Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 6

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.


the weirdgirl said...

I've had this on my shelf for a while and haven't dived in yet. Mine is one big volume of the whole collection so it's really been me procrastinating wrestling with the tome-like qualities. I know I'll enjoy it, but it's not something I can put in my tote bag, you know?

heidi said...

Sweet! The only comic book I've read consistently is The Sandman (which in a strange, circuitous, and convoluted way is related to the Spiderman comics,) but I have always been around comic book guys and I *LOVE* me some superheroicness. This is brilliant that they published a large book to showcase the art better. Sweet, sweet, sweet!