Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16
By Zak Edwards
October 23, 2012 - 12:45
I have had a tenuous relationship with Ultimate Spider-Man since its relaunch with new protagonist Miles Morales. Not because the new cast wasn’t engaging, they are, or the idea of a new Spider-Man is just too frustrating or not like it 'should' be or something equally possessive, because the shadow of Peter Parker is working wonders here, my problem with the ‘All-New’ Ultimate Spider-Man seems more like ‘Re-Hash’ of the older issues, as if it’s more regurgitating the great ideas of five to ten years ago. This makes the whole thing read like there’s a glory days to the title of days gone by. This issue feels it more than most and is certainly not helped by trying to shoehorn itself into the "United We Stand" crossover event.
Of course, the series has been strong even as it says things over again, sometimes things do just sort of play out the same again and the overlap of Miles and Peter serves specific functions when it doesn’t sound like laziness on Brian Bendis’ behalf. What the problem is that the book feels past its due date because it’s only somewhat entertaining. The shadow of the crossover looms, the Divided We Fall/United We Stand crossover events have rarely felt that impacting in the actual events simply because the titles involved all seem to want to tell their own stories still. It does beg to question why Spider-Man is involved at all, both in terms of the character (which is an example of the Peter-Miles overlap actually working) and the title (which only seems to suffer from its involvement). Miles wanting to be recruited to the Ultimates was something Peter also wanted, or to be at least given the chance to prove himself, and having an even younger, even more inexperienced character fighting with Captain America over it is actually working. Why Spider-Man needs to be present for Captain America doing presidential press conferences only shows how much the book just doesn’t fit in with the others (just as the others don't seem to fit with each other too). The crossover pull isn’t working here and having Miles somewhat involved in the event as Bendis tries to keep his own plots alive just shows there isn’t enough space, and the book suffers for that. So while some aspects that make this book great are here, everything feels too quick, too big, and too silly for a title that has survived on character work and small moments.
Another big glory day problem is the art. I know where Sarah Pichelli went but I want her back. Or Stuart Immonen, or Mark Bagley, or any of the other myriad of artists who made this book look and feel as good as it is. Pepe Larraz can handle the action sequences well, they look like scenes I’ve seen under artists who can construct an action sequence a little better, but his character work only highlights how the book isn’t being what it has proven to be. Of course, there isn’t a whole lot to work with, Miles spends a lot of time under a mask and the characters spend even more time fighting things, but the book just doesn’t look very good. The cover kind of speaks to it all: kind of generic, attempting to reel you in, but mostly faded into the background like the Ultimates here.
Grade: 6/10 Not good. Not terrible, but certainly leaving me worried for the series.
Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00