Ultimate Spider-Man #113
By Zak Edwards
September 13, 2007 - 23:21
Ultimate Spider-Man has been on a high for the past few issues, starting with the conclusion to the ‘Marvel Knights’ arc, through ‘the talk’ issue and continuing into this Death of a Goblin story. The timing could not be more perfect, with these three issues also being the gradual change in artist, from long time penciller, Mark Bagley, to the new penciller, Stuart Immonen. If readers were feeling any anxiety with the new artistic style, at least the writing was keeping them satisfied. Unfortunately, the new high has been suspended for this issue to make way for a character analysis of Norman Osbourne, aka, the Green Goblin.
Bendis supplies his audience with an in-depth look at Ultimate Spider-Man’s most constant nemesis, yet reveals nothing new about him. Everything Norman thinks and says in this issue, which is the entire issue, is already familiar ground with long-time readers. Audiences know that Norman feels that he is above humanity, the next step in evolution. They already know that he sees Peter Parker as a sort of son, giving birth to him, and the success of his scientific research. They also know everything else touched on in this issue. Readers do not need Bendis to explain it all again, but he does. That means that over half of this issue is already useless to anyone but a first-time reader. The next part of the issue, Norman’s escape from his prison, is incredibly reminiscent of the first arc of the New Avengers, also written by Bendis. The prison holding most of the world’s most notorious super-villains has been blown wide open and now the world’s heroes are trying to round them up again. You did this not even three years ago! So now roughly two thirds of this issue is now completely useless, being either a reminder of what a character is, or re-hashing plot-lines not even that old. The last part of the story does actually have a point, and is one that has been a recurring theme in Ultimate Spider-Man since the beginning; the idea of public perception and the effect media has on the public. The idea is very well thought out, and is conveyed through an interview with Norman, fitting perfectly. Here Bendis is successful for this issue. Not only does this move the plot forward, but also relates to how easily things can be twisted for our eyes by the media. Bendis reminds his audience not everything put on paper or television screens should be immediately accepted as truth. His audience doesn’t believe this segment of the news, why should they in the real world? Norman Osbourne shows himself to be a a formidable opponent again with this strike against S.H.I.E.L.D. Even with these themes being brought back, it does not make up for the rest of the issue, but rather makes the last five pages in the issue the only part worth reading.
Visually, though, almost the whole issue is worth looking at. Immonen conveys the action of the prison escape with flow and grace with his high action shots breaking through panel after panel and almost leaping off the page. Letterer Cory Petit avoids clogging these panels with Norman’s issue-wide inner monologue, keeping the art at the forefront. Things drop slightly for the interview, with the newswomen’s faces looking very awkward. They look very gaunt, like if the colourer shaded them gray or green instead of fleshy tones, they would be zombies. Some characters are difficult to recognize, leaving readers to guess if some of the cast made an appearance or not. Nevertheless, Immonen’s art continues to be on par with the man he succeeded, it will just take some time to adjust to.
6/10 Almost completely redundant plot is saved by good art an a great last five pages.
Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25
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