Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Review Station

September 14th, 2011 by | Tags: ,

A quickie, since today looks to be dumb busy at work:

I reviewed Ultimate Spider-Man for ComicsAlliance. Creative team’s Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Justin Ponsor. Here’s a few random excerpts:

In a development that will surprise absolutely no one, Sara Pichelli (art) and Justin Ponsor (color art) absolutely knock their half of the book out of the park. Since this is a quiet issue, Pichelli doesn’t get a chance to really chew into any action sequences with her usual flair. Due to the absence of action sequences, we’re left looking at Pichelli’s other skills: fashion, body language, facial acting, and everything else that comes into play when drawing people.

Ponsor’s color art is pretty good, too, and a great complement to Pichelli’s art. There’s a page around the middle of the book that features five characters of a few different races. There are five different skin tones present in the scene. That’s something that is painfully rare in cape comics, even when talented colorists are doing otherwise virtuoso work on the page. I don’t know that this is worthy of praising Ponsor to the high heavens–“He got it right when everyone else didn’t, even though they should have!” only goes so far–but I definitely appreciated seeing this sort of attention paid to race in a Marvel comic.

A lot was made of Marvel’s new black Spider-Man by everyone who heard about the character, whether they were for or against the idea. I was pretty pleased to see that the issue of Miles’s race got just the amount of attention it needed in this issue: none. Setting aside the difficulty in explaining the complicated racial and ethnic overlap and intersection between blacks and Latinos — a subject that is probably too complicated for cape comics — Miles and his family are presented as just like any other family in comics. He doesn’t fight roving bands of racists, the Klan, or talk about how he’s from the hood. He’s got a family, his parents want his life to be better than theirs, and they love him very much. He’s normal, and that’s just as it should be.

Despite my qualms about the length and price point, this first issue hooked me. Miles Morales isn’t Peter Parker, his status quo isn’t Peter Parker’s, and his powers have just enough of a twist (hinted at early in the story) that they aren’t exactly Peter’s either. I wanted Bendis to impress me with this issue, and he did. My complaints really boil down to how much space he was given to impress me, rather than anything he did wrong, exactly. This is good comics, and the start of something cool.

And I seriously want to shake Bendis and Pichelli’s hands for introducing an Ultimate version of one of my all-time favorite members of Spidey’s supporting cast.

The new Ultimate character is Prowler, but not Hobie Brown.

I’m mad I left the scare quotes off the one time I said “black Spider-Man.” Turns out being passive-aggressive and snarky late at night is tougher than I expected.

Four bucks for twenty pages is 2011% garbage, but I liked it. If I’d paid for it, I might feel otherwise, I dunno. Anybody read this yet? Spoil away in the comments.

Marvel can seriously blow me over that price, though. Disgusting.

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8 comments to “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Review Station”

  1. Good setup. Like that they didn’t call out “He’s Black yo!” in the narrative at all. He just happens to be black. Curious to see how this plays out.

    But $3.99 for a 20 page comic book? C’mon son!

    I guess Marvel is hoping that the rage over the new pricing dies down and we all just accept it. As usual.

  2. Looking to picking up the hopefully before the end of the week. I’ve seen a few comments around the net about how good a start this is.
    My real hope that the commitment by both Marvel and DC to increase diversity continues and that Parker isn’t resurrected in two years…though I’m sure he will be at some point.

    As far as the price point is concerned, the only way to stand up to it is with our wallets, not buy those books, and pick up a trade on Amazon at their discounted rate. Are buyers really going to do that with their “must have” books?

  3. Yeah, no way is that price going to change. If sales drop, it’s canceled. Sucks.

  4. I loved this issue; I know it was kind of short for its price, but I’m willing to keep buying it.

    Also, I didn’t think it was Ult. Prowler; for some reason I thought it was yet another Ult. Deadpool, thanks for the clarification

  5. I thought it was a good origin-story issue, but I get kind of tired of those. I wouldn’t have minded the story picking up with Miles already being the new Spider-Man and then later flashing back for some of this stuff. It was still very solid storytelling, however. The thing that bugged me more than the $3.99 was the poly-bag, though. What is with Marvel poly-bagging all these comics lately? The Death of Ultimate Peter Paker, The first Ultimate Ultimates issue, this, probably Ultimate X-Men. It’s just a waste of plastic and keeps me from looking over an issue to see if I even want to buy it. Wait….ahhhhhh, now I get their plan.

  6. Oh man. I’m too broke to buy monthlies right now really, but Ultimate Hobie Brown as Spider-Man sounds [i]awesome][/i].

  7. I was tempted to get it on ComiXology (which is on-fire on iOS, right now) but the $3.99 ran me off. I don’t like to pay that much for physical comics. I sure don’t want to pay that much for the digital version. $2.99 is already too much but palatable.

  8. @david brothers: exactly. this “vote with your wallet” stuff is for the birds.