Monday, October 02, 2006

The Decompression Project - Step the Second

Ultimate Spiderman Vol.2

Okay, now I see why people make fun of the dialogue so much. Really? Really. Yeah? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, really.

I’m glad I’m reading this series now in collection because I do think it reads much better that way. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to wait 30+ days for the next issue to come out. Although I think this team has been rather consistent with deadlines over the years. Please let me know if I’m right or wrong on that. Still, I recommend reading this as a collection since the plot kind of works better without commercial interruption. Then again maybe it’s just me. I tend to watch TV only on DVD these days because I can’t watch 20 minutes of a show stretched over an hour.

This volume saw the introduction of Doc Oc and the return of the Green Goblin while setting up a few more characters like Harry Osborn to take on the next Goblin role and we either see or hear about Electro, Sandman and Lizard. I like this Doc Oc a lot. He’s threatening and intelligent rather than a doofus with extra arms. This character gets across his ruthlessness, his intelligence and his power. While I do still think the movie version is my favourite because he’s more like one of the animated Batman series villains, this Ultimate version is also a great bad-guy. The main difference is that the movie version has some sympathetic characteristics. Like the animated Batman rogues there’s more to his story than guy in a costume who is bad. Not here. And that works for me too.

This Doc Oc was a cold detached man before any of this went down. So adding the extreme physical trauma to an already detached and sinister man really makes for a great psycho. I am a bit let down by the amount of villains that already know Peter Parker is Spider-man. I get what Bendis is doing in pointing out the weaknesses of the original story, but come on.

Then the Osborns are back, as is Samuel L. Jackson, er, Nick Fury and the grunge/pop-punk version of Gwen Stacey. I do have to call bullshit on that one issue that retells the rooftop meeting between Spidey and the Green Goblin from the Goblin’s point of view. Okay, he’s crazy, that was already established. I’m glad I didn’t spend money on the same story twice – that’s the kind of crap that made me not watch Lost anymore. But otherwise I liked most of it.

I do like what is happening and how most the relationships are developing. We see Peter and MJ getting closer and how this life is getting in their way. But honestly, the repeated dialogue pages can be cut down. Even without the dialogue they’d be better in a couple of cases. I, personally, find it a bit distracting but that could just be because of all the flack that it’s been getting online for a while now.

Otherwise I have two genuine complaints, other than my esthetics of storytelling. The first is a big one. Simply that some of Spidey’s “thought balloons that are shaded squares instead of puffy clouds” weren’t shaded with the gradient. That’s the kind of rushed mistake I can stand on a weekly comic like 52 or even a monthly that meets its deadlines, but for the trade I’m pretty sure Marvel could have got their Photoshop guy to fix it. I mean, I could have.

The second complaint is the woman doing the 20 minute workout. That fad died in the eighties. I don’t know anyone who does that in that outfit anymore. Yoga, fine, but the Jazzercise just doesn’t ring true to me.

Otherwise all is (mostly) well in Ultimate Spidey world. I especially like the Crocodile Hunter version of Kraven. Please tell me he doesn’t come back because this would be the perfect use of an Ultimate villain. Although I’m fairly certain that his girlfriend will work some Wakandian magic on him or something equally offensive to make Kraven a “serious” threat.

Still, when are we all going to just call shaded captions thought balloons? That’s what they are, just without the puffy bits. Get over it.

Runaways – Vol. 1-4

So I read all of these and am enjoying them quite a lot. I can’t really add much more to the praise or examination of this book. What I can do is ask why this book is coming out in any form other than digest? I mean, nothing happens in any of the single issues but over the digest format you get a decent plot and character development. I think this should just be a digest book that comes out quarterly, it’d be better.

I do have to praise Marvel for coming up with new and original characters. That is certainly refreshing.

And I have to praise The Fortress Keeper for taking on the Ultimate X-men. I'll be there someday. I use to be a medium sized X-Zombie in my youth.

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