Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #4

By Zak Edwards
November 10, 2011 - 13:15

I think I'm finally over myself with this title.  For those of you who have been reading my reviews of this book, you are probably rolling your eyes at my continued lamenting of the passing of the status quo in this book.  It’s true, I miss Peter and Gwen and Mary-Jane and Aunt May because they were some of the most fully realized characters in superhero comics today.  Writer Brian Michael Bendis could and did write entire issues without so much as a whiff of Spider-Man, where these characters did little more than stand around and talk, and those were some of the best issues in the series.  But they have left the building and replacing them are a new set of interesting, unique, and beautifully illustrated characters, and all I can do is complain about where the others are.

Well, Bendis answers these complaints this issue with a giant middle finger and I am left appreciating the book, and the writer’s willingness to upset things at such a basic level, much, much more.  All the characters I mentioned are back this issue, and not in the way I would have liked.  Instead, Bendis replays many of the events of the Death of Spider-Man from new Spider-Man Miles Morales perspective, line-for line, and offers a couple of scenes where Miles interacts with Gwen Stacey, albeit very briefly. Really, it's just a nice send-off to the characters and, while I know Gwen, Mary-Jane and Co. are going to pop up, I appreciate Bendis’ approach in this book a lot more now.  In other words, I think I’m over myself and I can sit back and realize how good the new elements of the story are.  That being said, I really appreciate Gwen’s interactions with Miles simply because she was one of the best characters in the book that was terribly utilized in so many cases.  But her character stood out so prominently against the still-forming main cast that it was a nice send-off to her.  I’m also appreciating Miles more now, although that may be simply because he is starting to act more like Peter than ever, complete with self-aware monologue.  I relate to him more as he abandons his quiet demeanour in favour of becoming more like Peter, and I’m not sure this is a good thing for a book trying something new.  That being said, Ultimate Comics: All-New Spider-Man is a fun read, making up for the lack of originality last issue by, ironically, copy-and-pasting an extremely recent story-line.  And on top of all this, Bendis doesn’t even really have a central villain, keeping the book’s focus on Miles and abandoning an integral part of the genre, however temporarily, to continue to be different.  All-New?  You bet.

Sara Pichelli, the driving force of my continued purchase of this book, is still handing in some of the best work of her career (well, as much of it as I am familiar with).  Emotive, fluid, wonderfully coloured by series mainstay Justin Ponsor, there isn’t another person this book could be in the better hands of right now, including amazing past artists like Stuart Immonen and Mark Bagley.  And you can see Bendis’ reliance on her emotive capacity grow every issue.  More and more, Bendis is taking a step back on his dialogue to let Pichelli communicate with the pictures.  Many of the best exchanges in this issue are silent, and its nice to see the relationship between the creators as the series progresses.  I sincerely hope Picheilli sticks around for a very long time, she is beyond a perfect match, she is actually making the book, and writer, better with each issue.

Grade: A-    Bold, new, and taking a stance as a good idea.  Finally I get it.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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