"Ultimate Knights: Part 1"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Drew Hennessy (i), Justin Posnor (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2. That was the last US-M I read, until this issue that is. The Annual was released in August 2006, so that makes it seven months since I have flipped through a story starring the Ultimate version of Marvel’s biggest character. Having had my fill (for a lifetime) of Clone Sagas with the original one, I wasn’t too keen on subjecting myself through a second one. Even though I have heard quite a few good things about the "Ultimate Clone Saga," it wasn’t enough to make me change my mind. As such, I sat out nine issues (including last month’s Epilogue) before I returned to this series. Nevertheless, here I am once again, and even though there are a few things here that refer back to the just ended arc, it is not so pronounced that it might confuse a new, or as it in my case a returning, reader. Then again, I have kept abreast thanks to the reviews that I have read for the past nine issues, so I am not quite at "zero level."
Let me get the Clone stuff out first. Aunt May is still in the hospital. She’ll get better. MJ goes through her tests and reluctantly tells Reed and Sue about her "hallucinations/dreams/visions" of the clones. There might be something there, or not. Peter and MJ are together again. That was expected, but what wasn’t expected was the last page revelation. Peter gets to keep his job. There might be something (in the future) between JJJ and May Parker, or not. What else, well, thanks to Fury’s public "cover up," Spidey’s big. Real big. Bigger than Captain America big.
With that out of the way, let's get onto the main story, the "Knights" part of the title of this arc. Finding its start in the aforementioned Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2, this plotline gets fleshed out here. Having already contacted Ultimate Moon Knight (in the Annual), DareDevil extends the same offer to not only Peter but also Shang Chi. Why exactly Shang Chi dresses up in a mixed-ripoff of the Iron Man and Iron Spidey (thank Gawd that crappy costume is gone) is a mystery to me, but did he really think he was going to get the Wilson Fisk, the freakin’ King Pin, that way? Nevertheless, DareDevil arrives just in time to deal with the risk and whisk Chi away from Mr. Fisk and his goons. However, it is his meeting with Peter than cinches the issue for Double-D. In a time when his mainline version has gone off the deep end into the ocean of angst, seeing the Ultimate version of DareDevil use his trademark dry humor comes as breath of fresh air.
Mark Bagley’s pencils are as good as ever, and it won’t be easy getting used to an Ultimate Spider-Man drawn by someone else. Not only do his characters convey their emotions well, not only do they look their age, they also have their individualities and don’t come across as different hair/different skin color versions of the same generic model. What did get me to pause was the inking, but I guess that is because I am not used to Drew Hennessy. The last time I picked up a regular US-M issue, John Dell was its inker (issue #97, "Morbius: Part 2"), and before that, it was Scott Hanna.
Conclusion: About the issue's ending, I just have one thing for Mr. Bendis: I know there is going to be some drama to come out of it, but please don’t drag it out to death and beyond. After all, if the "rumor mill" is to be believed, a certain Johnny hot-head is on the look out for a girlfriend.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!