Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: N/A

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Mark Brooks
Inked by: Jaime Mendoza
Additional Finishes: Scott Hanna
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

You know – when you are a superhero – life isn’t all saving the world and making out with babes. I mean, my life is like that, but I’m a different sort of superhero. The life of a teenage superhero is still riddled with homework, pimples, and gee gosh golly, the dreaded fairer of the species… girls.

Peter Parker once thought he had the world in the palm of his hand. The love of his life Mary Jane, his best friend with the billionaire dad… ok, maybe the Osborne family is a bad example. He had the love of his Aunt and Unc… kay, next topic. Let’s stick with what Mary Jane.

They broke up an issue or so ago.

Geez.. maybe being a superhero DOES suck.

STORY!

Poor poor Peter Parker. He’s miserable. The love of his life, Mary Jane, is seemingly moving on with her life. He loves her, she loves him, but he can’t remain with a girl who will constantly put herself in harms way. He’s Spiderman, what happens if she dies?! That would totally blow his entire year. He’s already lost a friend, his best friend is a big demony guy, and he’s got the US Secret Ops watching out for when he’s old enough to be a threat.

Kitty Pryde is a young girl who is a minority. A mutant. With the ability to phase through walls, short circuit electricity, and walk on air, she’s not your everyday average kid. Against her parents initial wishes she is now enrolled in the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngers, a school for mutants. She just had a problem in a relationship with another one of the X-Kids, Iceman.

Do you see where we’re going? I think you might.

The fact that from those two paragraphs you can assume, in the best of situations, the entire plot of this issue. That being the assumption though, doesn’t make it a bad issue. As a matter of fact, with one thing leading to another down a perfect day for two angsty kids, you almost expect the last few pages to be fraught with terror. There is no terror. There is just everything that Bendis does right, which is give you the true language, feeling, and emotion that you would expect from a 17 year old pair of kids. The book makes you smile. That’s the some of the highest praise I can give a book.

ART!

I’ve done tons of Ultimate Spiderman reviews. Mark Bagley has been the artist behind almost all of them. Mark Brooks does a fine job in matching up with Bagley’s style. He is the definition of Ultimate Spiderman, and where his version of the X-Men are a little younger, a little lighter, and a little cuter than they sometimes appear in their own title – they fit here.

As the book continues on, Brooks’ art starts loose, and as it reaches that crescendo near the end, the art does as well. Don’t expect fine detailed backgrounds and minutae, but expect to not even notice that you are reading the text of two characters instead of earthshaking fight sequences.

OVERALL!

Remember I said this book is going to make you smile? I meant it. Unless you shun happy comics. Then this comic will make you angry. If that’s the case, you probably shouldn’t be reading Ultimate Spiderman to begin with.

I am not an emotional guy, for the record. It’s hard to make me laugh out loud at a comic book, with a few noticable exceptions. It’s hard to make me tear up. It’s hard to make me smile stupidly at something cute. I put this book down and was beaming with it’s sheer sucrose sweetness that doesn’t come across as forced or fake. I recommend this book to everyone who likes to smile.

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