In which the topic of ‘going all the way’ comes up

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Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since the series began!  The burning question on the lips of every fanboy out there, “Does Spider-Man Love Mary Jane?”  And more importantly, do they love each other enough that the issue brings up the topic of doing it for the first time?  And even more importantly, do they do it?  If the cover featuring a shot of Q’Sada Soda is any indication, fun times await inside.

usmannualcover.jpgMarvel picked a perfect week to release Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3, because at the heart of the story is the introduction of the headless horseman himself – Mysterio.  It’s too bad Mysterio doesn’t look anything like Bruce Campbell, because that would have totally rocked.  Still, there is a great little Inside Man action going on, that requires the cooperation of Spider-Man, the NYC Police Department, and a little help from Mary Jane.

This annual is full of great moments – important moments – for Spider-Man’s development as a hero..  This annual will mark the time the police actually thank him for helping, and it looks like the shoot first, ask later attitude is starting to wane.  This is great for Peter as he’s on his way to becoming a true hero, instead of that masked freak that J. Jonah Jameson professes every chance he gets.

Jessica Jones also offers up moments that could be problematic for everyone at the school, and readers are offered a glimpse of the reporter she could become.  Although, thankfully she doesn’t try to tell Mary Jane, or anyone else, that they are out of touch with society because Spider-Man doesn’t have a MySpace page.

A Spider-Man issue, even an Ultimate Spider-Man issue, just wouldn’t be a Spider-Man issue if it wasn’t packed with humor.  And this issue has it in spades.  There’s even a reference to Secret Invasion, with an out of control Spider-Woman screaming for everyone to embrace change.  Nice touch, Bendis.  I’m just glad Marvel didn’t try to put a Secret Invasion banner on the cover to increase sales.  Seriously though, that Q’Sada Soda still has me giggling.

Unfortunately, Stuart Immonen doesn’t provide the art for the annual. Instead, David Lafuente steps in to offer up a more manga look to the characters.  If you are a big eyes, small mouth fan, check out Spider-Man’s mask which features eyes that almost envelope the entire face. The change in artist shouldn’t come as a surprise, as a no regular series artist seems to be the norm with the annuals. If Mark Bagley had been available, it would have been a nice “How d’ you do.” to long term fans of the series.  The sudden change in art (the last USM issue arrived just a few weeks ago) is enough to pull one out of the issue for a few moments.

This is the second issue of Ultimate Spider-Man that Bendis has told a complete story in a single issue.  It’s both odd, and inspiring.  His dialog is fast and furious.  The pacing from panel to panel makes this 33-page issue (not counting ads) read like a regular monthly.  The humor and snarky Spider-quips are some of the best we’ve seen in a while.  The action and villains are cranked up that much more.  It’s almost as if Bendis has tapped into some Dini-geist, that makes one hope he continues this method of storytelling for a few more issues before hitting the decompression wall again.

Oh, and that whole Peter Parker and Mary Jane getting it on thing?  It is handled so perfectly.  With teenage pregnancy, and teen sex on the lips of every conservative out there, Bendis handled the MJ/Parker sex talk so well, and knowing they do the right thing (for now), makes you root for these two star-crossed lovers.  Here’s hoping there’s no Ultimate Mephisto.  Personally, if they had decided to make with the snoo snoo, I wouldn’t have minded, as I’m on the opposite end of the prudish spectrum, but it makes the issue so much more interesting with the way Bendis dealt with it.

I’ve been on a kick of rating comics pretty high these last couple of weeks, and for good reason – there are some great stories being told.  Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 is no exception, earning 4.5 out 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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3 Comments

  1. Frankie
    October 30, 2008 at 11:59 pm — Reply

    Man I would usually agree with you on comics….but I would have to say in my humble opinion this issue sucked….much like the Ultimate Captain America annual.

    And I am glad Peter and MJ didnt have sex, because they’re 15 and that would be rather lame and complicated. Good for the story maybe…but if one wants to find teen sex they can watch about any tv show or movie to find it.

    It would be refreshing for one girl to keep her legs closed and one guy to keep they’re snake caged.

  2. Martin
    October 31, 2008 at 11:29 am — Reply

    Your comments re large eyes and Spidey’s mask reminded me of this old Kurtz strip:

    http://www.pvponline.com/2005/04/29/fri-apr-29/

  3. Brother129
    November 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    So I’m confused…is Ultimate Spider-Man the book I was supposed to find a young, unmarried Peter Parker? Now it’s the book where I can find Peter and MJ exploring a normal relationship that actually evolves and isn’t written out of existence for the sake of convenience. Yep…still bitter.

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