Arrgh! Another issue of The Spirit came out this week, making it once again my most anticipated comic that I just wrote about a few months ago. That series is sooo... good! This could start to be a problem. OK, new rule: If my weekly Most Wanted comic has been written up less than 3 months ago, it's disqualified to be written up again for the current week. That means next month's Spirit is good to go! And, I'll still get to write about every issue of All-Star Superman whenever-the-hell it comes out.
Yay! Problem solved! So... instead of The Spirit, I give you:
Ultimate Spider-Man #110
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
This one came in second for two reasons: It's the last issue of what's been a particularly great story arc, and it's Bagley's last issue drawing the title.
(Well, sort of.. he'll be doing about half of the next one.. but this issue was the marker.)
That also means, in case you didn't know, that the amazingly prolific duo of Bendis and Bagley comes to an end. For 110 issues (a record, depending on who you ask), these two have driven this title - and done a fine job of it, all things considered. I still maintain that the Ultimate Spider-Man is currently the best interpretation of the character. Spider-Man should be 15 and in high school. He should have as much drama in his personal life as he does with the mask on. And he should have a very difficult time keeping those two lives separate. Say what you will about Bendis, but his Spider-Man is spot on. It's a near-perfect title for him to write: very smart, very real, lots of reasons for talking heads and lots of reasons to let the dialog stretch out the story.
(An aside: As much as I love picking up this series weekly, it really does read better in trade format. Especially if you're not a fan of Bendis' decompression writing style.)
Anyway ... this issue:
First off, I gotta say I didn't see the ending wrap-up coming. Nicely done, and well reasoned.
As we begin, the Kingpin has pretty much played Spidey and his Amazing Friends like a fiddle and they're working out the repercussions from that reveal last issue. A traitor is identified, and dealt with. People get mad. Bagley gets to draw a lot of head shots with shocked expressions. He's good at that.
Then, the heroes bust into Fisk Tower to give Ol' Fattie the smacking he so richly deserves, and they do get the upper hand for a while. Then we get into the old "Heroes don't kill / But he's EVIL!" dance, which is resolved in a way that had me saying, "No. Don't make that deal. He's the Freckin' Kingpin.. you think he's just going to do what he agreed to?"
And, sure enough, even as he's following through, Kingy's making plans for his revenge on the side. Then, Bendis pulls the rug out very suddenly and wraps it up with a completely different resolution. This one I like.
This story arc ("Ultimate Knights") would read great in trade, if you're so inclined. And this was a very good ending for it all. And some very good Bagley art to boot!
Ah, Bagley! I'll miss ya! Even though Stuart Freckin' Immonen!! will soothe that hurt, I'll still miss ya. Thanks for the 110 and 1/2, man!
Most Wanted Panel: