Current Reviews


Ultimate Spider-Man #45

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2003
By: Tim Hartnett

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley and Art Thibert

Publisher: Marvel

Welcome to the first issue of Ultimate Aunt May, as this book should be called. Because Ultimate Spider-Man is told from the perspective of Peter Parker, we don't hear the thoughts of Aunt May very much, and Brian Bendis takes up this issue to explain them. He doesn't do a bad job at all, everything makes sense, and the conclusion is most satisfying, but why this wasn't interwoven into other plot lines, I have no clue.

The title of the story is, "Guilt" and that is exactly what is portrayed here. Aunt May feels that since costumed heroes now run abound, Peter is in danger, especially since he spends more and more time outside of home. All things that have happened to her are tied into the previous happenings of the title, and allow an extreme case of character development for Peter's guardian. This will certainly play a role in the future, as we may be able to predict the actions of May more closely now.

Everything's fine and well, but as I'm reviewing this title as a whole in addition to the single issue itself, I still don't understand Mr. Bendis' planning. At first, he builds up a whole new villain, then wastes two issues bringing the X-Men into things, and now Peter simply walks home and we get a introspective on Aunt May? It just doesn't seem like the book is doing its job as an adventure or character-driven title. I feel like I missed a whole issue somewhere…was the whole Geldoff thing really necessary---they didn't even fight!

Mark Bagley gets all the credit in my book for developing a distinct style, while still being realistic. He perfectly plays into the emotions of Aunt May during her retrospective narrative, still managing to deliver heavy on action scenes and being proportionate. With characters that have been defined so well by Mr. Bendis, artistic consistency is key to suit their heavy characterizations.

This has lost its title as my favorite book, and I hope Mr. Bendis returns to the more Parker-driven aspects of the book, instead of bringing in the X-Men for odd conversation and explaining May in an entire issue. The execution remains spectacular however, and you never know what Mr. Bendis has up his sleeve, especially as we approach issue #50.

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