Ultimate Spider-Man #128
By Zak Edwards
December 1, 2008 - 19:14
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Stuart Immonen
Inker(s): Wade von Grawbadger
Colourist(s): Justin Ponsor
Letterer(s): Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s): Stuart Immonen and Richard Isanove
Bendis ends his War of the Symbiotes arc with a lot of bangs and crashes and, unfortunately for anyone who read Ultimatum #1, the big surprise ending was ruined already. Go bad scheduling. And while this latest issue of one of my favourite super-hero titles going is aesthetically pleasing, it has some serious flaws on the storytelling front. But where Bendis comes up short in the script, Stuart Immonen draws what he does best, and the action heavy issue draws many of its strong point from the art.
And short it is, the whole comic book can be read in about three minutes, no exaggeration. There is heavy dialogue in the beginning and very end, but the majority of the issue is fighting. Carnage vs. Venom, Venom vs. Spider-Man, Aunt May vs. Eddie Brock. Yes, that’s right, Aunt May is one bad ass character and it is easy to see why she is so intimidating to all sorts of people, from Peter himself to the media mogul J. Jonah Jameson. Her confrontation is one of the highlights of the issue. But there are the weak points of the story. The first problem stems during the fight between Eddie Brock, i.e Venom without the Venom symbiote, and Carnage, i.e Carnage with a whole lot of Gwen Stacey. As soon as she touches him, its over as Eddie apparently had some symbiote in him all along and was not telling anyone. While this may appear to be very sneaky on Eddie’s behalf, it comes across as a deus ex machina for Bendis. An “it was there the whole time and I just didn’t tell you” is frustrating to say the least. The other main problem I have with this issue is the out of nowhere, “Gwen is fine and everyone accepts it,” aspect of the conclusion. While, like many other fans, most of whom were much more vocal, I did not enjoy the initial death of Gwen Stacey, I’m not sure bringing her back in such a strange way is good either. That being said, I am torn. I always enjoyed Bendis’ Ultimate version of Gwen Stacey and I’m glad she’s back in the sense of having more stories involving her. I’m just disappointed in the how, but looking forward to how Bendis deals with things like her going back to school and such. Despite these two major problems and the short length of the book, any action-packed issue of Ultimate Spider-Man has the wonderful talents of Stuart Immonen to rely on, so it is still a very enjoyable comic book.
Stuart Immonen has always excelled at the action shots in this series, and this issue is no exception. The battle between the symbiotes, in all their gloopy red and black glory are very cool to see. Immonen really abandons human anatomy for a lot of the fight between them, instead giving them a much more mythic look. They are truly monstrosities Spider-Man in no way can deal with and Immonen’s art really depicts this well. Even when Spider-Man does interfere in their fight, it’s almost laughable because of how Immonen shows the two fighting. And the new kind of Venom that is shown at the end of the issue is very different, evolving the look of the character. The lettering of the Eddie Brock/ Venom character is very cool as well, with the tyoe of speech bubble fully reflecting Eddie’s surrender to the symbiote, from white, to white with a scratchy font, to full black bubble. The art team in this issue really put forth something to be proud of.
7/10 Outstanding art, a story with a few holes but still enjoyable.
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