If we have to have Point-One, they should all be like this!
Despite any financial success Marvel has seen from their Point One line of comics, it has been a significant creative failure. That is…until now. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16.1 uses the idea of a one-shot jumping on point to its greatest potential.
Even the most enjoyable Point One issues feel like stories that should have taken place in the pages of the regular series because they generally follow the same characters and plotlines. Writer Brian Michael Bendis approaches this Point One in a brilliantly different way. We follow reporter Betty Brant as she slowly unravels the identity of the new Spider-Man. Using Brant as our protagonist; Bendis retraces the steps of the first ten issues of the series in a way that new readers can follow and catch up, while still offering an exciting meta-narrative for longtime readers. Miles barely appears in this issue, but that is not a bad thing. It gives Bendis a chance to character build with the larger universe he’s been creating in Ultimate Spider-Man books for over ten years: Expect a great scene between Betty and J. Jonah Jameson in the latter half of the issue.
The art is phenomenal here, as is par for the course with David Marquez. When he started working on the series, he was following up two shining stars in the field, Sara Pichelli and Chris Samnee. So, while his art held its own against these juggernauts, it was also easy to underestimate him as just another in a long line of talents brought onto the series. Marquez’s art was woefully missing in issue #16. While the artist there was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it did highlight for the first time just how great Marquez is as an artist in his own right. His work has never looked better than it does here in #16.1 and there are even a few pages where he gets to exercise his experimental muscle with some very abstract sequencing. Seeing Marquez back on the book is worth the price of admission alone.
The cliffhanger this book ends on is both emotional and invigorating. I wish the story that is hinted at on the final page was starting immediately but unfortunately we will need to wait until January. At any rate, this issue proves that entering its second year of publication, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is just as strong as it was with issue #1 (if not stronger). Sometimes that Point One label can scare people off a book, don’t let that happen in this case. Whether you’ve been paying close attention to this series the whole time or are someone who hasn’t picked up a single issue but are intrigued by the series, you owe it to yourself to buy this issue.