Recap for Review Group Week 265! Ultimate Spider-Man #155 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Samnee as selected by Eli Katz.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
With a Death Bagley'd death issue immenent, Ultimate Spider-Man is getting a bit more notice than it has had in a while. Add in genius in the making Chris Samnee, and this was the perfect chance for the Review Group to venture back into the Ultimate Universe.
Review by AMS
The story is awesome, Ultimate Jonah is how I think 616 should be handled. Some nice character moments, and awesome to see Kitty back in the fold. This book has been on fire since the relaunch.
Art is much better than Lafuente
I give it a 9.3/10
Review by The Peoples Comics
I was dissapointed to not see the Ultimate Six actually in the issue. I was a little curious to see how that would have worked. An awesome jailbreak would have been sweet. The Ultimate comics tend to drag it out so I wasnt expecting a knock down drag out fight. But alas, no Ultimate Six at all.
What the issue did have was a very interesting article between J Jonah and Peter Parker. Also Stark designed web shooters 4TW!!
Review by guitarsmashley
Well that was a nice inconsequential piece of fluff. Well written and I liked the flow of the double page story telling but Chris Samnee does is not the right artist for this book.
Review by Zero
That was an issue of nothing but moving characters into position for plots to come. Nothing particularly amusing or exciting and the art was solid without standing out. Coming off the back of Rios, Lafuente and the #150 dream team merely 'good enough' just isn't good enough.
Nothing wrong with the comic, but there wasn't much to recommend it either.
Review by Stephen Day
Last time I read Ultimate Spider-Man was issue #1 and I have to say it surprises me that its now up to issue #155. Wow, has it really been around that long?
As for this issue, it was alright. I liked the conversation between JJJ and Peter at the Daily Bugle and the birthday party. Its strange, but kind of cool to see JJ a fan of Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde as one of Peter's supporting cast. In the end the individual scenes were all good, but they didn't really mesh well as a whole though. To me it all didn't seem to be one coherent story, but more of a collection of slice of life pieces featuring the same character.
Let's say 5 out of 10 on this one.
Review by Jude Terror
I really enjoyed the JJJ scene in this book. The dialog was really cutesy non-stop throughout the entire book, and it was a little bit annoying, even as a huge fan of The Great One. Maybe I'm just not used to it since I stopped reading due to the horrific art of David Lafuente. That being said, Chris Samnee is much, much better. I'm a big fan of his since his portrayal of Volstag in Siege: Embedded. It's good to see Peter back with Mary Jane. I do have to question the wisdom of Peter getting a job that he can "not show up to and not get fired," it's basically like saying "let's eliminate this angle for all future plotlines." Seems silly. However, I guess since Spider-Man will be "dying" in a few issues, it may be a "let's finally give him everything he wants right before he loses it all forever" type of thing, which would explain him getting MJ back as well (this also effectively makes this issue better than every issue of ASM for the past two years). Why you would have the Ultimate version of your character, a teenager, be with Mary Jane, but the 40 year old mainstream universe character has to be a hip young swinger is baffling to me.
Review by starlord
This issue has been like all the others since that big Magneto event a couple years ago. It's slow, pointless and plots that are prone to wander like an escaped Alzhiemers patient in the middle of a big city. I loved this series up until that stupid "event". This really was the title that Bendis had every right to stand up and take a bow for.
Sadly when New York was given a huge bath, Bendis threw out the baby with the bath water. This issue was a perfect example of the sub-par performance from everyone involved. This book is probably the one I'm most dissappointed in.
My Score: 4.55
Review by Eli Katz
If you are a longtime fan of Spidey, then you should dig ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #155. Yes, it is very dialogue heavy and, yes, it has little-to-no action. But if you look at some of the old ASM issues, there were a number of them that concentrated on Peter and the best supporting cast in comics. Think back to ASM #50, #87, or #96. Not a lot of action in those issues, but a heck of a lot of important character and relationship moments. It's the same thing here in USM #155. In particular, the interaction between Pete and J.J.J. is excellent. It reminded me of all the massive history between these characters and I loved every panel.
I stopped reading USM during the ULTIMATUM event. I hate when books are rebooted and renumbered and so on. But based on this ish, I might actually read USM and see where this next event takes us.
Review by Punchy
Story - Marvel have been trumpeting the upcoming 'Death Of Ultimate Spider-Man' on the covers of the last 3 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you how the events of any of these comics are building up to something as big as this, all we've basically had is a team-up with Iron Man and the Black Cat, the return of Mysterio and the Zodiac Key. It's all very much business as usual for Ultimate Spidey, so much so that it almost seems stupid of Marvel to plaster a big warning sign on the covers, if they hadn't, when Spider-Man dies, it would actually be a massive surprise, which is something sorely missing in modern comics, and is one of the things the Ultimate line should be doing more of.
However, even if this comic wasn't labelled with Death, I think this issue may have aroused some suspicions, simply because things are actually going well for Spider-Man, and as we all know, if nothing bad happens to Spider-Man for a while, something catastrophic will happen, as soon as he's happy, God or a Goblin comes down and crushes him.
This issue was like a lot of my favourite USM issues, it wasn't a big action issue, it was about the characters, it was about conversation, it was a calm before the storm. The main chunk of this particular issue was the relationship between Peter Parker and J Jonah Jameson, who in the aftermath of the recent Chameleon arc, now knows that Peter is Spider-Man. The scene is brilliant, really illustrating the differences between this world and the world of the regular Spider-Man. JJJ is Spidey's longest-serving nemesis, but now he's supportive of Peter, giving him a regular job that he won't be fired from for doing Spider-business, and paying for his college. So far, so good.
Of course, there is a bit of action in this issue, as Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde/The Shroud take out what I assume are a group of Ultimate Rocket Racers, after this brief interlude of pesky action, Kitty returns, which is more good news, but does however provide my only problem with this issue, which is how Bendis writes out the character of Kong. Kong has been part of the book since issue one, and his growth from Bully to actually becoming friends with Peter has been a nice running subplot, to have him disposed of as a chicken who ran away to Wisconsin rubs me the wrong way. Hopefully he'll return, but without that stupid Mohawk.
The final scene is Peter Parker's birthday party, which he celebrates with all his "Amazing Friends", as well as Aunt May, MJ, Gwen, and who I assume is Sue Storm and Ben Grimm. He even gets some awesome new web-shooters, and kisses MJ, who agrees to get back together (They DO NOT have sex, don't believe some other misguided, sex-crazed reviewers).
So yeah, everything looks peachy for Ultimate Spider-Man, new (old) girlfriend, new job, new web-shooters, the return of his friend Kitty, and the trust and admiration of society. Yep, peachy. Time for him to die!
It's just a pity Marvel had to ruin it by advertising it really.
This was another solid issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, after over 150 issues, we pretty much now what to expect, the level of quality has remained remarkably consistent really, and Bendis still manages to surprise us. I just hope the equilibrium of the series isn't upset by the upcoming event, much like Ultimatum did.
Art - Chris Samnee is one of my favourite artists at the moment, and someone who I foresee big things for. I loved his work on DC's "The Mighty" and his sketchblog is brilliant. He does good work here, it's probably a bit more traditional than most artists who have graced these hallowed pages, but it works, his facial expressions are particularly good. His work here actually reminded me of John Romita's work on the 616 Spider-Man, particularly his Mary-Jane. I also liked how he snuck in Lockheed onto Kitty's hoody. Good stuff, here's hoping he gets to do more high-profile Marvel stuff.
Best Line - 'What am I walking into? (Swinging into....)'
Review by Victorian Squid
Sporting one of the most misleading covers of all time, this book's true contents just seemed to meander all over the place in a ham-fisted display of giving Peter Parker everything he's ever wanted before--and we all know it's coming--pulling out the rug from under him next issue most likely. Maybe even killing him, I dunno. Everybody's doing it to boost sales these days it seems, from Brubaker to Hickman, and Bendis seems ready to follow suit. I admit one of my favorite things about the old Ultimate Spider-Man book was his rogue's gallery reinvented, so all of this internal monologue and talking left much to be desired as far as I'm concerned. There were some nice bits in JJJ talk but I wouldn't want to read a whole comic about it--the 10 or so pages were more than enough.
On to the art. I liked Samnee's backgrounds and layouts for the most part but not his Peter Parker or some of the more cartoon-y extras. That was Bobby Drake? From Ultimate X-Men? Peter is exaggerated as so scrawny and small of frame when out of costume that he doesn't look much older than Franklin or Valeria in 616 FF. It's done for effect, okay but I would say it's overdone for effect here. The linework in some of the faces seems heavy as well.
Next time I'd ask Marvel not to tease the Sinister Six on the cover and then give me four morons on roller-blades on the inside. Subtract a point from what would have been my score for that, making this a:
Review by Doombug
I liked this issue, a lot. I haven't read the book since the mysterio arc sadly and it's great to return to see how Peter and his world haven't really changed too much. I think this is Bendis at his best, especially how he writes the scene between Peter and Jonah. There really is a lot to like about this issue.
I really hope they don't kill Peter, but with the way they ended it here it seems like it will really happen. Also who the hell is the blond at the end? Not Gwen, the other one?
Review by Sweet James Jones
OK, time to finally get to this. First off, the cover truly is misleading as we got no Sinister Six anywhere. The last page of #154 that hyped this cover truly did make it seem like the Sinister Six would appear.....I'd have even been cool with a flashback. We didn't get anything though.
The moment of the book definitely goes to he conversation with J Jonah Jameson. This version seems to be a more toned down, rational version of his 616 character that is able to admit when he's wrong. We've seen this side in 616 Jonah before but mostly in a rare private thought. This direction holds a ton of potential for the future, then I remember that this is leading up to a Death of Spider-Man event =/
That's what the rest of the issue feels like too. The way Peter reconciled with Kitty Pryde after effortlessly schooling Ultimate Rocker Racer, met up with everyone for a birthday party and professing his love for Kitty feels like everything is falling into place right before he bites the big one. While Bendis sometimes lets too much dialog choke up a book this was far from the case here and the book most definitely benefited from all these character moments.
Earlier in this RG thread I also see a debate has arisen that MJ and Pete were making babies. Don't see enough about that and I reckon a lot of you guys are trying to relate this moment with the Teen Titans Infinite Crisis special where Superboy banged Wonder Girl and died a week later in IC #6. The way he made a big deal about trying to win her back made it pretty clear that they were commenting about the kiss and where that stands between them. The day The Great One tries to ape a Geoff Johns moment is the day the world ends. Utter blasphemy.
Now onto the art. I liked Samnee's art in the Siege: Embedded mini and feel he stepped up further here. His art is pleasant on the eyes and while I had no problem with LaFuente like others here did it was refreshing not to see anime eyes in the book. The way I feel about Bagley's return next however is mixed. He left the book doing some pretty sweet work in the Warriors arc but I could not get into his recent DC stuff at all. We'll see if a return to this title changes my opinion.
Overall the book felt like it was tying all loose ends into one happy setting for Peter Parker, who has been to hell and back and left somewhere in-between for the entire Ultimate Spider-Man book. Either this will lead up to a Big-Time era for the character or Marvel truly is going to off the character which goes hand-in-hand with the feeling of closure I've gotten. Whatever the case, it's been a hell of a #155 issue ride with many highs and lows that I've enjoyed for over 10 years.
Review by Frank Einstein
I liked this. I liked this a lot. It made me wish I hadn't dropped the book 50 or so issues ago. If Chris Samnee were the regular artist I'd walk down the street to the closest LCS and start a pull list so that I could get this day of release every month. The words were okay too.
That gives Ultimate Spider-Man #155 a group score of 6.68. There's a reason the RG often gets labled as haters by outsiders and that reason is weeks like this one. Holy cannoli! Anyone who scored the art less than 10 on this is a major league poopy-head.
For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Ultimate Spider-Man thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.
Written or Contributed by: John Martin