Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ultimately Pointless

With the exception of a few good plot points along the way, for years there's only been one reason to read Ultimate Spidey: seing the Ultimized versions of established heroes and villians. Unfortunately, for most of 2005 even that excuse hasn't been enough to justify plunking down $2.50 a month. Ultimate Iron Fist? Ultimate Hammerhead? Ultimate Shang-chi? Ultimate Dr. Strange? Ultimate Jean DeWolfe? An Ultimate Hobgoblin that's pretty much just an orange Ultimate Green Goblin? Are any of those names really supposed to convince me to drop my cash?

This weekend I asked what readers Marvel actually thought were eagerly awaiting Ultimate Silver Sable. Seemingly anticipating the backlash of apathy... wait a second, can a backlash be apathetic? By it's nature, a backlash is an action--never mind, I'm getting off topic. Seemingly anticipating the collective sigh and shrug of the comic fans as a whole, Bendis fired a preemptive "lame Ultimization" shot in the first pages of this story's first issue.

Are you fucking kidding me? Because no one demanded it: Ultimate Omega Red! After getting this turd in the punchbowl, who's going to complain about Silver Sable.

Any way, long story short, Omega Red trashes a shipyard, Spidey stops him, the owner of the shipyard wants to know why Red trashed it, Silver Sable and her Wild Pack are hired to track down Spider-Man and see why he was there to stop Omega Red and whether he knows anything. They follow him to his high school but lose sight of him when he drops behind a dumpster to change out of his uniform. The Wild Pack swarm in and grab Flash Thompson, who is inexplicably hiding by the dumpster eating a candy bar in a very paranoid fashion.Let me pause there for a second. Obviously, in any other medium this would be the cliche of the high school kids sneaking a cigarette--or maybe a joint--by the dumpster, but for some reason the public schools in Queens are plagued by kids ruining their dinners with sweets between classes. Tooth decay is a huge problem. I understand Marvel doesn't portray characters smoking any longer, and I'm fine with that. However, if you're going to have someone eating a Milky Way and looking like he's smuggling nuclear secrets to Al-Qaeda, there ought to be some kind of explanation.

What was that I said about long story short? Never mind. Anyway, Flash tackles all the high-priced, highly-trained mercenaries at once and escapes. When word gets out about the kidnapping, school security gets beefed up, and Peter, who's carrying his uniform in his backpack gets nabbed by security for random bag inspection. Cue dramatic music to drown out my groaning.
Remember how cool it was in The Ultimates when the Hulk completely trashed New York? Remember that awesome big invasion of the Skrulls? Mark Millar reaches even deeper into his bag of tricks for this issue to bring us... a big invasion that trashes New York.

What bugs me more than anything is that we see huge destruction, most iconic of which is the toppling of the Statue of Liberty. The purpose of the attack is to topple America, the great Satan, and it's all made possible by locking up Thor, arresting Cap, killing Hawkeye's family, etc. Given all that, don't you think it might affect Peter Parker's life in some way? Wouldn't you expect that the Ultimate Fantastic Four might make some mention of it? Perhaps the Ultimate X-Men might notice? The invaders make specific mention that the Fantasic Four are "buried in the Baxter Building" and that the X-Men are out of commission as well. Yet none of these events will get a mention in those books.

Given Loki's involvement, I have no reason to believe that three issues from now, New York will be completely rebuilt, Cap will be free, Hawkeye's family will be alive, Nick Fury's arm will be reattached (oops, did I spoil that?), and only Thor will have any memory of this entire 12 issue run.


Blogger CalvinPitt said...

Well, I like Ultimate Spider-Man a bit more than you, so I wasn't as bothered by the characters popping up recently. I mean who should be appearing in Ultimate Spider-Man? Ultimate Thanos? No, he's a kid who fights street level thugs and gangs primarily, and so I could see how he'd run into Hammerhead, Iron Fist, etc.

As for the issue in question, yes Omega Red is lame. But Spidey kicks the crap out of him quickly, and isn't that all you can ask of Omega Red? Bagley gets to draw a fight scene (I love Bagley's art so I'm happy), and Omega red gets a forklift dropped on him. Hooray!

As for Flash, I think he was just hiding from that dude Kong who's always following him around. I've had friends like that, and sometimes you just want to eat a chocolate bar in peace.

12:03 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Yeah, the lack of inter-title continuity in the Ultimate line bothers me a tad.

It bothered me back when there were only two, and you had Sentinels mashing around New York in Ultimate X-Men but not a peep in USM. But it's not as if the line has expanded beyond control or anything. There's only, what, four ongoing titles?

I mean, I understand that they don't want to make them impenetrable to the mythical "new readers", but I'm not asking for full on crossovers. I'd just like there to be something like a news report in the background of USM when the bloody Skrulls invade the US.

And that whole candy/smoking thing is lame.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Actually, Calvin, I want it to go the opposite direction. I don't want more Ultimization, I want less. I want good stories, which Bendis hasn't been giving us. To make up for the poor stories, though, he just plugs in as many D-lister charactes with a new Mark Bagley redesign and figures it will sate us.

12:50 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

Well, i guess I can't say the strategy you describe isn't working, because I've actually liked most of the stories (The Hobgoblin one being an exception, other than Peter punching Nick Fury in the face. That was awesome.)

I liked that "Warriors" storyline, Peter trying to do the right thing, but bothered by the fact he'd be helping the Kingpin by doing so. The fact that even when people were working to the same goal, they still wound up fighting.

I don't know. I guess it's all subjective when you get right down to it.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Hmm, maybe I should rethink my complaint. You're correct that Peter's inner conflict was pretty good. I also liked a few elements of the Hobgoblin "basement door" (or whatever the trigger word was) mystery.

How about this? Warriors was a seven-part storyline that I think could have been done in three. Bendis hasn't written a good story in a while, though he's had good elements (maybe I should write a blurb on the latest Daredevil in that regard) and tries to milk his storylines by plugging in more and more Ultimate versions of whomever is on whatever random page of the Handbook to the Marvel Universe.

I can knock it, but then I keep reading it (unlike Powers or New Avengers or House of M), so there's something that keeps bringing me back (something called Bagley).

On that note, I also guess I'd just rather see Bagley drawing characters I care about than new characters just for the sake of "Oh, look how he did Microchip!"

5:11 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Yeah, Spidey's dilemma at helping the Kingpin by taking out Hammerhead was well done in "Warriors", but it was what, four pages in a five or six issue storyline. That's just mental, and there's nothing subjective about it.

6:42 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

Bendis decompresses stuff too much? Now that's something we can all agree on. Like you, I prefer USM by quite a bit to New Avengers, though I can't seem to give that book up.

I don't know, for some reason his pacing on USM doesn't bother me that much (like you, it's probably a matter of Bagley's art).

7:35 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I just think it shows disrespect for the readers. Bendis puts out only a couple of pages of story content per issue, and asks readers to fork over $3 for it every time. It's clearly less work for him, the lazy git.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Microsoft Office
Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010 key
Office 2010 download
Office 2010 Professional
Microsoft outlook
Outlook 2010
Windows 7
Microsoft outlook 2010

7:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home