Monday, August 22, 2005

This Comic Is Good - Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

I have praised this issue to anyone who would listen, but never got around to putting anything up about it here, which I shall fix now.

I think Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 was the best written issue of Ultimate Spider-Man since #13, and seeing as how the title is in the #80s, that is either quite heady praise for the Annual, or a demonstration of my low esteem for Ultimate Spider-Man (I choose the former).

A word about the art. I did not really like Mark Brooks' art on the Annual all that much. He was quite good at the action sequences, but the "just hanging around" scenes, which were the majority of the issue, I think he really dropped the ball on them. However, even when I was not a fan of his artwork, it served the main purpose of not distracting the reader from the writing, which was the highlight of the comic.

Meanwhile, I was also disappointed by Dave "My favorite colorist in the world" Stewart's work on the issue. Everything seemed to glow. Which is really weird when it is, like, Peter Parker on the telphone...and he is radiating light.

So with the artistic drawbacks, for me to still really like the comic, the story must have been really good, eh?

Yes, yes it was.

With this issue, Bendis achieves two things:

1. He makes the Annual feel like a "special" thing, which is a hard achievement in this age of constant hype.

2. He gives us a nice, heartfelt and yes, in its own way, realistic, look at what would happen if two young superheroes wanted to date.

The basic gist of the issue is that Kitty Pryde and Peter Parker both feel like outsiders at their schools, and both of them are coming off breakups (Kitty with Iceman and Peter with Mary Jane), so Kitty decides to take the initiative and call up Peter Parker, who she remembers from a previous team-up.

Bendis handles the scene well.

In fact, probably the most impressive thing in the entire issue, in my estimation, is the little things that Bendis nails perfectly. For instance, after talking to Kitty, what does Peter do? He googles her, to remind himself what she looks like! Ha!

And, later, at the end of the issue, Kitty's e-mail to Peter is spot on - "We made Yahoo."

Bendis shows a lot of care for these characters, and it shows.

In addition, Bendis' dialogue is the most realistic and effective that I have seen it since Jinx! Remember how good Bendis' dialogue was in Jinx? How natural and unaffected it seemed?

That was what it was like in this issue, and the dialogue was interesting as well.

The characters are both interesting, and we can see why they are interested in each other.

Good stuff.

And the two sappy scenes worked very well (the kiss in the spotlight of the X-Jet and the looks on their faces at the end as they read their e-mails to each other).

This is a very special issue of Ultimate Spider-Man that gives "very special issues" a good name.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous thekamisama said...

Why do you people always say these things and make me think I might regret the fact that I only get Ultimates and am a complete Nazi in my not wanting to read any of the other books!?!?!

8/22/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger James Meeley said...

Great breakdown of the issue (although I think I enjoyed Brooks art a bit more than you). Ulitmate Spider-Man has been running hot and cold with me (from issue to issue, not even arc to arc), so for Bendis to pull out a great story like this gives me hope that he's still got somegood stuff let to say in this series.

And it's funny, but I think you might want to stop by my blog, as I just did a small piece on the recent success of these new Ultimate line annuals, and why it's not nearly as much of surprise as some might think. I think it touched on some of the things you mentioned in your review here.

8/22/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

But James, had I stopped by before I wrote it, then I would have felt like a horrible plagarist!

8/22/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger James Meeley said...

Brian:

It's only being a plagarist, if there's money involved. And I doubt either of us is making any from our blogs (I know I'M not). ;)

Be that as it may, I still hope you enjoyed the piece. And thanks for stopping by. :)

8/22/2005 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I actually hadn't read your piece yet when I wrote that, I was joshing around.

That being said, I think your point is certainly valid (and so is Greg's, who replied to you on your blog) - when one makes the Annuals out to be something special, fans NOTICE.

Just like they are noticing with the Ultimate Annuals (so far).

8/23/2005 03:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Morts said...

I'm just pleased as punch because I was the first person on CBR to guess that it was Kitty.

Seemed obvious, to me.

8/23/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lex said...

When I started reading comics in the 90's, annuals were one of two things.

1.) A showcase for new talent (sometimes not very good talent).

2.) One part of a larger, horrendously awful event.

So, I applauded Marvel's idea to bring back annual issues with an eye to what they originally were: something special that the regular readers want to pick up, like you guys have already mentioned.

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 is the first Ultimate Marvel book that I've actually paid money for and the very first time I've read Ultimate Spider-Man. I was pleasently surprised. It was really well written (I kept thinking, "Is this the same guy who wrote Avengers Dissassembled?"). The story was great. It hit a lot of emotional buttons that rang true (no shock) and there was a lot of fun throughout the whole story. It's exactly what I look for in a comic.

This issue made me seriously reconsider my opinion of the Ultimate line. I'll definately buy the other Ultimate Annuals and, perhapse, start picking up trades of the old material.

8/23/2005 09:52:00 PM  
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