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Will

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xx Ultimate Spider-Man
« Thread started on: Sep 13th, 2005, 05:38am »

I got caught up with the issues, and I'm still enjoying the title despite the fact that I think there are some pacing potholes here and there that are becoming all the more evident.

The funny part about the original run of Spidey in his formative years is that it's a better work as far as tempo than this Ultimate reenvisioning is. One advantage was they worked for multiple years in real-time rather than comic book time with the original -- obviously this ended quickly enough, but comparing the timeline of events from that to this version makes this one pale in certain respects.

On the pacing issue in an entirely different area, Bendis at moments spends so much time with explanation or backstory that we have entire issues dealing with flashbacks and various time jumps that likely could be handled far more concisely without sacrifice to what's being communicated to the reader. The Hobgoblin arc spent a decent amount of time explaining Harry's condition and predicament, but at the end you feel little for him -- he never has been Peter's friend truly in this book and though Peter is as noble as ever, his circle, however small here, looks dimmer and less worthy all the time. Especially Mary, who reached a new level of stupidity and annoyance in the Hobgoblin issues

She's supposed to be brainier than the MJ of normal continuity, but to this point she seems the inverse as far as any type of common sense; which is possibly telling in that the original MJ was and is more cut off and only pretending at being an airhead, whereas this version is made out to be intelligent through statements of those around her with the truth as far as actionable process hardly ever bearing this out. Total flip-flop.

Another problem? As partially delved into above, they didn't shift the focus off of Peter Parker so much, or at all, in the original run. I'd have far less trouble with this if the issues that played the specific game weren't boring so often, giving us little insight into anything other than broad plot points that will play a role later, and usually within a story that wraps far too easily considering build-up at that.

What's done in this book is that consistently within what is made out to be a big confrontation from a major foe, we spend about 60% of that in backstory and planning where we end up knowing more than Peter does before the threat is even unleashed. Then it ends abruptly, as we saw with the Hobgoblin tale.

Has there been a great mystery that I've forgotten on this title, even over the course of a five issue arc? It seems that the villain's identity and plot is revealed too far in advance on a consistent basis.

Going down further in this (time) line of thinking, the relationship game is of course par for the course in any soap structure, yet as with the Hobgoblin saga specifically on this matter (though this is a favorite of this title in general) something is revealed retroactively that took place months before supposedly, just to create a rise in the audience -- and, for the most part, it goes nowhere. Mary Jane had something going with Harry? Ok. But the ambiguities are still there and I doubt they'll ever be explained -- it does seem clear that MJ was going with Harry at the same time she also had something going with Peter. This alone is highly questionable in regards to not only maturity but any type of ethical value. As events pass, Mary Jane continually becomes a less likeable character.

I mean, what are her virtues? She's a good plotting device, but weaker than the old MJ was as a character in her own role of plot device. That version became interesting through the demands of her role, while this one is at best an annoyance in hers.

For the most part I don't find the MJ issue to be a flaw -- she's pretty much a typical teenage girl who's going with a guy that's probably too good for her (as the comic is acknowledging fully, and appears to be going somewhere with) -- but the time cuts so far as villain plotting are not all that helpful, and may be harmful in cutting away what could be interesting mysteries and confrontations if we were left solely with Peter's view of events. This isn't necessary always, but it would be a nice change of pace from stories like we've gotten with the new Venom or Hobgoblin. Contrast and compare the great Hobgoblin storyline that introdiced that character in the early 80s to this new one -- no contest.

I think Bendis might be behind the 8-ball by the demands of the book -- keep it simple and accessible, meaning no plots that run for years or even many months (beyond a given arc, say) without resolution. An issue can come and go, yes, but never run in the way that that Hobgoblin mystery did way back when. I don't know why a small-scale mystery wouldn't be allowed though, and I'd be willing to bet that it's just his style causing this. As seems obvious enough.
« Last Edit: Sep 13th, 2005, 07:23am by Will » User IP Logged

TheMidnighter

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xx Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #1 on: Sep 13th, 2005, 08:28am »

This title is beginning to bore me more and more. I used to think it was a spectacular, amazing, sensational title, but now not anymore.

The stories are going downhill. Not that it's below average (I can still enjoy the stories) but it's just too bad to see Bendis writing less stories than he did before.

And the art is going downhill as well. Especially the colouring, I really dislike the colouring. It's all so brownish and nothing of the nicer colours it was before.

I have all the issues, but the good days were the first days. I distinctly remember not liking it so much after the Black Cat storyline. The best is collected in the first 4 Hc's (of which I have 3). Maybe I'll reread them and give some sort of issue-to-issue or arc-by-arc review. I know I did that on BatSquad V1.0.
Don't expect anything soon, though cheesy.

All in all, I do still buy it and therefore you can deduct that I do still like it, despite that I think it's declining. I do still also have a tremendous amount of respect for these creators who have, month after month and sometimes multiple times a month, given the readers there input. It's a steady book and that's also not quite unimportant.
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xx Re: Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #2 on: Sep 14th, 2005, 09:06am »

The title has been sliding since the Black Cat arc back in the 50s, but after reading issues 81 and 82 I think it's back on course -- rocking, with possibly more being juggled at once than ever before. Now, let's see some good payoff to all this; more than enough material in these issues to go on through issue 100.

I even found the art to be better than it has been in awhile with 82.

The Mary Jane issue (78) was somewhat decent as a character piece, but disappointing in its structure -- setup meant to make the audience cringe at its predictability (Mary goes with new!cute guy on a date immediately after Peter dumps her), with the ending meant to allay fears that we'd actually just read through an issue ripe with further evidence of Mary's susceptability towards and attraction for the new "hot" guy of the moment as opposed to any type of loyalty towards Peter. An issue as red herring is boring when it amounts to a tease entirely. Bendis again constructing what amounts to a partial bit of stylistic "cleverness" (as that was it's aim, if not it's achievement), with the ending in this case meant to turn the events previously seen on their head as well as change our view of the female lead of the issue; as said earlier in the paragraph, a few decent character moments that I think could have been presented better and copiously in a more daringly concieved issue (say, she never accepts the invite in the first place and we jump somewhere else entirely in the path walked here regarding plot if not ideas).

And that's the one interest that stuck with the Hobgoblin arc that I'd like to see further investigated -- that Mary only became attracted to Peter AFTER he revealed his secret to her. A striking and disconcerting implication that's been given no voice in the issues following it up to this juncture, and an idea with merit when looking at the early issues.

Would MJ ever have been in a relationship with Peter if he wasn't Spider-Man? That's more fun to consider than the overt issue of the breakup directly, and how she'll inevitably win him back -- then again, I may be falsely assuming a great many things with that statement. We'll see.

Ultimate has my full attention, and some decent momentum. Though that hasn't stopped it from fumbling the ball before.
« Last Edit: Sep 17th, 2005, 09:27am by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #3 on: Sep 17th, 2005, 09:25am »

The annual read better than the recently-resurgent monthlies. It had an ease about it, reading well and providing more wit and enjoyment as far as its events and character interaction than Ultimate Spidey has had in many issues.

One big reason (or THE reason) for this is Kitty Pride who, compared to the current MJ, is a preferable love interest. She has far more in common with Peter and is capable of bringing an added element of excitement to the title through what they share -- as this story showcased well.

Nothing that has to or will last I'm sure, but it could be well-mined for a decent portion of time in this book.

A statement from Mary Jane that stuck out in the Hobgoblin storyline: "[Peter, post spider bite] IS better!" Hmmm.
« Last Edit: Oct 23rd, 2005, 08:15am by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #4 on: Oct 22nd, 2005, 7:53pm »

The guide to the Ultimate Universe states at the end of spidey description that Peter has start dating Kitty so hopefully we will see more of her at least for a while.
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xx Re: Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #5 on: Feb 12th, 2013, 10:23am »

Gosh, another 'Spider-Man No More' teaser...

Is anyone still reading this? For a universe that is supposed to be completely disconnected from the main Marvel Universe, they love stealing their iconic scenes.
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xx Re: Ultimate Spider-Man
« Reply #6 on: Feb 12th, 2013, 10:58am »

I pretty much stopped reading the Ultimate line when Ultimatum was over. All the relaunches drove me away. I still pick up trades if I can find them cheap, but haven't gotten around to reading them. Definitely not since the new Spidey.
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