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  1. #1
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    Default What Spider-Man Comics have you been reading lately!? Version 3.0

    Hello Spider-board. A while back there was a topic devoted to discussing the Spider-Man comics you've been reading recently, because you're not always going to be reading the stuff that is most current and has an active topic devoted to it. And then it was lost in weird code shenanigans. And then a new topic was made! And lost in the Forum reboot. So here we go again, a new topic.

    So, the point of this topic is simple, discuss the Spider-Man comics you've been reading recently and what you thought of them. Did you finally get around to reading "The Death of Jean DeWolff?" Do you want to defend the honor of the Denny O'Neil run? Have you re-read the clone saga and feel the need to vent about how bad it still is? Then this is the topic for you. Any Spider-Man comic from any era from any timeline by any writer or artist. Talk about it here.

    And because I HAVE been reading some Spider-Man comics lately, I'll lay it all on you first.

  2. #2
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    As some of you may know, I came back here just before Amazing launched, happy that we were going to get a new Spider-Man comic again after his year of absence. My intention was to read through all of Superior before Amazing launched, content with the knowledge that it was over, just to get a feel for where the book were, and then continue on through the new Amazing. And I got through 5 or 6 issues before I just couldn't take it anymore. I saw him shoot Massacre, I knew they weren't going to do anything about it, and I just haven' been able to drag myself back to the book. Six issues completely lacking any kind of internal consistency and containing one of the worst Spider-Man comics of all time (Superior #2) were just too much for me.

    So instead I decided I'd just skip ahead and just read Amazing. I got to page 2 before I instinctively flipped it shut and threw it on the nightstand in disgust. No, a lot cannot happen in a Split Second. NO. NO. NO.

    So this left me in a bit of a pickle, and as the months went by I still had an urge to read some Spider-Man, but didn't have any new Spider-Man to read. I'd already read everything pre-700, and everything after that point had left me....wanting. But then I remembered the one gap in my Spidey-knowledge and decided it was time. So....since last time, I've read....

    Ultimate Spider-Man 1-160 (renumbering be damned)
    Ultimate Team-Up 1-16
    Ultimate Six

    Oh yeah, I read all of Ultimate Spider-Man. I mean, all of Ultimate Spider-Man with real Spider-Man not AA replacement Spider-Man. =p

    So what follows are my thoughts overall from the series, because I have a lot of different thoughts about this series.

    -Peter Parker is pretty much perfect and the biggest reason I could read all the weird changes and the gloomy Ultimate Universe happily and enjoyably. Other characters definitely have a different feel from their 616 counterparts (more on them later), but Peter seems essentially just transported from one world to the other with virtually no change. He's probably slightly less mature than his original, but that's understandable since he's...you know, actually less mature.

    -Everything is a bit too neat, I think. Peter, Harry, Mary Jane, Flash, Liz, and later on, Gwen and Kitty, all go to the same High School? Ok, fine. But then on the Spider-Man side of things, you have both Goblins and Doc Ock resulting from the same accident...which was just a follow-up to the incident that created Peter.....which was actually all originated from SHIELD commissioning Super Soldier projects. It's not that anything doesn't make sense. Lots of kids go to a high school, and it makes sense that they would want more Super-Soldiers and that the project that created Spider-Man would also create other...oddities, but I guess I just miss the more chaotic nature of the original universe. I like the idea of Peter having different circles of friends from different parts of his life and Mary Jane and Gwen being outsiders. Of course, some of that won't work because of the time frame of the story, but still, I dunno. There's other stuff of course too, like Richard both nearly creating the web formula and also creating the Venom suit. Just....everything's a little too connected.

    -Speaking of Timeframe, since Peter's Sixteenth birthday is shown right before the Death of Spider-Man storyline, we're essentially expected to believe everything that happened took less than a year....which would be believable if there weren't 18 months of time skips included in the series. There's two six month gaps (after the movie is shot and after Ultimatum), a two month and a four month gap (one of these was so Connors could make the Symbiote, the other...I don't remembeR). So...you know....time compression or something.

    - With the exception of her relationship to Peter Parker, I think Ultimate Gwen is pretty much perfect in the same way Peter Parker is perfect. She acts a little different because this isn't the 60s and women don't have the same kind of expectations placed upon them, but she's still got that fiery streak, and she's still kinda a drama queen. She lacks the real obsession with Peter Parker that her original had, though you see a couple elements of that in the early stories when they play with the idea that she could be a real rival love interest. But they only really play with the idea, because the series makes no bones about who is the real love interest....

    - Ultimate Mary Jane. I must admit I find the Ultimate version more appealing than her original counterpart on a personal level...but Bendis strips away most of what made Mary Jane Mary Jane. She's "Brainy Janey"? She's been in love with Peter for years? She's obsessed with Peter basically? She basically has nothing in common with the original besides her crappy home life and status as Peter's love interest. This kind of goes back to the neat-ness thing I was talking about earlier. Ultimate Mary Jane wasn't created as her own character, she was created to fit into the position of Peter's love interest. So they made her smarter and more understanding and to basically only have eyes for him. It's a little too easy. While I've never been her biggest fan, what I always appreciated about the Mary Jane relationship was that it was messy. It was much closer to the realistic version of love that people do end up marrying. It's not the first love or the idealized love (Betty and Gwen), it's the "yes I have baggage and we don't have a lot in common but dammit I love you" love. Ultimate Mary Jane is back to Idealized (and first all rolled into one), and that's fine from a story perspective....but it's not really Mary Jane.

    - On the other hand. Ultimate Doctor Octopus > Normal Doctor Octopus. Ultimate is sleeker, crazy, and just more threatening than the blowhard that is regular Doc Ock. I also thought his powers were cool for a second until I realized he was just Magneto. So that kind of took him down a peg. But his initial story arc and his movie story arc were both great.

    - Serious Questions. Why does the Black Suit want Peter? I thought in the original Venom story arc, the whole reason why Eddie was able to use the suit is that he had a separate sample that Peter never touched. So Peter destroyed the one Eddie had shown him.....but he still had another. The Venom suit shouldn't have any memory of Peter...but in the second venom storyline it's a major plot point.

    -For that matter....what is Gwen? Peter destroyed Carnage....and then they made another one that retained the memories of Gwen for some reason? Why did it choose the Gwen form? Where did it come from? I don't understand at all.

    -Reading from the beginning of the Ultimate Universe, especially with Ultimate Team-Up is fascinating in the sense of watching them build the universe. Ultimate team-up features the Fantastic Four...but not the Fantastic Four that end up getting thier own series, this fantastic four is just like the original version. Or how an "Eddie Brock" from the Daily Globe asks a question of Captain Stacy...and then Eddie Brock is some punk college kid instead.

    -That Clone Saga, man. Just great stuff. It pays homage to so many things and manages to be a cohesive interesting tale on its own.

    -Really though, Peter, figure out a better Mask solution. There is almost no villain he faces that doesn't take his mask off. Kingpin? Check. Shocker? check. And even the ones that don't do that figure out some other way to know who he is. Ock and Norman know from the incident that created him. Harry sees him without his mask. Mysterio creates a genetic tracker. Chameleon takes over his life. Like, after the second time this happens you create some kind of tab or something that keeps it on dude.

    -Ultimate Spider-Man seems a lot weaker than his normal counterpart. I mean, he still lifts a car, truck, and some construction equipment, but then he punches Kingpin and Ox and hurts his hand. =\ That shouldn't happen. And even besides that, he's just getting his ass kicked a LOT in the series. =\

    -I don't mind the Ultimate Green Goblin. He's different, sure, but still cool.

    -Reading over a hundred issues with the same creative team really hits the value of consistency home. When Immouen (sp) takes over for Bagley, it's not that the art gets worse, it's that the art looks DIFFERENT, and that means WRONG. =p I mean, sometimes he gives his women mannish faces, but generally Bagley is spectacular, and having him for so long made his style THE style for the series. It just gave everything a consistency that made the world feel more cohesive. It's one of my problems with the main universe right now, that you go from issue to issue with a radically different artist for each storyline. They don't feel like they all go together. You don't have that problem with Ultimate.

    -While I'm talking about Art, Lafuente's run starts terribly. Spider-Man looks like a balloon animal...but even the book acknowledges this. And by the end of his run I thought he had developed a really great look for the book, especially for Gwen and Mary Jane.

  3. #3
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    -I was surprised but I really liked the post-Ultimatum period. Earlier stuff was great, but it was admittedly very similar to the original universe in a lot of ways. And after 160, the entire Universe becomes so radically different that you don't really recognize it. But the post-ultimatum/pre-160 period I think strikes this happy medium, where things ARE different, but not SO different. Then again maybe I'm just happy they shoved a Gwen relationship into the book before the end.

    -The series felt kind of scant, overall. I started reading in early September, though the exact date eludes me, and I got through all 160 issues in less than a month. And when I look back over the series it just doesn't feel like a ton of stuff has happened. Part of this is just Bendis' style, because each story takes about five or six issues to tell. While it's 160 issues, you're really only getting something like 30-40 stories in those 160 issues. Compared to the 616 universe, just not a lot happens. I can't complain about what was printed though. I mean, I never felt like a story needed to wrap up before it did, or that certain issues were unimportant filler (except for that one issue where Peter keeps getting waylaid and can't get to the Rhino before Iron Man does, which is clearly filler because that Gwen scene was clearly supposed to happen BEFORE the previous storyline).

    -With that said, I wonder if I would have enjoyed the series as much had I read it as it came out instead of all at once. Protracted storylines aren't a problem when you have it all in front of you. But when you have to wait a month between releases? Eh...maybe not as forgiving. I don't know how I would have dealt with those first several issues if I was reading them monthly.

    - And now the big one. I don't like Downer Endings. I do like Spider-Man. You therefore will not be surprised to learn I didn't LIKE the Death of Spider-Man. You can't KILL Spider-Man, he's the hero! He's the star of the story! And you certainly don't kill him just to bring in your affirmative action legacy hero, just to shunt him off to the side. You didn't even need to do it. As Peter says in the story, he can't keep being Spider-Man once people know who he is, and the story makes him go all avant garde with his identity, so he can't keep being Spider-Man. You have him kill Norman, wake up in the hospital, and he doesn't have his powers because Fury gave him a special antidote to neutralize the OZ. He wins, goes back to school to live a normal life with his Harem and Aunt. Then Miles takes over because the world still needs a Spider-Man. Done! You don't kill Spider-Man. You don't prove the rest of the Ultimate Universe right, that they live in a sadsack world where evil always wins. You let him win this one and stick it to the rest of the world, because he's Spider-Man and he rises above that crap.

    With all that said....

    BUT IF you're going to kill Spider-Man.....this is the way to do it. I may not like the story, but I don't like it in the same way I don't like 121-122. It's an amazingly well-told heart-wrenching story that I simply don't like the outcome of but recognize the greatness of it. The Death of Spider-Man is the best Spider-Man story since at least Coming Home, and probably it goes all the way back to Kraven's Last Hunt (which is better for sure, but something in between those two might be better that I'm forgetting). It's pretty much the perfect execution on how you kill a hero while still making the hero succeed, while still making him admirable, while still making him seem awesome. You don't kill him to one villain, you kill him by throwing everything at him at once. He died fighting five on 1 after being shot with a sniper bullet in the side while saving Captain America's life. He gets help, sure, but the help he gets is from his family and love and they're moves of desperation. They feel like help he's earned and that doesn't come out of nowhere, but are the result of him being a good person and cultivating good relationships. He dies in the act of finishing off his greatest villain, who has already killed his number two villain.

    It's basically perfect for the subject matter that it covers. If I had to find a complaint (and I do by contract =p)it'd be that Norman being alive after his previous story is a bit of a cheat or that the lead up to his Death resolves things a little too easily (Kitty, Gwen, Mary Jane). But they're cheats I'll allow because they're both not too crazy and they're things that had to be done. No one but Norman could be responsible for Peter's death. And letting him die with so many threads hanging would have been unsatisfying.

    I don't want to drag this too far astray, but the comparisons to 700 are amazing. How much BETTER this was than Dying Wish is shocking. I mean, I always thought Dying Wish sucked, but seeing the same basic idea executed over a year earlier in such a superior manner (pun not intended) really puts it into perspective. Dying Wish upset me because it treated what should have been a momentous occasion into a page before a full page splash advertising the next series. They didn't just kill Spider-Man but they killed him in such a weak lightweight way. The important moment when he really lost isn't even shown to us as it happens, it's just a flashback. The fight isn't a knock down drag out epic brawl with five of his greatest foes, it's one meager attempt to switch back while they fall out of a window. He gets a PAGE to show his death that is immediately followed up by a declaration that's essentially just a Superior Spider-Man advertisement. It took what I already thought was a stupid idea and made it that much less appealing because the appropriate weight wasn't given to what happened. It doesn't MATTER that he was always going to come back, the story they were telling then was one of his death, and the story doesn't seem to care.

    The Death of Spider-Man is the opposite. Bendis has tried to claim that he wanted to kill Spider-Man for a long time and Miles was an afterthought. This is certainly a possibility, it may even be partially true, but I don't really believe him. Despite his claims I fully believe that they killed Peter because they got the idea for Miles and they wanted to do it. Getting Peter out of the way was but a necessary side effect. And yet despite this similarity, the story itself doesn't feel that way. The story itself feels like it's all about Peter Parker's last stand and valiant struggle. They devote several issues to the final confrontation and several more before hand wrapping up plotlines. Then they devote MOST of a follow-up miniseries to mourning him and the effect losing him had on people. Spider-Man is the focus of the story and the hero. It's about his struggle, success, and loss, not about setting up the next guy.

    And because of that...yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and read Miles. I don't care about him the same way, and he'll never be the REAL Spider-Man, but I don't resent him for existing because Peter had such a touching send off. I still don't like it, of course, because I don't want the hero to lose. And Spider-Man loses in the story, for sure. He succeeds in his goal of protecting his Harem and Aunt, but he dies at the age of 16 in the process. And that's a terrible tragedy, not just for him but for Mary Jane, Gwen, Kitty, and Aunt May....and then some. Mary Jane was so in love with him and that will never be fulfilled for her. This isn't some hardened experienced warrior going out for one last tussle to save his family, this was a kid who was still growing into his role that was cut down by SHIELD's incompetence (seriously, SHIELD is responsible for every bad thing that happens in the Ultimate Universe it seems). He never got to make his own family or even really had a chance to live his dreams. And that's why I can't LIKE this story. That's why it IS a tragedy. But it's a tragedy that gives the sorrow its appropriate weight, that treats the subject with respect, and for that it's a great story. And so while it's not the ending I would have wrote; while it's not the ending I wanted; it is an ending with closure to the story. And so I can move on, a little sadder but with understanding.

    -So, in summary, I really really liked Ultimate Spider-Man. It was great, and even though there were a lot of changes that I didn't like or wouldn't have made, I cannot deny that it was told with expertise and was thoroughly entertaining. It may have ended on a downer, but it was a great ride to get there and a satisfying conclusion none the less. And really, that's all I can ask for.

  4. #4
    Fantastic Member Turlast's Avatar
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    Good to see you back, Xenon. When I started to become more of a consistent Spidey reader, I always made it a point to read your posts.

    I've been reading here and there. Just got finished with Stern's early Spectacular stories with Belladonna and the fake Prowler. Before that, I had just read Parallel Lives. I honestly enjoyed its take on Peter and MJ up to the point where they got married.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenon View Post
    I don't want to drag this too far astray, but the comparisons to 700 are amazing. How much BETTER this was than Dying Wish is shocking. I mean, I always thought Dying Wish sucked, but seeing the same basic idea executed over a year earlier in such a superior manner (pun not intended) really puts it into perspective. Dying Wish upset me because it treated what should have been a momentous occasion into a page before a full page splash advertising the next series. They didn't just kill Spider-Man but they killed him in such a weak lightweight way. The important moment when he really lost isn't even shown to us as it happens, it's just a flashback. The fight isn't a knock down drag out epic brawl with five of his greatest foes, it's one meager attempt to switch back while they fall out of a window. He gets a PAGE to show his death that is immediately followed up by a declaration that's essentially just a Superior Spider-Man advertisement. It took what I already thought was a stupid idea and made it that much less appealing because the appropriate weight wasn't given to what happened. It doesn't MATTER that he was always going to come back, the story they were telling then was one of his death, and the story doesn't seem to care.
    Hey Xenon. So I haven't read really any Ultimate Spider-man (with Peter Parker), but I did pick up the death issue. I agree that, despite that being part of a longer storyline that I didn't read any of the rest of, that's how you do a death issue. It was poignant, and Peter went out fighting. Contrasted to the rather rotten ASM #700, which as you say, was little more than an advertisement for Superior, with a conclusion that felt forgone, and there's really no comparison.

    I have never read Ultimate, but it may be a nice alternative to today's books. And I love me some Mark Bagley Spider-man. What are you going to read from here? I can say that I did read the first 9 or so issues of Miles Morales before losing interest. It was pretty well done, Pichelli's artwork is great, and it builds off of the death of Peter, etc. I just don't care about the Ultimate universe, it's too much like the regular one with, as you say, little conveniences and differences. Also, I don't know if you ever read Spider-men, but you may be interested to see how the 616 Peter reacts to being plopped into the Ultimate universe.

  6. #6
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    I like Miles Morales a lot. A shame that book keeps getting dragged into crossovers, because it doesn't need them. I enjoyed seeing Peter's supporting cast continue to appear in Miles' book. (Except for Kitty. She got called into other books.)

  7. #7
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    A fan of Miles here. I've read his run up to the end of the venom arc. I do want to see him develop more of his own rouges gallery and his supporting cast, small as it is. I also found the idea of a child spiderman being a hero during a war-torn Ultimate-verse exciting and tension filled but that was only for 1 tpb. Feels like a wasted opportunity.

    As for the Venom arc...I feel like it could've been someone else that led to Miles mom's death. I don't have a definite answer for it but it probably ties into making original villains for Miles.

    Other than that, I've been reading Kaine's Scarlet Spider. Yost has some good stuff. I liked Kaine's sorta redemption and his interaction with Aracely. It was cute and funny. It was also nice seeing him set up shop in Houston and manage to some allies to work with. For some reason, I had the feeling that Kaine was going to be that weird spiritual spider book considering his death, Aracely's heritage, and the Hand. Too bad about the cancellation.

  8. #8

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    I recently read the 90s mini series Annex. I had picked it up cheap somewhere, and had remembered the character from some trading cards.

    It's kind of what you would expect from a project that was a spinoff of a character introduced in a 1990s annual (as part of a gimmick where every annual introduced a new superhero) where a big villain turned out to be someone who had shown up in a Terry Kavanagh three-parter a few months earlier. Writer Jack Harris (who I had briefly mixed up with Joe Harris, author of Slingers and the well-regarded Image series Great Pacific) had done a decent mini-series at around the same time "Web of Doom" so I thought it might okay.

    It was not. Harris had a decent take on Spidey's personality, and the crippled hero dependent on his armor had some interesting similarities to the Flash Thompson Venom, but I can't recommend this. The villains were generic to the point of barely having a motivation, and the art was what you get when Marvel tried to ape Image Comics.

  9. #9

    Default Latest Spider-Man comic you read

    With approval by Spidey section's first mod; Mister Mets I start this thread.

    Name the last comic you read either titled, starring, or co-starring our favorite wallcrawler, and share your thoughts of it.

    I read The Spectacular Spider-Man 178-183: The Child Within.
    It's not masterpiece, another psycho-babble filled story written by J.M.Dematteis, at least it has lesser fragmented inner monologue than the famous Kraven's Last Hunt did.
    I love how the child within is about the inner child of two characters, three if you consider Peter Parker thinking of his past, and has balanced focus between the three characters, without making one of them a sideline character.
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  10. #10
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    I haven't read the latest issue yet, but the only Spider-MAN title I'm reading these days is the Amazing Spider-Man __.1 series written by Gerry Conway. (I'm passing on Renew Your Vows and Secret Wars in general). As for issues 16.1 and 17.1, I've enjoyed he story of Spidey vs. gangster-type bad guys like Hammerhead and Tombstone.

    By the way, do the Spider-Ladies (Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, and Silk) count?

  11. #11
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    Amazing Spider-man #16.1 and #18.1 (too bad more people aren't reading these--leagues ahead of anything I've read of 616 Spidey the last three years)

    Renew Your Vows #1

  12. #12
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    Spiral (16.1-18.1), Renew Your Vows #1, Ultimate Spider-Man 40-60.

    In fairness to Spiral, I've seen a lot of people in the stores I visit read it, it just isn't a comic were you discuss what will happen.

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    Ultimate Spider-Man. I haven't gotten a chance to grab a copy of Renew Your Vows #1

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