And we're back to Marvel, with two books that should set stuff up for the future. First up is Ultimate Fallout, which begins Marvel's reboot of the Ultimate books... God, you've got to love Marvel... DC announces that they were rebooting their entire company, and Marvel decides to completely shake up their Ultimate titles... Now, I don't know if Marvel deliberately planned to have the Ultimate reboot occur the MONTH before the DC reboot, but it's pretty awesome if they did. The other book is Amazing Spider-Man, which is almost always a great read, so this should be a good post... Well, at least the comics I'm reading should be good... The reviews themselves will probably suck, but what can ya do?
Ultimate Fallout #1(of 6?):
Summary: This issue begins by giving us little snippets as to how various characters are reacting to the death of Peter Parker, you know, that Spider-Man guy. We see Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Johnny Storm, Kitty Pryde, Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson and Nick Fury. Needless to say, they're all pretty broken up about it. Jameson is at a complete loss for words, Kitty is taking out her frustrations on criminals, and MJ blames Fury and SHIELD and wants to see them pay for Peter's death. The day of the funeral, Tony Stark picks up Gwen and Aunt May and promises them that he'd take care of them in any way he possibly could, from arranging the funeral to any kind of monetary arrangements May could possibly need. After a somber drive, they arrive at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in the heart of NYC for Peter's funeral, where thousands of New Yorkers have gathered to pay their respects. Not having wanted a big thing, just a private ceremony for her nephew, May is a bit taken aback by the massive crowd, and isn't sure if she even wants to exit the limo. Tony explains that if she wasn't comfortable with the huge gathering, he'd take her away and schedule something smaller before explaining that all of New York was grieving for their fallen hero, and that they needed a way to express their collective sorrow as well. With that, May decides to exit the car where she's greeted by thousands of solemn faces. One small girl in the crowd asks May if she was Spidey's mother, with May explaining that she was actually his Aunt. The girl tells May that Spidey saved her from a fire when she was younger and offers May a hug, which a teary May accepts before heading inside. After sitting down, May is approached by a crestfallen Steve Rogers, who takes May's hand and is struck temporarily speechless before blurting out that it was his fault that Peter was dead.
Thoughts: Wow... That was quite the emotional ride right there... I seriously teared up when that little girl and May embraced outside the Cathedral... Hell, just typing about it is making me kind of misty eyed right now! The combination of Brian Bendis not over-dialogging the scene, coupled with Mark Bagley's PERFECT depiction of that little girl is enough to make even the toughest person feel something... I didn't collect the Death of Spider-Man storyline because, well because I just hadn't been that interested in the Ultimate Spider-Man series since around issue #75 or so. I basically picked this comic up on a whim since it was supposed to lay the groundwork for the three new Ultimate titles that would be starting next month. I mean I really didn't expect much from it, which is why it was like 11th in my comic reading order. I figured the art would be great because I'm a sucker for Mark Bagley's work, and the story would be(hopefully) okay, but this was WAY more than okay. I'll tell you this, this comic makes me REALLY want to get the eventual Death of Spider-Man trade to read exactly how Spidey bit the bullet, as well as has me psyched for the second issue of this mini(which comes out pretty soon I believe). Yeah, this was one of those rare comics where everything came together perfectly, the art, story and dialogue, and actually left me feeling quite emotional afterwards. I bow to Bagley and Bendis on a job VERY well done.
Score: 10 out of 10.Stop trying to make me cry, dammit!! *sniff*
Amazing Spider-Man #665:
Summary: This issue gets underway by telling us that Peter Parker and Betty Brant(that wacky Stan Lee and his alliteration!) always try to keep Friday nights open to watch a movie together... Except lately, what with his new job, position on three super-hero teams, as well as doing the solo super hero thing, Peter's been skipping Friday after Friday. While Betty understands that Peter is busy with his job at Horizon Labs, there's a particular movie she REALLY wants to see, one that's playing at only one theater in a kind of seedy side of town... I bet you can see where THIS is going! Peter ends up breaking the movie date again, this time because of his Horizon Lab work, so Betty's boyfriend, Flash Thompson, offers to take her to see the movie once he returned to town(he was headed to Washington DC for a secret Venom mission). Since the movie would be closed by the time Flash returned, Betty decides to go and see the movie herself. After leaving the theater, she is promptly mugged and beaten into a coma... Yeah well, that'll happen in the Big Apple... I'd know, I lived there!! From there, all of Betty's friends gather at the hospital, including J. Jonah Jameson, who brings in his own team of high-priced doctors. Upon learning what happened, Spidey naturally blames himself for blowing off the movie with Betty and decides to tear the neighborhood Betty was mugged in apart until he found the man responsible. After a lot of hunting and beatings, Spidey gets a name and begins to close the net around his target. After a few more hours, Spidey manages to find the man responsible, but before he is able to pounce, he gets a phone call from a very angry and disappointed Aunt May. May scolds Peter for not being at the hospital with his friends and basically guilts him into leaving his quarry behind and heading over to the hospital. Peter gets to the hospital, and as luck would have it, Betty wakes up while he's keeping watch over her bedside, at which point the two watch a movie together. Oh, and the next day, Spidey catches up to the man responsible for the attack and drops him off with the police. The back up story deals with Aunt May and Jameson's father deciding to move to Boston to get away from all the craziness that was in New York, which made me wonder aloud to myself, if May isn't even going to be a main character in the Spidey books anymore, why the HELL did Marvel bring her back from the dead and wreck Spidey's marriage?!?
Thoughts: I liked this issue a lot, but there were a few things about it that bugged me... First off, wasn't Betty JUST the damsel in distress in the past few issues of Venom?! I mean damn, that woman should really just lock herself up in her apartment and never leave or something! Once this story opened talking about what great friends Peter and Betty were, you KNEW that something bad was going to happen to Betty, and the moment Peter ditched her and wouldn't go to the movies with her, you knew WHAT was going to happen! I mean for me, the entire story was pretty obvious... Now it may sound like I didn't enjoy this issue, and that would be the wrong assumption, because I actually enjoyed this comic a lot, lack of unpredictability be damned! It was a solid story, the dialogue was excellent, and we got to see the softer side of many characters. So yeah, it was good, I just could have used a few more surprises here and there.
Score: 9 out of 10.Hey look, Betty's in trouble! Again...