Comic Book Review: Ultimate Spider-Man

The Revolution always enjoys the latest issue of Ultimate Spider-Man. Bendis is tacos in the bank on this title. Ultimate Spider-Man #111 was Mark Bagley’s final issue. The fact that Bendis and Bagley cranked out a run of 111 issues together is absolutely mind blowing. You just don’t see that in the modern age of comic books. Anyway, I’m sure that Ultimate Spider-Man #112 will be a good read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Spider-Man chasing down the Shocker and one of his thugs racing through the city in a Hummer. Kitty Pryde appears on the scene in a new costume right in front of the Hummer. The Hummer drives through Kitty which causes its electrical system to go haywire which in turns causes it to wreck.

Peter asks Kitty if she is still mad at him. Kitty says they are not going to have this conversation here. Kitty then turns down Peter’s offer to give her a lift back to school.

We cut to the orange monster that MJ transformed into back during the Clone Saga on a rampage taking out the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. It turns out it is just a dream and MJ wakes up in the middle of her class. The teacher scolds MJ for falling asleep in class. Suddenly, Peter and Kitty both arrive to class late. MJ doesn’t look pleased.

The teacher then announces the next assignment for class is to take care of a baby. The teacher brings out a bunch of dummy babies and says that she is going to pair people together to watch and care for the baby just like a real one for a period of three weeks. The teacher pairs MJ with Brad and pairs Kitty with Peter.

We cut to the Triskellion. Carol Danvers is filling in for Nick Fury who is away on a mission. Norman Osborne has requested to talk to Nick Fury, but he has to deal with Carol instead. Carol visits Norman in his cell. Norman says that he wants to accept Nick’s deal. That Nick offered Norman certain “privileges” in return for Norman’s scientific cooperation. Norman says that the favor he wants is to see his son.

Carol tells Norman that there will be no deal. Norman snaps on Carol. Carol then antagonizes Norman in face of what she feels are empty threats since he is locked in a secure chamber. Carol leaves and orders Norman medication to be increased.

We shift back to Peter’s high school. Peter, MJ and Kitty are in the hallway. Kitty tells Peter that she will due the project on her own and that they don’t need to spend time together. MJ says that isn’t necessary and that Peter can work with Kitty. MJ says she trusts Peter, she just doesn’t trust Kitty.

Flash then walks over and insults Kitty with some mutant slurs. Kong snaps and hits Flash and orders him to apologize to Kitty. Flash apologizes and then stalks off wondering what got into Kong.

Kong asks Kitty if she is all right. The two then start talking and walk off together with Kitty asking Kong if he wants to see a movie with her.

We cut back to the Triskellion. Carol is informed that Norman’s cell has gone dark. That all the visuals and monitors to his cell are dead. That his vitals are offline. Carol tries to contact the SHIELD guards in that cell block and receives no answer. Suddenly, a massive explosion rocks the Triskellion. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Ultimate Spider-Man #112 was a decidedly average read. And I’m simply not used to getting pedestrian reads on Ultimate Spider-Man. Ever since Ultimate Spider-Man #1, this title has been a stunningly consistent read each and every month.

I continue to enjoy how Bendis is handling the awkward situation surrounding Kitty attending Peter’s high school. It provides for some enjoyable tense scenes. However, Bendis probably needs to go ahead and resolve the awkwardness between Peter and Kitty relatively soon. I have a feeling if Bendis keeps it up that it is going to get old real fast.

I like the pairing of Kitty with Kong for two reasons. First, because it should help speed up the conclusion of these endless awkward scenes between Kitty and Peter. Second, because I just think Kitty and Kong make a neat couple. On one hand you have the smart and intelligent Kitty who feels ostracized from the rest of the student body and on the other hand you have the dumb jock who is a part of the “in” crowd. If nothing else, this pairing should provide for some entertainment.

I have to say that I was rather surprised that Kong turned on his boy Flash. Kong has always been a loyal sidekick to Flash. And Kong has never demonstrated that he was much of a free thinker. This was definitely a neat little twist that I didn’t see coming.

Of course, the real bright spot of this issue was ultimate Spider-Man villain: Norman Osborne. Norman flat out rocks. I love his character. The scene between Norman and Carol was well done. I liked Carol’s cocky attitude, but she definitely messed with the wrong guy.

Bendis also serves up a great hook ending with the disappearance of Norman and the sudden explosion of the Triskellion. This dramatic ending certainly provided the necessary jolt of excitement into an otherwise sleepy read. I love the Green Goblin and I anxiously await his dramatic return. Next issue should be an absolute blast.

Stuart Immonen provides for plenty of quality artwork. I don’t find his art particularly spectacular or special. But, Immonen’s art is extremely dependable and does make for a solid looking comic book.

The Bad: I’m really stunned at what an average read Ultimate Spider-Man #112 was. The first part of this issue felt like an ad for Hummer and the second part felt like a lame episode of Degrassi. This has been the first time that I can remember in a very long time that I actually found Ultimate Spider-Man to be a dull read.

Let’s talk about the Hummer ad, I mean, the generic fight scene that took up the first part of this issue. This scene was so unnecessary, unoriginal and pointless. I mean, other than the obvious purpose of pimping Hummer to the readers, there was no need for this scene. Seriously, is product placement entering an entirely different level in the world of comic books?

And let’s talk about the rest of the Degrassi episode, I mean the rest of this issue. This second part of this issue is a great example of the mindless dialogue that Bendis can overload a comic book with. I swear Bendis is in love with the sound of his own incessant rambling. I dig dialogue as much as the next guy, but it has to have some substance to it.

The entire baby scene in the classroom was totally pointless. All it did was set up yet another awkward situation between Kitty and Peter. And these awkward scenes are getting older and more played out with each and every issue.

Honestly, a solid 75% of this issue was just pure drivel and totally unnecessary. The only thing of importance was the scene with Carol and Norman and then the final two pages of this issue. The rest was pure fluff.

Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #112 was a real disappointment. Usually, this title is an excellent read. I’ll chalk this issue up as an aberration. I’m sure that the introduction of the Green Goblin will make for a wild ride and that Bendis will return to form with the next issue.

2 Comments

  1. “Let’s talk about the Hummer ad, I mean, the generic fight scene that took up the first part of this issue.”

    Why put car adds at a comic book aimed for kids too young to drive?

    “Kitty Pryde appears on the scene in a new costume”

    What is that ion her head?

    “The entire baby scene in the classroom was totally pointless.”

    Come now, the adding a baby to the mix trick is an old favoirt on sitcoms and such. It’s an easy plot device to force Kitty And PEter to put aside their diffrences and focus on the common goal. The baby will no doubt end up in some sort of daner and hilarity will insue while they try to rescue the doll. As they do, they will have a heart to heart. It’s a plot device as old as time.

  2. This issue was sad and empty, boring, from the first page to the last one.
    No big plot twists, but this happened before: the difference was the art of Mark Bagley that trasformed transitional issues in something special, helping Bendis to create an atmosphere, a feeling. Reading USM 112 you will find a different Peter. The characters don’t seem the Characters of the first 111 issues: they look flat, they “feel” flat. I’m sorry to say so, but I hope Immonen won’t last long, because this 112 issue was like reading one of those spin-off series that get closed in 12 months. 🙁
    Ultimate Spidey needs a top artist.
    Needs a Kubert, a Madureira, a Romita, even Deodato was a better choice than Immonen!!!

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