Ultimate Comics Spider-Man

This week on the show: Ultimate Spider-Man is the ultimate version of Spider-Man. Or is he? Plus, the Flash, video games, and ’70s sci-fi television battle it out!


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Show Notes after the Jump!

Tokyopop shutting down US division LINK

Written by MARK MILLAR
Variant Cover BY FRANK CHO
Death of Spider-Man

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller (cover):  Mark Bagley
The Story: It is the shot heard around the world. Witness the issue comic fans be talking about all year. leave your cynicism at the door… this is the real deal. TheDeath of Spider-Man. Bendis and Bagley reunite for this historic Spider-Man event a decade in the making.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
The award-winning Might & Magic Clash of Heroes is now on XBLA! Live the epic adventure of 5 young Heroes leading their armies to save the world of Might & Magic. Discover a unique mix of RPG and puzzle battle mechanics and experience brand new online and local battle modes for up to 4 players. – Enjoy a 20 hour campaign in the rich Might & Magic universe and learn devastating combos! – Master 10 Faction heroes and spells, 40 creatures with unique abilities and more than 50 artifacts. – Challenge your friends online or offline, in 1 vs 1 or in the brand new 2 vs 2 cooperative mode. – Grow from young hero to fully fledged champion in the exclusive online ranked battle modes.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Flash #10
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
The prelude to next summer’s FLASHPOINT event continues! The new speedster known as Hot Pursuit has arrived on his Cosmic Motorcycle, but what terrible warning has he brought with him? The FLASHPOINT is closing in, and it looks like no one will be safe!

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

This week, we go back, back, back, back, way back to the 1970s and the television viewing habits of our youth – well, some of our youths, as others weren’t born until the mid-’80s, and some of you didn’t arrive until the (gasp) ’90s.
Two television series arrived in the late ’70s to vie for our attention, and capitalize on the Star Wars craze.

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Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1
Collecting the groundbreaking first year of Ultimate Spider-Man in one colossal trade paperback! High school, puberty, first dances – there are many pitfalls to being young. Compound these with intense personal tragedy and superhuman powers, and you can start to visualize the world of Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. Following the murder of his uncle and the Green Goblin’s assault on his high school, Peter finds himself on the brink of manhood: getting a job at the Daily Bugle to help support his widowed aunt and taking on extracurricular activities – such as bringing down the Kingpin, the head of organized crime in New York City! Collects Ultimate Spider-Man #1-13.

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  1. I haven’t listened yet, but it’s cool to see Rodrigo reviewing & apparently liking a game I’ve played & enjoyed (although mine was on the DS release). I’m sure the multiplayer is a lot more fun on XBLA, though.

  2. Good show, good show. I’ve a number of comments about some of the items that came up on the show.

    Tokyopop shutting down – I think Stephen hit closer to the mark than he might have realized. Tokyopop’s library contained a large number of shojo titles – Fruits Basket and the like – aimed at young girls, a segment of the market targeted much more aggressively in recent times. They probably lost a lot of ground there. I’ve also heard that the Japanese publishers are aiming to have a more direct hand in the publishing of manga in the US – that could be a part of it.
    As for translation quality, I haven’t compared a translated Tokyopop title with the original version, but there are things other than just translating that might mark a good translation from a bad one, such as translation notes.

    Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes – Like Mela, I also played this on my DS a while back. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think it is probably the best puzzle RPG to come out in the wake of Puzzle Quest. As for the universe, it is rather generic, but the original Might and Magic universe wasn’t that amazing either, so meh.
    Superhero games – while healing is probably necessary in MMOs, there are different ways to couch healing in the language of the game. If you think about it, we only consider it healing because we have been trained to think of health points as reflective of injuries and bleeding. Again, I recognize that restorative powers are not all that common to superheroes (a point for discussion all by itself), but there should be ways to present it in a more palatable manner.
    Also, if DC or Marvel had any sense, they’d jump on the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) bandwagon while its still hot and license out their characters for such a game. Its a good fit for superheroes.

    Ultimate Spiderman – Rodrigo and Stephen are right that the retelling of old Spidey stories is a strength of the book. Matthew is right in saying that in that case they should have stayed well away from “continuity spaghetti”.
    Oddly enough, I sometimes get the feeling that the Ultimate universe, at least at the outset, was meant to appeal a bit to the manga crowd. The self-contained storyline and the longer arcs made my manga sense tingle.

  3. Wow, some harsh words on manga,
    Personally I think manga is superior to American comics books, be it only because they have 1 author and the art is constant (usually gets better after a few volumes). So no high profile guest author changing the continuity to fit the story he wants to pitch, which means if you like volume one chances are you’ll like the rest of it. Manga is prefered by youths to comic books, basicaly manga has what the comic book industry doesn’t: kids reading it and continuing to read it as they get older. Now if only the American companies could get correct translations and speed up volume releases (they have the demand part of the equation but not the offer)… In some cases they are 10/20 volumes behind French official translations which are a year or so behind monthly releases. Tokyopop closing is to be expected, American manga distributing companies censore the material (blanking or removing content), adding text were there was none, adding odd speech paterns for no real reason and sometimes get the story wrong. Why would anyone pay for that when you can get the full material with correct translations for free?

    Matthew got really serious on his rant (not really a rant but my vocabulary is somewhat limited so I’ll stick with rant for lack of a better word) on the Ultimate new take on old material, but you have to think of the younger readers who don’t know the classic villains/heroes and simply don’t care about what previous writters did with them. They just want to be able to say “I’ve been reading it since volume 1 and know all there is to know about Ultimate *insert title here*”, of course once they hit it big and start having large print numbers they collapse under their own weight…

  4. One thing Matthew needs to keep in mind is that not everyone has his extensive knowledge of comic book characters. My brother and I have enjoyed the Ultimate Spider-books since the beginning. He had never read any 616 and so he was experiencing each of the heroes, villains, and supporting cast for the first time. I, on the other hand, had been reading Spider-Man since the early 90’s, and so got to enjoy all the tweaks and meta-references.

    Just because we older readers can’t separate our knowledge of the old universe with the new doesn’t mean it doesn’t work — it just works differently.

  5. Great issue this week.

    When it comes to Ultimate Spider-man and Ultimate Marvel thats pretty much all I read when it comes to Marvel comics. I know of most of the character from the cartoons I have seen so all this is pretty much new to me. Ultimate Marvel is my real Marvel universe and I can say I am not really interested in reading an 616 title unless its free, not that I think their bad Im just not interested. If it was not for Ultimate Marvel I would not have even thought about readign a comic book and in turn i would not have thought about searching for comic book podcast like yours. So I have to thank Ultimate Marvel for that.

    I really loved this issue though. I may not agree with Matthew or with some of the things Stephen and Rodrigo said towards the end about ending the universe but this was great to listen to. Now that exams are done I will start work again so look foward to some donations from me, $10 alone is worth it just for this issue alone. Thanks for all the work you guys do.

  6. Christina Anderson on

    Did not the Ultimate ‘universe’ stories do the SAME EXACT THING that DC did with Legion after the Crisis? (with all the re-hashing ‘with a twist!’ bull)

  7. Good show! I do take issue with the comments on manga. I read manga almost exclusively these days, except when you guys recommend something outstanding like Savior 28 or I Kill Giants. Manga, generally, has a beginning, middle and end, and the characters are allowed to change, grow (or even die for real) without having to reset the next time a new editor/artist/writer team comes on board, so you don’t get the whole “Peter Parker is really a clone and everything that happened in the last ten years actually happened to the clone while Peter was held captive by Doc Oc – only not really” thing. Or, like in the 60s and 70s the series didn’t have to reset by the end of the issue. Okay, Superman loses his powers, only not really because you know he’ll have them back by next issue, etc. Sure, a lot of manga is pure crap, but then so is the bulk of American comics. But then you get things like “Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind” which are so excellent it never has had an Americomic counterpart.

    I did enjoy the discussion of Ultimate Spiderman and I have to say, Steven and Rodrego, you both missed Matthew’s point entirely. Reading Ultimate Spiderman would be a lot like reading a novelization made from the theatrical release versions of the Lord of the Rings films (done by somebody like Peter David or Orson Scott Card) and then marching around telling everybody you enjoyed reading “Lord of the Rings”, when, in fact, you really haven’t.

    If you want my opinion, the American comic industry would do better, instead of rebooting their universes every ten years or so, let the characters move on. Batman would be dead of old age by now. Superman might still be around and kicking but the rest of the staff, except maybe Jimmy Olsen, would but pushing up daisies. Why not let their characters age, marry, have kids, die, and let a new generation take over? It worked for Bilbo and Frodo. Of course, it would mean the next gen Batman would need to find his own motivation. If supes had offspring, unless he got “icky” with Kara, they’d be half-human and only half as powerful, but then that would solve Supes’ omnipotentence problem, wouldn’t it? Just blathering on here. It’ll never happen.

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