Thursday, 18 November 2010

Things I Like Week: Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Things I Like Week: Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Non-comics fans please feel free to zone out. This is going to be a post about a comic I like but it will include some musings on the rebooted Spider-Man film so you may want to stick around for that.

So as you may or may not know the Spider-Man movie franchise is being rebooted with a new installment out in 2012 starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Whilst I'm not hugely keen on rebooting for rebooting sake there is ground for doing so in certain situations (See Batman Begins). With the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy I'm a massive fan of everything that was accomplished (I'll admit it - I even liked Spider-Man 3) but at the same time I feel they were burning through story and characters very quickly. What I like about what I'm hearing from this reboot is that it's taking the character back to high school. Not only did some of Peter Parker's greatest adventures took place when he was just a sixteen year old kid it was also a much better environment for creating drama between Peter and his supporting cast. In the Raimi films it seems Pete is destined to end up with Mary Jane and anyone in the way is just a roadblock that'll eventually be conquered.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to Brian Michael Bendis' comic book high school Spider-Man reboot. This annual (With Art by Brooks & Isanove) delivers not only one of the best representations of teenage super-hero romance but one of the best representations of any kind of romance ever seen in the medium. It's a simple concept but one that is very rarely explored in much detail. Instead of Spider-Man's secret identity putting the life of his girlfriend in peril as a kind of damsel in distress why not give him a girlfriend who is if anything more powerful than he is? That's what Kitty Pryde (Of the X-Men) is. It's one of those things that when someone pitches you the idea it leaves you scratching your head and asking why it hasn't been done before. Of course a good concept is just window dressing if the execution is poor but Bendis perfectly captures the awkwardness and nervousness about putting yourself on the line inherent within any teenage relationship. Credit must also be given to Mark Brooks who was stepping into the shoes of Mark Bagley who at that time had been the only Ultimate Spider-Man artist and to the whole team who played out the Kitty / Pete story further than this annual alone.

Ultimate Spider-Man is still going strong to this day and for my money is still one of the best books on sale. This story is available in the collection of all that year's Ultimate Annuals and can be picked up from Amazon or any other good online retail outlet. (Maybe my Amazon sidebar will start recommending it instead of Susan Boyle?) For more comicy goodness check out Liam or Celeste's blogs (Over there->) and join me tomorrow for a final day of things I like!