In every generation, a teen-age romance drama series must be created


The teenage drama takes it up another notch this month.  Will Dylan finally ask Brenda out?  Will David and Donna end up together, or will Brian have to spend the rest of his life with Megan Fox?  Tune it to this week’s episode of Ultimate (comics) Spider-Man #4.

Ba-da-da-da-da. Ba-da-da-da-dum.

ultimatespiderman4cover.jpgULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #4
Pencils & Cover by DAVID LAFUENTE

I’m not one to watch One Tree Hill, The O.C., or any of those other shows I’m now too old to get why everyone’s so fascinated with them, but somehow I imagine the plot lines are a lot like the one running in the latest Ultimate (comics) Spider-Man series.  Oh, I’m sure Rachel Bilson isn’t trying to unmask Spider-Man, and Blake LIvely isn’t trying to sleep with every member of the Ultimate (comics) Avengers, but the teenagers are shacking up together, and the lovelorn drama seems like something right out of Dawson’s Creek, or at least Beverly Hills 90210 – which, when it originally aired, I was still too old to understand what the big to-do was all about.

But even with Peter’s new found housemate, Johnny Storm, the adjustments to the living conditions, and MJ confessing her love for Peter, even though he’s now with Gwen, and Gwen saying the three can still be best friends – and let’s not forget the awkward co-worker asking MJ out on a date thing, there’s still some amazing Spider-Man action to be had in this issue.  It’s just too bad it happens so late in the game.  The Hulk is smashing things up again, but it turns out to be another of Mysterio’s illusions.  By the time Peter figures out what is going on, it’s too late as the issue has come to an end, and Mysterio has pounded the snot out of young Master Parker.

Then there is the matter of the Red Hood (not THAT Red Hood) running around fighting crime in a world where mutants have been outlawed.  The good thing is s/he appeared just in the nick of time to save MJ from being kidnapped by some very unscrupulous fellows, which should give Peter a reason to reconsider his relationship with Gwen, or at the very least give MJ someone new to pine over for the next 20 issues or so.

While the issue may seem like a roll-your-eyes, can’t-believe-they-would-go-this-route-story, there are some very nice parts to it.  First is Brian Michael Bendis’ writing. Even during the sappy bits and the uncomfortable moments, Bendis’ delivers snappy dialogue that causes one to speed through the scenes.  There may be a tad to much stammering back and forth for some people’s taste, but it works here amongst the teenagers, and is probably what the young kids are all into these days.  At least Bendis didn’t pepper the issue with a lot of “so like” and “y’know what I’m sayin’” bits.  The frenetic conversations do enhance the swift line drawings of David Lafuente go down easier.

I’ve not been a huge fan of the manga-esque style being showcased in this series, but I think it has finally reached a point where it doesn’t annoy me as much as it has in the past.  The one thing I think Lafuente has finally nailed is page layout, which is the second best part of this issue.  I have no idea how double page spreads are going to read once the whole industry moves to digital comics, but I’m hopeful the e-reader of the future is large enough to allow such design to continue, as Lafuente uses the expanded horizontal format to allow the images to flow with the fast paced verbiage of Bendis.

I’m sure at one point I was begging for more personal moments between MJ, Peter, and Aunt May, but as Ultimate (comics) Spider-Man reboots and re-imagines itself for a whole new generation of readers, I think I’ve had enough of the talky-talky, and really want more of the fighty-fighty – after all, when Krystle and Alexis threw down in the pool, the show was much more interesting.  I’m willing to give Ultimate (comics) Spider-Man four more issues, but for now, the fourth installment only earns 3 out of 5 Stars.


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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  1. Slappy
    November 8, 2009 at 7:31 am — Reply

    On evil is afoot when the Time Trapper is involved.

  2. Greg A
    November 8, 2009 at 9:00 am — Reply

    I have a sneaking suspicion the Hood (boy, Bendis sure loves the The Hood no matter which version of the MU he’s writing, doesn’t he?) will end up being Jessica Drew aka the female Peter Parker clone.

    • Ricco
      November 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm — Reply

      My money is on Kitty Pride, she has ties to Peter and can phase so bullets go through her. Plus the whole “you survived the Ultimatum Wave and this is what you do with your lives!?” speech fits since Logan and so many of her friends died.

  3. Jacin B
    November 9, 2009 at 8:56 am — Reply

    I’m just waiting for Stephen to tell us to get offa his lawn.

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