This Week's Stack - 6/17/09 Part II: ... the rest of it.

I meant to post this days ago, so to you, the nonexistent reader... I apologize.


Ultimate Spider-Man Requiem #1:

Ultimatum... there are so many things I could say about Ultimatum. Even more for Jeph Loeb's Ultimate stuff. But that would take up so much time and space that I'm just going to stow it. For now...

So, onto the issue at hand (literally). The premise of USM Requiem, in short, is that J. Jonah Jameson is back at the Daily Bugle offices after the Ultimatum Wave (why are they calling it that?) has subsided a bit. When last we saw him, he was watching in awe as Spider-man was saving people from drowning. JJJ realizes what a colossal d-bag he's been and decides to write a story about how Spidey is really a hero.

So that's the set-up. However, things diverge from there. Ben Urich gives him a zip-drive that has all of the stories of Spider-man being a hero (how convienient...), which he says he keeps on his person at all times. This guy has issues. I'm not going to go into the question of where he keeps it, because the point is that Jameson looks at the files and sees one about a terrorist threat against Tony Stark. And so he reads...

Now this is where things get annoying. The segment was a story about how Hydra attacks Tony Stark and Spider-Man saves him. Nothing too complicated. But that is the problem. This is Ultimate Spider-Man REQUIEM. Requiem means a serivce or mass to mourn the dead. Now a silly tale about Hydra and Spidey and Iron Man is fine, but ultimately, it didn't show anything significant about Peter Parker. I mean, Spidey doesn't even do that much. He punches a couple Hydra guys, but Tony saves the day (not going to tell you how, but it's nothing special). There was no real character development, except for maybe Tony. The whole story didn't even feel that exciting. 

Now, this story has some of Mark Bagley's unused art. It was nice seeing his stuff back in an issue of USM, but there were quite a few things that I didn't like. First off, Tony's suits were not like his Ultimate Armor. At. All. There were about six different sets of armor that appeared, and all of them were identical to 616 suits.

Not only did they rip off his current armor, they took his crappy 90's stuff too!

That was really annoying to see. In the same vein, Madame Hydra looked almost identical to her mainstream counterpart. The Hyra

Madame Hydra ends up looking a lot like.. Madame Hydra!

agents had maks that covered their entire faces and had a different design, but other that that and some body armor (that many of them seemed to mysteriously lose as the issue progressed...) they looked pretty much the same. That was really disappointing.

My guess is that this story was written and drawn a long time ago, when the UU was first starting out. That would explain a lot of the inconsistencies with the art and plot. This made it feel more like an issue of another "loose-canon" series (get it?), "Ultimate Marvel Team-Up". Remeber the Fantastic Four issue? It was cringeworthy. But even if you look past the art, there is nothing much to see. In the end, it just seemed to me like an opportunity for Bendis (who don't get me wrong, I love dearly!) to throw in some old Bagley art just for sentimentality (I don't think he would do it soley for sales). 

One other funny thing I want to add. There's a panel at the end of a page where the person's dialogue is carried over to the next page, cutting them off. However, between the two, there is an ad, so it ends up looking like this:

When the Thing says it... you know you're f&%@ed.

Story - 2.5/5: The opening segment was a good set-up; the Iron Man story would have been OK in a regualr issue, but didn't fit in this story. It was cut for a reason.

Art - 3/5: Mark Bagley is a great artist, but the discrepancies with the Ultimate Universe and similarities to the Mainstream Universe were irritating, and took away from the plot.


Pick it up if you were reading the series already.

The ending (which is back in the present) sets up for the next issue, which should be good. If you weren't already reading Ultimate Spider-Man, don't bother.

Next up...

Red Robin #1

I know this came out weeks ago, but I'm just getting it now. Before I start with the review, I want to say something. SPOILER. As in alert. I'm not talking about Stephanie Brown. If you really don't know who Red Robin is, and you want to find out for yourself, then don't keep reading. I'll put this convenient photo to fill the space:



Now that I got that off my chest, let us continue, shall we?
Batman is just about the only DC character that I read consistently. I have most of the prominent stories in TPB, and I've been reading since RIP (which was really confusing, and I'll have to read again sometime). I bought the three issues of Battle for the Cowl, which I thought was good, not great. Probably would have been better with Grant Morrison, but Tony Daniels did a good enough job. In the end, we have the new Batman and Robin, who are starring in the new series by Morrison, aptly titled "Batman and Robin". 

But where does this leave Tim Drake? Well, he departs from the Bat-family, for a reason I won't reveal, and sets out to look for Bruce Wayne. Now, he can't dress up as Robin anymore, because someone else has that title. So he decides to use the mantle of Red Robin. Tim is in a dark place right now, and he is willing to cross lines that he wouldn't before. He mentions severe beatings and breaking limbs and appendages, so he is not one to be messed with. This makes sense, because you look at the former Red Robins, and you see Jason Todd, who is a psychopathic freakazoid, and Ulysses Armstrong, who I admittedly don't know much about, other than the fact that he is also a crazy villain guy. If people in the DCU already know Red Robin's reputation, then they will recognize that, whoever is under the mask is not going to be very nice. And that's part of it. This is a chance for Tim to start anew, with a clean slate. Nobody knows who he is, and he won't have to worry about following Batman's orders or fighting his villains. He doesn't even need to fight crime, because his primary objective is to find Bruce. Now, if you know what happened to Bruce, then you know that that will be a pretty... impossible task, but Tim doesn't know this, and we're not sure if he's even thinking rationally.


  Story - 4/5: I'm very intruiged by this series, and I can't wait to see where Tim's globetrotting search takes him. The internal monologue is pretty good, and the concept is great. Plus, it's a departure from the Bat-family, meaning that he's is on his own, without having to deal with the issues in Gotham, but not getting any help either.

Art -  3.5/5: The art isn't fantastic, but it isn't the worst I've ever seen. I've never seen this artist before, but I think the art is perfectly fine for the story. I have nothing in particular to say about it.


PICK THIS UP! Especially if you are reading the Batman series already. One of the things I don't like aobut DC is that they don't have recap pages, so it's hard to jump into a series like this. But all you need to know is that Bruce is presumed dead, and that there is a new Batman and Robin.

And last but not least...

Spider-Man: The SHORT Halloween!

When I first heard about this, I was afraid that with two (moderate?) celebrities writing it, it was bound to be bad. I was wrong, and I am happy to admit it. The premise is that it's Halloween and Spider-Man (who is dazed from a fight with an amateur villain) and a drunk guy dressed as him are both passed out in an alley. Confusion ensues.
Now, I'm not saying that the writing is absolutely flawless. This is (as far as I know) Meyers and Hader's first foray into writing comics. Of course it's not going to be perfect. But it's good enough. The plot is a humorous, but it's not Deadpool. It shouldn't be wacky and a laughs every page. The humor has to be a bit subtler, which gives the issue more heart. The villain in question, Fumes, who is part of a group named "the Furious Five" (they haven't seen Kung Fu Panda!), brings a lot of the funny parts, when he is pondering whether having "killed" Spider-man is a good tihng or a bad thing:

"Okay... I may have just killed Spider-man. Is this good or bad? On one hand, I would be the guy who killed Spider-Man... very cool. On the other had, the Punisher might track me down and kill me... very uncool."

There's one minor continuity error: The drunk guy's girlfriend says, "I looked under his mask and it's not Ronnie!" In the issue where he was in the negative zone with the FF, didn't it show that if someone pulls off his mask, they see nothing? I didn't read the issue, but if that's the case, then that was a mistake. Unless it's because Peter can't think straight.

Story - 4/5: The plot is cohesive, and while it is nothing epic or life-chnging, it's entertaining. Nothing more, nothing less.

Art - 4/5: I wasn't familiar with Kevin Maguire (almost called him Kevin O'Neill there) before this, but I had heard a lot of praise for him when the issue was announced. The art was great for this story, the guy seems to be able to nail certain expressions for situations well.



If you want to read a good story that has a light-hearted feel to it, without having to deal with too much continuity, then read this.


Thank you, I'll be sure to review the next few issues I read, just for you imaginary reader!

Posted by Tyler Starke

Cool post, the reason you couldn't see spideys face in the issue with the FF, was because sue made it invisible as soon as Johnny knocked it off with a fireball.

Posted by Anderson: Agent of SMITH

Oh, that explains it. My bad, I just saw the review for the issue before. Thanks for reading though!