That's right, babies: I read stuff other than novels. Most recently, I read the sixth hardcover volume of Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagely.
I absolutely love reading comics in this format. The book is larger than a comic, so the art really pops. The paper is nice, and the quality is great. And since Bendis writes in story arcs, rather than individual issues, this is an appealing way to read his stories.
This book was kind of a mixed bag. The first story was about Carnage, a Spidey villian made up of Peter Parker's spider-altered DNA. The most notable part of this story is that it features the death of Gwen Stacy. Gwen Stacy's death in the normal Marvel Universe was a watershed moment, a kind of end of innocence. The same was the case, I thought, for this story. I really wasn't expecting Gwen to die, at least not like this, and the result was horrifying.
Disappointingly, though, Bendis skipped out on the aftermath of Gwen's death and its affect on Peter Parker. The next issue skips several months in the future, so We never really see how Peter reacts to Gwen's death. What should be a pivotal moment in his life is seriously glossed over.
In fact, the remaining issues in the book are really a lot of fun, focusing on guest appearances from Wolverine, The Ultimates, Dr. Strange, and the Human Torch. They are enjoyable (with a sad misfire of an ending to the otherwise fun Wolverine story), but I really felt like Bendis should have shown us Peter's mourning to a greater extent. He had the meat-- Gwen's death -- and skipped right to the dessert.
Still, this was an enjoyable read. I have the next volume on my bookshelf and will undoubtedly dive into it soon.