Evil Geek Book Report – Spider-Man By Mark Millar: The Ultimate Collection
Greetings, evil compatriots. Today we are reviewing Spider-Man By Mark Millar: The Ultimate Collection which comprises Marvel Knights: Spider-Man # 1-12 and ran from 2004-2005.
I have a confession to make, this comic is one of the “newest” books I’ve picked up since I’ve jumped back into the world of comics. Up till this point, the latest Spidey comics I knew were in the mid 90s during the whole clone saga debacle. Apparently, a lot had changed since then. Aunt May knows that Peter is Spider-Man, he’s a high school science teacher, and most importantly, Doctor Octopus got a much-needed hairstyle revamp. There was a lot of mental adjustments I had to make, particularly our heroes using cell phones. That was just very odd for me to see. While I saw the talent in Terry Dodson’s art, it wasn’t my particular cup of tea. It was just a little too cartoony for me. What can I say? I’m old school.
What about the actual story? Well, there’s a lot going on here. As the series starts we find out that Spider-Man has put Norman Osborne in jail and outed him as being the Green Goblin. Shortly after this, Peter learns that poor Aunt May has been kidnapped (again!?!?) because one of his enemies has figured out his alter ego and intends to wreak havoc on his personal life. So there’s our set up and Mr. Millar has us off and running through a labyrinth of deceit and a who’s who of Spidey’s rogues gallery. It’s hard to really get into the nuts and bolts of things without giving too much away as this story is layered with reveal upon reveal.
One of the interesting aspects of the storyline is that we get to see what a lot of Spider-Man villains do during their downtime. We see them at bars partying to celebrate their recent victories, banging shape shifting hookers (apparently Elektro has a thing for the heroines of the Marvel universe) and paying for secrets. A particularly inventive moment has a host of villains stationed at an auction to buy Eddie Brock’s symbiote to bond with and become the new Venom. Brock who has cancer had been relying on the symbiote to keep him alive decided to sell it off and donate the money to charity. The Marvel Universe gets a new Venom who operates in this storyline as part of the Sinister Twelve. There are also some large-scale battles featuring guest appearances by both the Avengers and Black Cat and of course everything ties together neatly at the end as we find whose been behind this elaborate charade.
I’ve heard good things about Mark Millar and this was my first comic I’ve read by him. I wasn’t overly impressed, it wasn’t bad by any means just kind of lukewarm. I felt the story wrote itself out of a lot of things a little too easy. Mary Jane is a strong character that was used here as nothing more than helpless lynch pin for Peter. The over use of the word “man” in conversations bothered me too. I know that’s really nitpicking and the dialogue is supposed to mimic real life, but not everyone on the streets of NYC punctuate their sentences with the word “man”. The Ultimates Volume 1 and 2 is on my list to read and from what I’ve heard from just about everybody my outlook on him will have to be revised after reading those.
Till next time geeks, stay evil!
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners