

Also I think Eddie escaped because he knew if he stayed longer he would have been captured by Iron Man and SHIELD. I thought the ending left things open for future storylines after the mandatory Ultimatum tie-in issues.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I most definitely agree with you on the Peter rather than Spiderman aspect. However, I do like so great action scenes. I have to agree with you that Immonen's faces aren't the greatest, but I absolutely adore his fight scenes.

I only read this issue once, and didn't buy it, I went to the store and read it so I might've missed some things (I like to buy the issues in the larger books)

I like your reviews and highlights, especially the Ultimate Spiderman ones (its my favorite comic book if you haven't noticed) and I look forward to your upcoming reviews

Kevin said...

@Doug: Thanks! And it is a good move to wait for the comics to come out in TPB form since most comics read better by reading the whole story in one sitting instead of single issues.

With most of Bendis run since issue #1 of USM he has always used the last few pages of the storyline to build on future storylines and I think that is what he did here. Plus in the recap page it said that this issue takes place before Ultimates 3 which in the first issue the monster form of Venom that is here shows up their to take on the Ultimates, though that issue was so bad that I stop reading the Ultimates after that issue.

Anonymous said...

I think this whole storyline would've been better if Bendis had split it in two. One would be a while ago up till the major fight where Spidey because Venom. The second would wrap things up later after Death of Goblin. It just would've flowed better without so many time transitions.

I haven't read the Ultimates (any of them) unfortunately. I also haven't read the Ultimatum #1, however I have picked up the storyline and some tidbits from you and other sources. (I heard Loeb wasn't that great) I wonder how USM is going to be effected by Ultimatum (because it is continuing after Ultimatum right?)