Ultimate Spider-Man #119
By Zak Edwards
March 8, 2008 - 18:54
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Stuart Immonen
So Liz Allen is Firestar. Liz Allen has become what she hates more than anything in the entire world: a mutant. But by the end of issue #119 of Ultimate Spider-Man, she’s really okay with it. The “mutant coming to grips with their abilities” is nothing new to the comic book medium, it happens all the time in X-Men comics. Mark Millar has done some wonderful stories in the early Ultimate X-Men comic books using this story mold, but he is also drawing on a concept that has been utilized for decades. So when I am presented with a comic book that uses a very common concept, I have to find if it does something different, something new and fresh with the old ideas. Ultimate Spider-Man has based much of its success off of the fresh reinvention of previously visited concepts, so does it continue to do so? Sort of.
Bendis really does have an unoriginal story here. Liz Allen goes through much of the similar feelings and reactions that a lot of other characters go through. She blames Johnny Storm for her powers, denies she is a mutant, gets angry and sad. Then, almost in the blink of an eye, Liz Allen is learning how to control her powers with a big smile on her face questioning why she would have to go to school when she can light things on fire. So does Bendis really do something different here? Not really. Liz Allen’s change seems to quick, too instant to be believable. But an entire issue or arc dedicated to Liz Allen’s feelings would be a little melodramatic and time consuming. So Bendis uses what he has to bridge the gap between Liz Allen, mutant hater, to Liz Allen, mutant. Besides, judging from the final panel, Liz is far from completely coming to terms with what has happened. Bendis uses his amazing characterization of both Peter Parker and his supporting cast to create some humourous scenes and realistic responses that have feeling and mood to them. This helps mask the monotony of the plot. But beyond using his characters, Bendis hasn’t done anything truly original. What Bendis does accomplish is an engaging experience despite seeing it all before. Most of the meat of the story involves groups of characters simply standing around talking, but it is interesting and keeps attention. Overall, the story, despite is unoriginal nature, works well and keeps the audience engaged through great characterization.
Stuart Immonen had some fun this issue, especially with Iceman. Everywhere in this issue, the background is crowded with Iceman’s slides going off in random directions. It’s really quite humourous. Imagine the dangers of these giant pieces of ice, hundreds of feet in the air. He’s a danger and doesn’t even realize it! Immonen’s scenes with the kids talking have a subdued expression to them, as if they are not really as dramatic as they should be. The words coming out of their mouths make sense, but some places their expressions seem too laid back. But for the scenes with Spider-Man, Iceman, and Liz Allen talking with the fire and the masks and the ice, Immonen performs much better. His action scenes are as amazing as ever and he continues to do a great job without delays.
7/10 Not as perfect a fusion of art and script as the last issue but makes a predictable plot engaging.
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