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Trade Waiting: Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection Book 7

Written by SuperginraiX on Thursday, July 06 2017 and posted in Features

Trade Waiting: Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection Book 7

Break ups, crime wars, and the debut of Ultimate Hobgoblin.

UltimateSpiderManBook7coverTrade Waiting is a new series where Super buys a new release trade paperback on Amazon and then decides to publish his reviews here instead of over there (on Amazon). In this case, he's reading and talking about the oversized paperback collection of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Collection Book 7. The trade collects Ultimate Spider-Man #'s 72-85 originally published between April 2005 and January 2006. This book combines two trade paperbacks, Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 13: Hobgoblin (originally released in July 2005) and Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 12: Warriors (December 2005). There was also a hardcover collecting all of these issues released way back in October 2006. The newest collection was released on June 13, 2017. There are going to be spoilers ahead so, y'know, SPOILER WARNING.

And now, Super will stop talking in the third person and just review this damn thing...

Creative Team Info:
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: J.D. Smith
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Assistant Editors: John Barber & Nicole Boose
Associate Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor: Ralph Macchio

If you're wondering why I still buy a lot of Bendis books, it's because of Ultimate Spider-Man. A lot of other people would say Powers or whatever he did with Spawn or his Daredevil run but, for me, it was Ultimate Spider-Man.

Because it frickin' rocked.

That's not to say the series didn't have it's bad parts. In fact, the previous Ultimate Collection, Book 6, contained some of my least favorite Ultimate Spider-Man stories. It also had the Carnage story-arc, featuring the death of Gwen Stacy. So it's still pretty essential.

Book 7 is still dealing with the fallout from Gwen Stacy's death. The tension in this book is palpable throughout but is especially noticeable in the Hobgoblin arc. That story is a little on the confusing side but part of that feels intentional. Harry Osborn is released from SHIELD custody but is in a very unstable mental state. Eventually, it's revealed that he has powers similar to his dad but instead of using them to get revenge on Spider-Man or something, Harry uses them to provoke someone, ANYONE, to kill him.

So I have no idea why SHIELD would have released him from their custody.

UltimateSpiderMan74Dude.  Stop making this weird.

During the course of Hobgoblin, Peter and Mary Jane's relationship falls apart, leading to Peter breaking up with her, giving the reason that she always puts herself in the middle of danger. This is more of Gwen Stacy's death coming back to haunt our cast.

The aftermath of the break-up is a single issue story that shows how Mary Jane deals with things. It's... a little awkward because she's totally hung up on Peter and wants to "make herself worthy" of him. So it's not a banner day for feminism in the Watson household but given the storyline, teenagers, the fact that this came out ten years ago, and how break-ups sometimes work... I give it a pass. An awkward pass.


The collection ends with the Warriors story-arc. This switches gears to the mobs and gangs that are vying for control of the New York Underground in the wake of a scandal tangentially involving the Kingpin. Warriors features appearances by Black Cat, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, Elektra, and Moon Knight. Main bad guy duties (haha... duties) are shared by Hammerhead and Kingpin. It also has another Enforcers appearance because you can't have a street level gang storyline without the Enforcers showing up.

It's pretty good. It explores Spider-Man's relationship with the police including his alliance with Captain Jeanne De Wolfe. We also get a resolution to Black Cat's constant firtation with Spidey. It's hilarious and terrible. :D

Book 7 is well into the lifecycle of Ultimate Spider-Man as well as the Ultimate Universe. It was at about this time that the luster of the Ultimate Line started to fade as more focus was put back on the regular Marvel titles. However, Ultimate Spider-Man still retained a whole lot of its excitement. And why not? It featured a long-time creative team on a continuous run that didn't have any EVENT interruptions.

I mean, I LOVE events but they seriously break up the creative energy on books, especially nowadays when titles are mass cancelled at an event's conclusion only to (maybe) be relaunched with a slight title change. The original Ultimate Spider-Man run was 133 issues long before an event eventually interrupted it's story and lead to... a relaunch with a slight title change.


Anyway, this thing is like a unicorn. It's like might not be seen again and such a thing needs to be celebrated. The title features a strong cast of characters that have been given years of good character growth and refining. Mark Bagley draws one of the best Spider-Men and the rest of the art isn't bad, either. Bagley's experience with the cast definitely helps. The colors are still beautiful after all these years. It's a good looking book.

UltimateSpiderMan78That's not gonna come back and bite him the ass or anything...

And now we need to talk about Brian Michael Bendis. Nowadays, Bendis' work seems kind of... uninspired. Storylines don't really move forward in a meaningful way. The same worn out phrases pop up over and over again.

Seriously, I started an image file for all of the times he used the phrase "I need some blood and urine" and it's extensive. You could do the same for old favorites like "it's math" or all the circuitous conversations that lead nowhere.

While all of that predates this particular volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, it's certainly not as predominate. Everything still feels fresh here. Maybe it's all the nostalgia kicking in but this book reads much better than, say, Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2: War Machines. It's got life to it. Fire, even. There's emotional weight, here, and a sense that this matters and is relevant to the life of it's main character. And the side characters!

Like I said, this title is why I give Bendis so many chances: because I always hope I'll get to experience something like this again. Sometimes, I get a hint of the old magic. Sometimes, that's even enough.

As far as book quality goes, this is a step up from the usual trade paperback. The paper quality has a bit more heft to it than the single story-arc trades recently released by Marvel. It feels more durable and ready for all the mulitple reads I'll probably give it.

And the extras aren't too shabby, either. The original issue covers divide chapters. At the end of the book, you get Mark Bagley's pencil sketches of those covers (Richard Isanove digitally painted over his pencils to give us those amazing finished colors). We also get character sketches by Bagley of Hammerhead, the Hulkbuster armor, Hobgoblin, and Shang Chi. This is more than you usually get in a modern trade release but it's also more than you got in the original trade releases comprising this book. It might have been in the hardcover version but, as I've mentioned before, I dislike HC releases so I don't have anything to compare.

So, yeah. You should have Ultimate Spider-Man in your collection in one way, shape, or form. I like these Ultimate Collections because they're nice and beefy chunks of the title that look great on a shelf but you'll save a lot of money tracking down the original trades (which would also look pretty lined up on a shelf together). My only gripe about the Ultimate Collection releases of Ultimate Spider-Man is just how infrequent they are. They come out one a year.

One. A. Year.

UltimateSpiderMan81Things haven't changed much in ten years...

That means we probably have six more Ultimate Collections to go. Which means six years. And that means it'll all finally be out by 2023. If it gets that far. Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Collections stopped at Book 5 in 2015, after all.

For comparison, the Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection books all came out about a month apart. This year, we're getting pretty much all of Bendis' Avengers work in Complete Collection form (totally different than Ultimate) and all twelve books are coming out about a month apart. While I'd like a little more time than a month between book releases (so I can make more money), I would love if these books came out two or three months apart. Sure, I could pick up the single story-arc trades instead and save some money but, having chosen a format, I feel like following it to the end.

Whatever the case, it'll be nice when I finally own this entire collection in trade so I can sit down and read the entire thing again.

And probably again.


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About the Author - SuperginraiX

SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.


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