Friday, May 3, 2013

[BOOK REVIEW] Ultimate Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

Title:  Ultimate Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility Volume 1

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mark Bagley

Genre: Superhero / Action / Adventure

Year Published: 2000

Year Read: 2013

Series: Ultimate Spider-Man #1

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating: Ages 13+ (Some Language and Violence)


I have been growing up with “Spider-Man” ever since I was a child and so far, the only comic I had read from the “Spider-Man” series was “The Origin of the Hobgoblin,” which I did enjoyed.  Now, I had stumbled upon the Marvel Ultimate Universe and after I read Mark Millar’s run on “Ultimate X-Men” and kept hearing so many good things on this run, I decided to give Brian Michael Bendis’ run on “Ultimate Spider-Man” a chance.  Now at first, I was a little hesitant to read this volume because since I had only read one comic from the original “Spider-Man” series, I felt that I need to be informed on how the origins of the original Spider-Man went before I actually read a remake on this series.  However, after I read this volume, I was so happy and satisfied with the results, with or without the original origin stories!

What is this story about?

In this volume, Peter Parker was your average school nerd who is constantly picked on by the popular kids, including Flash Thompson and yet is best friends with Mary Jane.  One day however, when the students ended up going on a school field trip to the Osborn Industries Inc., Peter ends up being bitten by a radioactive spider and he slowly starts to develop powers and a boost of confidence that he never had before.  While Peter is enjoying his new powers, he will soon realize that Harry Osborn is up to no-good…

What I loved about this story:

Brian Michael Bendis and Bill Jemas’ writing: Now from my understanding of the “Ultimate Universe,” it is supposed to be a remake of the original Marvel Universe and after I immensely enjoyed Mark Millar’s revised stories of “Ultimate X-Men,” I started reading “Ultimate Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility” and getting the same results!  Brian Michael Bendis’ writing might feel a bit clunky at times, but I really loved the way that we are able to get inside Peter Parker’s head when he started experiencing the spider powers and how he tries to improve on his powers.  I also liked the fact that Brian Michael Bendis kept some of the concepts from the original “Spider-Man” origin (Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider and his relationship with Uncle Ben and Aunt May), but is able to reinvent this origin into a more modern day setting, which I found pretty impressive!  I also liked the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane as they just start out as friends in this version and I liked the banter between them as it was hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.  I liked the way that Brian Michael Bendis made us really sympathize with Peter Parker as he is constantly being bullied, while at the same time is trying to find his place in the world, which really brought so much depth to this story.

Mark Bagley’s artwork:  Mark Bagley’s artwork is truly unique to me since the characters’ expressions and bodily structures are extremely different from any other artwork I have seen from other comic books.  I loved the way that Mark Bagley made the characters glow on each page as it made the images so beautiful to look at and it really brought out the intensity of the situations.  There were times however, where the characters’ teeth seem to show up too much on each panel and I was wondering to myself about why the characters are smiling so much, but it did not totally distract me from the story.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The only problem with this comic is that there is some language and violence in this volume, although it is pretty toned down and it is not at all graphic or strong, so young teens should be able to handle this volume.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Ultimate Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility” is a fantastic introductory volume for anyone who wants to read an alternative version of “Spider-Man!”  I will admit that diving into the Ultimate universe of “Spider-Man” was really new and a bit weird for me, but this volume greatly set up the characters and you will definitely not be disappointed!

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