Ultimate Spider-Man #70
Quick Rating: Very Good
Peter gets a night out with Mary Jane after a hard day on the job.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: J.D. Smith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Cover Art: Mark Bagley
This issue starts out simply enough, with Peter Parker sitting down for a well-deserved dinner with Mary Jane, but the dinner quickly takes a back seat to his story of a long day in the webs. He helped out the Ultimates only to get nothing to show for it, then wound up stumbling into a confrontation with Dr. Strange that wound up being a lot weirder than it seemed.
This is the first appearance (to my knowledge) of Dr. Strange outside of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, and unlike some of the characters who appeared in that series, this issue seems to harken back to it, although not to such a degree that people who didn’t read it will be lost. In fact, the issue gives us a perfect recap of Strange’s origin, which fans of the main Marvel Universe will find familiar, but with a clever twist.
The ending of this book is a clever twist too. Just as we’re getting to the end of what seems like a relatively quiet done-in-one issue, we get blown out of the water by a last-second surprise. With these three guest-star story arcs, Bendis has finally gotten away from drawn-out, overly padded stories and is telling quick arcs with either a lot of action, a lot of character development, or both.
Bagley has gotten to branch out with this arc, doing as good a job with the Ultimates as he does regularly with Spidey, and pulling out some nice mystical visuals for the scenes with Dr. Strange. Some of the early pages are a little awkward, as the flashback begins with Bendis’s semi-regular trick of having wordless panels with a running commentary down the side of the page, then he switches to more conventional storytelling a few pages in, and the flow is disrupted.
Overall, a good issue. I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of months of Ultimate Spider-Man. I just hope the creators can keep up the momentum once the book goes back to longer story arcs.