REVIEW: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16
This series created a stir when it first came out more than a year ago. Peter Parker was dead and a new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, took his place. Since its arrival, Ultimate Spider-Man appeals to both old and new comic book readers. It combines the classic superhero origins and themes into an original modern story. Although he shares the iconic presence of his predecessor, Miles Morales is an all-new, all different Spider-Man.
Brian Michael Bendis writes great teenager prose
Rather difficult to follow everything at once
Previously in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: The Ultimate universe is in turmoil. With the United States on the verge of collapse, Miles Morales’s school is closed until further notice. With this new found freedom, Miles decides to join the Ultimates in their fight to preserve his country. Equipped with Peter Parker’s web shooters he received from Aunt May, Spider-Man hitches a ride to the Triskelion, headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D.. There, he is confronted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Captain America.
THROUGH THE EYES OF SPIDER-MAN
This issue recounts the events leading up to (spoiler alert!) Ultimate Captain America accepting the presidency of the United States. However, most of the action is seen from Miles Morales’s point of view. The narration combines awe-inspired fear mixed with comedic youthful inexperience. Brian Michael Bendis writes great teenager prose. Witty, snappy, and brash; it is the perfect Spider-Man banter. His interactions with a distracted Captain America are captivating and realistic. You can feel the underlying guilt in his voice as he and Miles Morales battle Hydra. Ultimate Captain America has indicated in previous issues that he failed to prevent Peter Parker’s death. The demise of this young hero is a significant part of the superhero’s mythos they left out of the Ultimate universe until recently. I am glad they brought the no-sidekicks “rule” from the classic universe into the Ultimate universe; it makes sense in this modern era setting. The leader of this Hydra attack, Gorgon, reminds me of Bane from Dark Knight Rises, complete with gas mask, military outfit and anti-government jargon. Since the comic does not go into detail about this character, he becomes a cookie cutter supervillain. However, without him, Spider-Man would not have a bad guy to piss off.
ACTION, ACTION, AND MORE ACTION
For a comic with a fair amount of dialogue, there is a ton more action art than expected. Exploding airships and Hulk-busters. Shield slinging and web-shooting. There is no end to the butt-kicking action. Unfortunately, it may be too much of a good thing. When reading, I found it difficult to follow everything at once. The dark backgrounds and the unfamiliar scenery did not help. Still, the scenes I could follow were amazing. The character design was so consistent throughout the issue, I did not know it was a different artist until examining the title page. Overall, Pepe Larraz does a great job.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT SPIDER-MAN STORY
After all the fighting and persistence, Spider-Man finally proves he is a great superhero, not only to Captain America, but to himself. The issue ends on a high note for Miles, who has gone through a heavy dose of conflict to get to his goal. It is a satisfying ending for the hero and readers. If you’re not following Ultimate Spider-Man, I suggest you go out and pick it up.