Marvel Comics
Ultimate Spider-Man #153
By Zak Edwards
January 31, 2011 - 16:18

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Sara Pichelli & David Lafuente
Colourist(s): Justin Ponsor
Letterer(s): Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s): J. Scott Campbell & Justin Ponsor
$3.99 US

I haven’t reviewed Ultimate Spider-Man very much recently and I think, coming back to it as a New Year’s resolution, I know why I let it go by the wayside.  I didn’t stop reading it and I certainly have remained more or less equally excited every time a new issue comes out, but I think the reason I stopped writing about it is because of its consistency.  Ultimate Spider-Man has remained about a 7.5-8 in my head for a very long time now.  It has had some moments which made me roll my eyes a bit, like the “extras” of issue 150, which were just reprints of things I’ve seen before, or how quick Gwen came back after she ran out of the house (the next issue).  But there have been amazing moments as well, including the integration of a former supervillain into the high school crowd and how well Bendis writes the main, really expanded cast so well, their interactions are amazing the whole way through.  But of all the changes and all the things that have happened, it has more or less remained the same.

And this issue is no different, even as the prologue of sorts to the “Death of Spider-Man” story arc I am not looking forward to in any capacity, the book is retaining a level of quality and expectation which rarely falters.  Some serious things get resolved here in great ways, including the recent Peter and Gwen relationship dynamic which has been going on for a while now.  Of course, they can’t go back to being ‘just friends’ very easily and part of me is disappointed in the changing dynamics of their relationship, but it’s nice for them to try.  At the very least, Gwen and Peter are some of the most sincere people in the book and they believe the words coming out of their mouths.  I am excited about the notion of someone trying to teach Peter how to be a superhero, with Peter and Iron Man’s dynamic set up to be fairly hilarious already, even if most of the comedy is fairly out of character for Tony Stark, who I can’t see making the mistake of just showing up at the Parker residence like he does.  With Bendis setting so much up for future arcs, from the Black Cat and Mysterio arc, the ongoing dramas of the three boys and their school life, and Spider-Man’s own training, this “Death of Spider-Man” is beginning to feel like less of it’s namesake in a literal fashion.  As a big fan of this series, I sincerely hope Bendis and Mark Millar don’t mess things up too much.

Sara Pichelli and David Lafuente, both with the ever-constant colourist Justin Ponsor, are as strong as ever.  I love both of their styles (much more so than cover artist J. Scott Campbell, whom, along with Frank Cho, Michael Turner, and David Finch, I have little time for) and they continue to capture the energy and fun of Bendis’ writing, squeezing in great expression and movement in between Bendis’ many, many speech bubbles.  I’m always amazed at how all the extremely talented artists Bendis gets are able to fit in everything he requires visually with the lack of space.  The Black Cat subplot is given plenty of room, being fairly sparse on the dialogue, but the Peter arc is very much less so.  Another note: usually issues with multiple artists just look terrible, but the division of work into distinct stories and the artists’ styles being kind of similar, the issue flows surprisingly well.  Another all-round great issue for Ultimate Spider-Man.

Grade: A-    But I’m still apprehensive of the next few issues!

Related Articles:
Review: Ultimate Chicken Horse
Bluefin Announces Ultimate Muhammad Ali Action Figure
Review: Gears of War Ultimate Edition
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #23 Review
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16.1 Review
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16
Ultimate Comics: Iron Man #1
The Ultimates #16 Review
The Ultimates #15 Review
Ultimate Comics X-Men #16 Review