Ultimate Spider Man Volume 5 Review

The Ultimate Spiderman comic series is back and I hope that you caught my review of the previous volume. For those of you who are unaware, this series is not just based off of the TV show of the same name, but it is the TV show. Essentially, you are reading the episodes in case you do not want to watch them. This can be a good thing if you really love the show, but otherwise….it really limits the potential of these comics. I’ve already experienced the adventures, so seeing them again may not have the same impact. Ah well, there are four stories here so they should be pretty entertaining. Short, but epic right?

One story features Thor as Loki manages to trick him into becoming a frog. This doesn’t bode well for the Prince of Asgard and he will need to turn to Spiderman and his gang for help. He had been pretty condescending towards them, but true heroes don’t hold grudges so they decide to come in and help. They may not be a match for an Asgardian, but with the right weapons..they may stand a chance.

Well, this was a decent story. Thor’s portrayal was a little too over the top as he’s the punchline for too many jokes. He also looks bad since he underestimates the mortals at the beginning. He may have been transformed into a frog, but I figured that he could still fight a little. Evidently, that was not the case. Loki is also fooled rather easily, but I suppose that it was too be expected when faced with the mighty Spiderman. Definitely not the best Spiderman adventure, but it had some fights, which is always good.

We also had a comic, which featured Venom. Shield decides that he needs to be destroyed right away, but Spiderman warns them that a human is inside. His teammates don’t care and (unsuccessfully) attempt to take Venom down for the count. Will Spiderman be able to stop his friends from seriously injuring the host while making sure that Venom doesn’t destroy them either? It’s definitely going to be a long day for the web slinger.

This was the best comic in the batch simply because we got the most amount of action compared to the other issues. Venom definitely puts up a fight so it’s nice to see how he fares against the heroes. Spiderman’s partners definitely seem outmatched, but that’s essentially in their job description. The jokes are minimal in this comic and one could almost think that they were in a dangerous situation…almost.

Next, we had a story where Wolverine and Spiderman swap bodies. This can be a little tricky for the heroes since Wolverine isn’t really a school person and Spiderman doesn’t want to have to face off against the deadly Sabretooth. Spiderman’s going to have to steel himself and prepare for the fight of his life…without his trusty Spider Sense! This is going to get epic!

The Wolverine story wasn’t my favorite and I can’t say that I cared for it in the TV show either. The idea of switching bodies is cool, but they really don’t do anything with it. They just fight a bit and switch places again. It’s very uneventful and Spiderman should still be able to fight well in Wolverine’s body. Sure, no spider sense, but he should show some courage. I expect more out of the legendary Spiderman. The insults between Spiderman and Wolverine were original, but also a little petty.

Finally, we had the issue with Doctor Octopus as he decides to fight Spiderman one on one. It’s just going to be the two of them as they fight to the death. Will Spiderman be able to beat this mastermind? Doctor Octopus has been waiting a long time for this fight so it’s bound to get dicey for Spiderman. Winning will require more than just power or dedication, it’s going to take speed!

Well, this was a decent comic. I never like when Spiderman mocks his own jokes because that’s going a little too far. Just let the jokes keep on rolling so that they can have a subtle epicness to them. Mentioning the jokes makes them seem a little forced. Doctor Octopus fought pretty well, but the victor was never in doubt. The comic didn’t really have any heart, but it was still a decent read.

There isn’t much to say about the art since it’s just screenshots from the show. The show has some great animation so it also looks pretty good on paper. The way that the panels are arranged can be a little awkward since there are a lot of blank spaces, but I suppose that it’s to be expected considering how they put the pictures in.

As mentioned earlier, the problem with this collection is that it doesn’t have a lot of heart. It can be fun to read and it’s essentially like Marvel Adventures. The problem is that the comic is guaranteed to never get all star art or fight scenes. It’s destined to stay as a fun read, but not something that you will think about afterwards. The collection is very short so it won’t be around for long either.

Portrayal wise, everyone is out of character or extremely in stereo type. Thor is a prince so he’s really proud and needs to learn about humility. Wolverine is just as mean as he is in the comics, but without any of the great lines or character development. Venom is really just there to beat up on the heroes and Spiderman just cracks jokes for the fun of it all. His teammates don’t really have character and they’re barely heroes as they didn’t care about Venom’s host at all. Nobody is completely in character in this collection and that’s basically what I had assumed from the start. Staying in character would go against the series’ tradition after all.

Overall, this is what I’ve come to expect from Ultimate Spiderman. It’s a quick read that is entertaining, but there is nothing noteworthy about it. I have a feeling that it wouldn’t be half as fun if Spiderman wasn’t in it. (This feeling is basically confirmed after watching the new Hulk show) The score is over the halfway mark, but I really couldn’t recommend this to any Marvel fans. Sure, it’s a fun read, but almost any other Spiderman comic would still be fun, but it would also be a lot better. I recommend checking out the original Spiderman comics or just going with Avengers X Sanction if you want an excellent comic where he is present.

Overall 6/10

Ultimate Spider Man Volume 4 Review

This series relives the adventures that Spiderman has in the current Ultimate Spiderman TV show. The issues do this by taking pictures from the show and then planting them in the comic with some dialogue. Basically, you get to read the episodes in case you don’t watch TV. It can definitely seem like a cash grab since it’s very easy to make these, but I doubt that they sell very well either. Ah well, let’s see if these issues hold up well anyway.

One of the issues involves Harry Osborn as he becomes Venom. Spiderman’s going to have to deal with this threat, but Harry is his friend so that presents a pretty big dilemma for our young hero. Spiderman’s going to have to convince Harry to give up his newfound power the easy way…or the hard way!

Another comic involves the Taskmaster. Doctor Octopus hires him to infiltrate Spiderman’s high school to find out which student he is. Peter Parker is quickly dropped from suspicion since he’s not very good physically, but Iron Fist, Harry Osborn, and Flash Thompson are suspected to possibly be the hero. Spiderman can’t let them fall into harm’s way so it’s time to suit up once more. Will he be able to defeat this vicious foe!?

The Living Laser strikes in a team up comic that features Iron Man as a guest star. Tony Stark gives Spiderman an Iron Spider armor, which immediately gets to the web crawler’s head. His teammates become irritated at this and decide to give him the cold shoulder. Spiderman can’t be deterred and there’s still a villain to stop. He’ll do this…even if he has to do it alone!

Finally, we have a comic with the Hulk. Mary Jane guest stars (It’s a little scary to think that one of the biggest Spiderman supporting characters has been reduced to a guest star role….) as she wants to film this to show the world what a hero Spiderman can be. Spidey is happy to hear it since he hasn’t gotten such good press in a long time. Unfortunately, happy days are cut short as the Hulk engages in battle with a being made of electricity. SHIELD and the government may be after the Hulk, but whose side will Spiderman take? You don’t want to miss it!

I have to say that the usage of the pictures was a little more awkward than usual. They didn’t do a good job of making sure that they make sense. This results in fights that end very abruptly and the characters are already moving onto the next subject. Naturally, they can’t take a picture of every second, but this results in very stilted dialogue and plots. It’s especially noticeable if you’ve seen the show and then you can see all of the parts that are missing. They do manage to cover a lot of ground with these pictures so whoever’s in charge gets some props. It just could have been a little better and more seamless.

Naturally, I can’t even talk about the dialogue or the art that much because it’s all taken from the TV show. This is not a new experience so you should definitely not be reading it if that’s what you’re looking for. At least it is an interesting alternative to watching the show and I still think it would be interesting to see if anyone actually does make that choice.

It’s not really necessary to talk about the character portrayals all that much since it’s the same from the show. In light of this, I’ll just quickly speak about them. Hulk is safely in character, although he looks pretty weak. Zzax is as tough as always, but he’s still not very smart. Taskmaster is a pretty good villain and he was probably the toughest hand to hand fighter that Spiderman’s been up against in a while. Harry is pretty good for the most part and he handled his powers pretty wisely. (Too bad Peter wrecked it) Mary Jane is in character as well and Coulson takes everything in stride. The heroes openly try to mock him, but Coulson’s always prepared.

Peter Parker continues to show the world why he can barely make it as a superhero. He makes a lot of mistakes and he doesn’t act like he has a lot of experience. I can see why his teammates don’t trust him even if they don’t perform much better. I like Spiderman’s portrayal in the show, but just judging from these comics….he doesn’t look so good. Even his famed Spider Sense can’t save him now!

Overall, this is a decent collection of comics. The Iron Man, Venom, and Taskmaster ones were pretty interesting, but I didn’t care for the Hulk story all that much. I am glad that Spiderman stepped up and went against the government. That took character! The action is decent, but the comedy can be a bit much. I can’t recommend this to anyone who saw the show since the show is the definitive way of experiencing these adventures. If you have not watched the show, then these stories can be fun. Remember, it’s just a bunch of pictures that are placed together so don’t come in expecting a lot of artwork. It’s a unique reading experience and it definitely won’t be for everyone. I prefer this to bad art, but I’ll take a comic with average art over this style. You may like this comic for the fight scenes or it may not be enough. I’d sooner just recommend reading the original Spiderman comics from the 60s.

Overall 6/10