Two highly praised books face off this week as Marvel and DC's teenage heroes go head to head! It's Ultimate Spider-Man vs. Superboy! Who will win, rising star Miles Morales, or fan favorite Superboy? Read on and find out!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Red Book (Marvel): Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4 (Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor)
Blue Book (DC): Superboy #3 (Scott Lodbell, R.B. Silva, Rob Lean)
Red Book: Ultimate Spider-Man #4
Miles Morales accepts his place as the new Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe!
Bendis has time and again proven himself one of the best writers in Marvel's stable. His work so far on the new Ultimate Spidey just continues that trend. After a few issues of backstory, we're starting to break into the action of the first arc. This issue ties directly into The Death of Spider-Man arc, marking the end of Peter Parker. Miles Morales' motivation as the new Spider-Man is established in this issue and it kicks him into the role nicely. Also, we're introduced to a new(?) character who is likely to serve as at least a temporary antagonist. Bendis is just stirring the pot in this issue, getting things nice and simmering.
The art of the Ultimate Universe seems to be gaining strength with the recent series. Ultimate X-Men looks great, Ultimate Spidey is no different. The city looks like New York actually would. The characters look really good too. We even get a nice touch with the new costume Miles is going to wear, we see him designing it himself. On a more personal fun note, Miles and Ganke's roommate looks kind of like David Ruffin, which I find hilarious and awesome. I'm probably reading too much into it, though.
I found a typo. IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION! Nah, just kidding, but there was an odd typo that caught my attention. Beyond that, my only complaint with this series is the pacing. I understand and appreciate the depth that Bendis is giving to Miles and his backstory. It's very good and builds the character well. I just would like it if things moved a little more quickly. We're four issues into the run and only now does a conflict present itself (A CHALLENGER APPEARS!). It just feels a little slow for my taste. Not bad, just lagging a little.
This book is very nicely drawn and looks quite good, but it gets a little boring after a while. The colors aren't very broad and there isn't much action (yet) so scenes feel a tad dry. Also, the colors that were used are all fairly dark. I would have preferred things to be a bit brighter. I typically associate Spidey with having bright and lively colors, but I think this is probably a tone choice by the creative team. It just looks like everything is happening in either the late afternoon or evening right now.
Blue Book: Superboy #3
Superboy's adventures are only beginning as he finds out about himself and his new abilities!
In this book, Superboy is learning about himself and how his powers work. The way this works is written very well. The reader learns right alongside Superboy, and not only that, but we don't sacrifice any action. Superboy is learning on the job which is an interesting way of bringing these ideas and concepts into the story. And for once, I don't find myself annoyed by a character's internal monologue! It actually feels necessary and helps move the plot forward.
I used an example of art fitting the story in one of my previous reviews. In many cases, the right style of art can take a book from good to great. Superboy is an instance of this. The art veels very sci-fi, yet also geared toward youth and younger readers. It reminds me of Dodson's work (either of them, really), which I love, but with more straight lines and angles. It's a cool look for this story and character.
The opposite of the problem I have with Spidey this week is true for Superboy. Whereas Spidey moved too slowly, Superboy moves almost too fast. There are elements forgotten almost as soon as they are introduced. A personal complaint is that they seem to be relying very heavily on the "sex sells" concept in this issue. Almost all of the girls who appear in this issue are either near naked or are seductive in some other fashion. While this may seem like an art complaint, I feel like it's just a little early to be using this as an element. I don't mind sexiness, but it comes across as too much in one go.
A downside of this art style is that it seems very stiff and angular. I don't think I saw anyone's knees bending. I'm exaggerating, of course, but it seems like I'm reading a book starring action figures. All through the series, everyone looks like they came with an alternate set of clothes that came in the packaging. It's a little strange, but I can get past that.
Winner of the Week: Superboy #3 (by a fraction of a hair)!
Running Score: Marvel- 2, DC- 3.
Closing thoughts- This is probably the hardest call I've made in these reviews, but I'd say it's with good cause. The main issue is about how you prefer stories to be told. Would you rather have the exposition take place before the action, or would you prefer for it to be delivered as the action carries out? When it comes to comic books, I lean toward the latter. Both books are really quite good and I wouldn't turn you away from either one if you were curious about them. I expect both series to run for a good while, especially if they keep up this caliber of work! Good submissions on both sides, but this week the crown goes to DC and Superboy.
For more Red Book, Blue Book reviews, check out here, here, here and here!
Review by: Veggieleezy