Tuesday, July 03, 2007


The famous tenets of the Spider-Man mythos (with great power comes great responsibility) are in full force in a relatively recent comic book update. Back in 2000, Marvel decided to relaunch some of its core concepts in an effort to have them connect more with a teen readership. The highest profile of those was Ultimate Spider-Man under the team of Brian Michael Bendis (with some story input from Bill Jemas) and Mark Bagley (with inks from Art Thibert and Dan Panosian). I read the first trade when it came out and was lukewarm about it, though I did buy many subsequent trades and eventually came to like the series quite a bit. However, I stopped following it a number of years ago and had given away my copy of the first trade. Well, in the wake of Spider-Man 3, I decided I might be interested in catching up with Ultimate Spider-Man and decided to pick up a new copy of the first trade and read along until I eventually caught up.

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1: Power and Responsibility collects the first 7 issues of the series and it definitely takes its time in rolling out the basic story. That's not necessarily a bad thing. We get to know Peter and Uncle Ben and Aunt May and even Mary Jane Watson. We see Peter get picked on, get bit by an experimental spider, and see his believable reactions to these events. Norman Osborn is tied up in all of this, as well as Doctor Otto Octavius. It's a good story and this volume does a good job with it. Sure, there are some jarring instances of storytelling - mainly in the cutting between Peter's story and Norman Osborn's story - but you smile when Peter finally shows up in his costume making wisecracks and you're sad when Uncle Ben dies. In fact, the creators did a better job with it than I remember thinking the first time around. I guess we'll see if I think the story still holds up as it goes along.

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