Ultimate Spider-Man #119


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Ultimate Spider-Man #119


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Stuart Immonen
  • Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends Part 2
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 27, 2008

Brian Michael Bendis literally breathed new life into his aging title Ultimate Spider-Man last year with the critically acclaimed update of the 1990s Clone Saga. Since that time the quality of the book’s fluctuated pretty drastically. The "Ultimate Knights" storyline was spotty at best and the more recent "Death of a Goblin" arc could have been classic had it not been for the completely botched ending. Add in the recent replacement of longtime series artists Mark Bagley with Stuart Immonen on top of the rumors that the Ultimate line is about to go extinct and you have a recipe for an unmitigated disaster.

Luckily Bendis was able to once again reinvigorate the book last month by removing the spandex from the equation and allowing all of the major teen members of the cast, not to mention the Human Torch and Iceman, to spend a day relaxing at the beach culminating with mutant hater Liz Allen unleashing her formerly latent mutant abilities. Unfortunately, this month is witness to yet another slip in quality as Spidey and Iceman spend nearly twenty-two pages trying to convince Liz Allen, the new Firestar, to become a superhero.

This would be well and good and all except for the fact that we’ve seen almost this exact same story before in USM. Early on in the run Spider-Man confronted another mutant whose powers had just gone live and convinced him, along with help from the other X-Men, to use his powers for good instead of just impressing people at parties. Despite that happening nearly a hundred issues earlier, Bendis delivers more of the same. The final page arrival of Magneto or the promise of yet another team up with the X-Men doesn’t really get me excited for the conclusion to this arc either.

There are a couple of solid character moments throughout however. Kong confronts Peter about being Spider-Man in a fairly tight scene and the banter between Peter and Bobby works nicely as well. Stuart Immonen also does a decent job this month, although I’m still having a difficult time adjusting from Mark Bagley’s now iconic take on these characters. Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake are nearly indistinguishable from each other in the hands of Immonen, and in a couple of long shots it’s even difficult to decipher between Mary Jane and Kitty Pryde, which is outright blasphemy.

All of the momentum Ultimate Spider-Man had going for it last month came to a screeching halt with the arrival of Firestar. This concept’s received a lot of backlash on the forums but I, for one, was looking forward to the new take on this classic lineup. Hopefully Bendis can salvage things somewhat in the final installment next month, but one can’t help but feel that this arc would have been better executed if it had an issue or two more to properly develop. So far, nearly everything has seemed pretty rushed.

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