Thursday, March 13, 2003

Ultimate Spider-Man #37 - A Review

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Mark Bagley
Inked by: Art Thibert
Colored by: Transparency Digital
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Do you remember the scene in “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” where the narrator yammers about the beauty of the scene we are about to watch, until a horde of knights yell “Get on with it!” and he keeps talking until someone hits him over the head? Picture Brian Michael Bendis as the narrator and me as the horde of knights and that sums up how I felt reading this issue.

You know why this story is titled “Still”? Because after five issues of featuring Venom on the cover and the promise of a smack-down against Spider-Man hanging in the air… we’re all STILL waiting for it to happen. (ba da bum!)

In all seriousness, I did like this issue but it hasn’t done anything to alter my opinion that this story arc has been stretched out a bit too much. There is one scene between Mary Jane and Peter in this issue that has as many long pauses (as represented by panels with no text) as your average Harold Pinter play. Thankfully, the pauses are not frequent to the point of making the dialogue sound like it is being delivered by William Shatner. And like Pinter, the dialogue is sharp when it is there.

When it is not, Bagley’s artwork is as sharp as ever. More than any artist I can think of, Bagley does a good job with the eyes and the soul of each character pours out through them. I particuarly enjoyed the painted nightmare scene the book opens with and the nightmarish appearance of Venom when he (finally!) shows up.

Still, despite the drama being played up a little bit too much as we build towards the magic moment, this is still one of the best books on the rack today. Pick it up. This one is definitely worth the swag spent on it.

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