Weekly Comic Book Reviews for November 5, 2008: Part 2

Ultimatum #1
Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Steve Firchow

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10
Art: 8.5/10
Overall: 7.25/10

Review: I have made no bones since Batman: Hush all of Loeb’s books have ranged from just barely average to just horrendous reads. And in the past 4 years the only comic that I enjoyed that was written by Loeb is Fallen Son #5. With the news earlier this week of Loeb got fired of Heroes, which is another post all together, it looks like Loeb may be focusing on writing more comics now in his extra time.

It may seem that from what I just said that I did not like this issue and actually thought this issue was Loeb’s best work since Batman: Hush and Fallen Son #5. This may not be saying much but by the time I finished reading the issue I am now very interested in the next issue of this cross-over. Unlike the final three issues of Ultimate Power that Loeb wrote he was able to write all of the characters involved in line with their current characterization. And this issue works well because it quickly presented all the characters that are going to be players in the event as well as introducing the villain withouut dragging it out like one of the other events currently being produced (cough*Final Crisis*cough).

Now even though I enjoyed this issue I thought that this being a quick read also hurt the issue since we are told, or lead to believe, that a lot of the Ultimate heroes are dead without their actual bodies being showed. And when it comes to death in comics, tv, and movies a character is not dead until the reader/viewer sees the actual dead bodies.

While I don’t really care about it I think a lot of Ultimate Spider-Man fans will be upset that Loeb spoils the still ongoing “War of the Symbiotes” storyline by showing that Gwen survives since she is hanging out with Peter and his gang. Still this is typical for other comics to spoil what happens in other stories that are ongoing in the main titles so I could really care less since this will not take away from my enjoyment for the final chapter of Bendis title.

Also the final reveal was kind of ruined by since the same last spread was used to promote Ultimatum. Also since I did not read Ultimates 3 I may be out of the loop but how in the hell did Magneto get Thor’s hammer. This is a pretty big thing to be left out of the story. Loeb could have at least had Thor mention that he is missing his hammer and it is why he is using a sword now.

David Finch provided Ultimatum with the blockbuster movie feel that Loeb is going for. I especially love the spread of a flooded New York City and the final spread of Magneto sitting on his throne on Asteroid X. It gave him a proper larger than look that is needed for a good hook ending.

X-Men/Spider-Man #1
Creative Team
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mario Alberti

Issue Rating
Story: 8.6/10
Art: 8.3/10
Overall: 8.45/10

Review: After reading so many stories from both Marvel and DC were both companies are trying to take all of there characters to be as dark as possible it nice reading stories like X-Men/Spider-Man that pays homage to the Silver Age of Marvel before they went all dark and edgy with their comics. This story takes place in the early part of the Gwen Stacy-era and Gage properly gives a voice that sounds like this could be a Silver Age story. With things like Marvel’s Masterwork reprints of the old stories I have been able to read these old storie of Spider-Man and the X-Men.

It has been very rare to see Spider-Man team-up with the X-Men outside of Wolverine so it was interesting that Gage used the fear of mutants and the hate JJ has for Spider-Man in order for the X-Men to look for Spider-Man to help them out. It is fun to see how hard of a time the X-Men have with finding out were Spider-Man is when he was right in front of their eyes without them knowing. Scott’s reaction to Flash Thompson asking Jean to dance, and Jean’s acceptance in order to see if Flash is Spider-Man, was priceless. The same can be said when Angel and Bobby ask MJ and Gwen to dance. Seeing how Scott, Peter, and Harry react and confront the guy that took their girls was a good distraction for the fight that happens in the club their in.

I thought it was an interesting choice that Kraven turned out to be the villain, with some help from the Blob, that all the X-Men and Spider-Man fight. While I initially question the decision by the time the fight started those question went away and I just enjoyed the great fight and banter the fight provide between all those involved. Kraven really took all of the X-Men through the ringer since he has able to injure each one of the X-Men and take them out one by one. With Blob’s also in the fight it help distract Spider-Man so that this would not be another Spider-Man vs Kraven issue and instead allowed for a fight that has not happend before in my recollection.

The final reveal that Kraven was working for Mr. Sinister in order for Kraven to get blood samples of all the X-Men was interesting and I wonder what Gage has in store in future issue with these blood samples and what Mr. Sinister plans to do to Kraven to “help” him.

Mario Alberti provided some great artwork that gives this issue the proper Silver Age setting. All of the character designs are similar to how Kirby use to draw these characters and the fight scene tells flows very well. And while the artwork may not look as good as some of the major artist in the business like Alex Ross, Alberti art is able to tell the story that is sure to attract readers who are looking for a comic that can tell a story not only through the dialog but also the artwork.