Spider-Man Reviews: Ultimate 4, Superior 6 and Amazing 48

WebShooters- Spider-Man

It’s another trifecta week with Spider-Man comics. Which ones should you be reading?

Ultimate Spider-Man creators: Writer- Jonathan Hickman, Guest Artist- David Messina, Colors- Matthew Wilson, Letters- VCs Cory Petit


Glenn: This is a quieter issue in some ways. Its almost like a play with the majority of it taking place inside a restaurant with a long conversation between two couples. This features a double date between Peter and Mary Jane Parker along with Harry Osborn and his wife….Gwen Stacy. The conversation and character beats between the two pairs is very interesting. It’s hard to make an issue full of talking compelling, but damn this manages it.

We also get great cutaways with the Parker kids, Ben and Jonah. There’s a lot of filling in the margins here as we finally find out about MJ’s job, more about Harry and get a good overview of who this version of Gwen is. Over the last ten years, the Spider-Gwen version of Peter’s first love has dominated the character, but this version here is more like the original Lee/Ditko version all grown up and if she never met Peter. I wonder if she had a copy of Atlas Shrugged in her bag.

Steve: This issue deals almost entirely with a dinner date among Peter, MJ, Harry and Gwen. It’s really cool that Hickman is building a very different dynamic with the four friends, but capitalizing on our familiarity. The entire books is charming and engaging. We get a glimpse into their personalities and push the story forward in an unusual way. After a lot of chatting, Harry finally drops the proposition to Peter- “save the world.” Interestingly, it’s Harry who delivers the famous line about responsibility and power. Peter is not quite ready to hear it, but I’m sure a catalyst is coming shortly that will galvanize his journey into becoming the Spider-Man we know. Spider-Man working alongside the Green Goblin should be interesting.

I’m sure this won’t be an issue for everyone. Apparently, folks are already complaining about a “talking heads” issue. I, for one, loved it. It was written brilliantly and I felt like I was sitting at the table. It was an interesting way to further develop this new Ultimate world. I wouldn’t want every issue to be like this, but a one off like this was very refreshing.


Glenn: Marco Checchetto is on an art break already

*trashes furniture*

What’s that? David Messina? Well let’s see….

In truth, Messina is no Chechetto but he does an admirable job filling in. The style is similar enough that its not distracting but I think that’s likely the colouring but in a dialogue heavy issue the artist has to make this visually engaging and Messina definitely rises to the task.

There’s a lot of little glances, expressions and emotional expressions that give different meaning and possible explanations to the dialogue being portrayed. There’s a lot going on in these exchanges beyond the words being spoken and Messina delivers that with exceptional skill.

A more than acceptable fill in even though I’m not sure what it says about Marvel’s organizational skills that we have a fill in this early.

Steve: When I saw that there was a fill-in artist, if that’s what we call it, I was a bit bummed. Marco Checchetto is an absolute master and one of the best in the business. I was pleasantly surprised, however, because David Messina is an excellent artist. His style is slightly different than Checchetto’s, but not jarringly so. This is very important because most of the issue dealt with faces, expressions and conversation. A major difference in style would have stuck out and taken the reader out of the story. I think the key here is that both have the amazing colorist Matthew Wilson. His use of warm colors and a muted pallet makes this issue feel familiar. It truly felt like a continuation of the last issue.


Glenn: Slower issue but a lot going on that might be more than at first glance. The boom continues to be excellent overall. 4 Webshooters

Steve: Still the best Spider book on the shelves. 4 Webshooters

Superior Spider-Man creators: Story- Dan Slott, Writer- Christos Gage, Pencils- Mark Bagley, Inks- John Dell and Andrew Hennessy, Colors- Edgar Delgado, Letters- VC’s Joe Caramagna


Glenn: Just as I was thinking this was running in place a little, Slott does a great job shaking up the snow globe. We get some great character work with all characters involved and Otto finally going full heel. The one thing I didn’t expect to happen here does happen and given I’ve only known Doctor Octopus for oh say, 30 years, I should have known better.

The little twist with Spider-boy and the spiders being infused with Otto’s brain patterns has added a different layer to the title I wasn’t expecting. Just when I think that Slott is delivering great, but somewhat running in place material he makes me remember that he still has the goods. I never should have questioned it to be fair.

Steve: Last time, I stated that this comic didn’t have an original direction and was ultimately not really necessary. I take it back. Slott brought Otto truly back to his obnoxious self- no more worrying about whether he would work with Peter. He is in full blown Doc Ock mode. And furthermore, we have Doc Ock spiders falling all over the city with infected folks calling others “Dolt,” “Cretin,” “Imbecile” and others. Does it get any better than that?

Lots of layers here. Spider-Man and Anna Maria battling Doc Ock trying to save Supernova. Spider-boy now ostensibly a little superior spider for Doc Ock. Spiders falling all over the city infecting folks. And most importantly, this was fun to read. It had wonderful humor that didn’t feel forced. And best of all, Spider-Man was totally in character here. Doesn’t get much better in comics than when Spidey is being Spidey. I will call this the rebound issue! Kudos to the creators.


Glenn: It’s Mark Bagley drawing Mark Bagley things. Delivering in all areas as usual. This creative team might be one of the steadiest in comics which I always think is so important in comics. I’m old school and believe in consistent creative teams so glad to see two of the best Spidey creators ever being able to do that month in and month out.

Steve: At this point, I’m not sure what to say about Mark Bagley. He has drawn one million, yeah, that’s right- one million issues of Spider-Man. At this point, he is pretty good at it. He has a lot of action to draw here, and it looks wonderful. He got to create a new character, sort of, in the Superior Spider-boy. I don’t know about you, but I noticed a Trigon from DC look to him. (It’s the eye thing). Great issue with a lot of detail- well done.


Glenn: A great shake up. Excellent book. 4 Webshooters

Steve: I was getting a bit worried about this series, but feel like we are back on the rails. 4 Webshooters

Amazing Spider-Man creators: Writer- Zeb Wells, Guest Artist- Todd Nauck, Guest Colorist- Sonia Oback, Letterer- VC’s Joe Caramagna


Glenn: We get a big showdown between Peter (and Betty) against Ben, Janine and the Goblin Queen. That’s right folks its like the Legion Of Doom if they were comprised of characters J.M DeMatteis co-created or had a big hand in that have been made 500% worse.

There’s a lot of the Goblin Queen voicing frustration that their evil aura has been removed, but they’re still evil for no reason. Stop pointing out your own story logic gaps Marvel!

Seriously though, this issue is a lot better. the action is good, we have Ben and Janine (hopefully) seemingly moving on and the implication of an interesting mystery. I’m thinking said mystery will lead up to the *checks notes* Spider Goblin in issue 50 though so we’ll see.

Steve: I’ll be honest, until this run on Spider-Man I wasn’t overly familiar with the character Goblin Queen. Interestingly enough, as I’m reading this, I am reading X-Factor from the beginning. As many know, Madelyn Prior, the Goblin Queen, is married to Scott Summers at the beginning of that run. As Jean is resurrected, Scott leaves her to run back to his X crew. She seemingly dies……and well, lots of history. So, that doesn’t make this story any better, but it does add a little weight to her line, “If you can find a way to look past our complicated history.” Yeah, complicated all right. This just in- Glenn informs me that I’m a moron and that this Goblin Queen is in fact not at all Madelyn Pryor. Disregard…..

This issue was better in a sense. It had some nicely drawn action and some nice, if not warm, character moments between Janine and Ben. While they are the villains at the beginning of the issue, the reader feels a sense of sorrow, yet hope for their future. Perhaps a mini to follow their path would be appropriate.

The problem with this small arc is that it feels like filler. Lots of action that ultimately doesn’t really lead anywhere other than the cryptic line delivered by Ben, “That machine showed me some terrible things. Spider-Man is in a lot of trouble.” )Glenn has thoughts on that) Then, we get the obligatory ending with the Sinister Six that keeps popping up at the end of issues. I don’t see the buildup. I don’t see the tension. I just don’t see why this is necessary at this point. It has been done so many times before. Seems like Wells just wants to take his stab on his greatest villains.


Glenn: I think a lot of this issue is lifted up considerably by Todd Nauck. He makes the ‘Jason’ persona of Hallow’s Eve go from a laughable oddity to an entertaining threat. He delivers on the emotion, the action and more here.

He draws all the things well and again, he’s another drive by artist that was sticking around to do more. Not sure where he’s headed off to but Nauck is one of the most underrated talents in the history of comics and any book is lucky to get him.

Overall: Its better but still not great. The art is so good though that I think it softens the blow of a lot of the stuff delivered here.

Steve: The worst part of the art on this book is that it says, “Todd Nauck- Guest Artist.” We know what that means. John Romita Jr will be back?!?!?! It’s not just my distaste for JRJr. Todd Nauck is an excellent artist. He does everything extremely well: action, layouts, acting, faces, drama. The story has definitely improved, but the art is the star again. The panel with the closeup on Janine’s face as she realizes that Peter and Betty are telling her the truth and she and Ben have been duped is perfect! Loads of emotion. I will certainly miss Nauck when he moves on.


Glenn: Vampires and John Romita Jr is back. I bet Steve is excited! 3 Webshooters

Steve: Better. Art is wonderful. Three Webshooters

Check back for more Spider action.

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