Spider-Man: Requiem #1- Zip-Drives, 90's Armor, and Punchout Time
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.
That was really annoying to see. In the same vein, Madame Hydra looked almost identical to her mainstream counterpart. The Hyra
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:
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. Save it for the next jumping-on point, which Ultimate Comics Spider-Man will probably be.