Sunday, September 18, 2011
Ultimate Spider-Man #1 - Irreplaceable Awesome
Bear with me, people. I'm a little drunk and a little high. I have to be every time I review an Ultimate book these days. I know they seem less like reviews and more like roasts, but it's not done intentionally. I can't help it if Ultimate books suck so many different kinds of balls that even Courtney Love would look down at them for being so fucked up. My ass is still stinging from having to review Ultimate X #4. These are comics from series that I could once get high off of from sheer awesome. Now every time I see them I get the mental equivalent of explosive diarrhea. It's like seeing a dead body get gang banged by a bunch of meth headed necrophiliacs. You feel sick to your stomach, but you can't look away.
This brings me to Marvel's Ultimate relaunch. Unlike DC, Marvel thinks they can relaunch a whole series with just three books minus a good chunk of their most popular characters. Because what do you do when you kill Peter Parker, Wolverine, Daredevil, Cyclops, Dr. Strange, Professor Xavier, and Magneto? Do you start from scratch and try to do something different? Fuck no! You keep trying to make shit shine and use replacement characters and fucked up plots that revolve solely around fucking up Ultimate even more. I don't get it either. It sounds like the kind of logic that would even confuse Michelle Bachmann. But for some reason, Marvel thinks they can make this work and they have a secret weapon. It's called the fucking race card.
That's right. I'm saying it outright and I don't give a damn if Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton put a hit out on me. Marvel is playing the fucking race card with Ultimate Spider-Man. They go through the trouble of killing Peter Parker in a way that was final, complete, and pretty much over. Then they reveal last month in this big media blitz that they're replacing Peter Parker (big emphasis on replacing) with a character Bendis fished right out from the shit-stained recesses of his colon named Miles Morales. What caught so many peoples' attention wasn't that he was replacing a character that you can't replace. It's that he was of mixed race. He was half-black and half-Hispanic. Now as a raving drunk I'm like, "Who gives a shit? How can this kid that never showed up before replace Peter Parker?" Well no one asked that question and it played right into Marvel's hands. Because now you can't fucking hate the new Spider-Man because if you do, Bendis and all his Marvel buddies can just say "Fuck you, you fucking racist! Now buy the fucking book or we'll sick the NAACP on your ass!" Never mind that Miles Morales is still a contrived replacement character to the nth degree. By playing the race card, they're basically inoculating themselves from criticism. They'll say they aren't. But let's face it, if the new Spider-Man was just another white guy it would be a lot harder.
So why am I reviewing this? Well for one, Brian Bendis's work on Ultimate Spider-Man is deemed untouchable by many. Now don't get me wrong. I love the man for what he did with Ultimate. If I ever met him, I would buy him a beer and a lap dance from a stripper. But because of his legacy, he's a lot tougher to criticize and when a shiny new #1 comes out who the fuck is going to bash that? It's a lot easier to just ignore the fact that this whole book is based on a replacement character that Bendis pulled out of his ass. It's easier to ignore that Ultimate is already filled with shitty replacement characters after Ultimatum. Ergo, it's fucking lazy and as a professional drunk, I know lazy! So I'm going to try and offer a different perspective. I actually went through this book on an empty stomach and formulated my own assessment. I don't give a shit if others don't agree with it. This is my review and I'm sticking to it!
The new Ultimate Spider-Man #1 begins with the same shit that the first Ultimate Spider-Man #1 began with, Norman Osborn. This happens in the past and yes, he's still a massive douche-bag. That doesn't change no matter what universe you're in. Norman Osborn is a massive douche and like he has for much of Ultimate Spider-Man, he wants to recreate what he did with Peter Parker. So he has a new Spider and a new set of scientist who have the ethical backbone of Bernie Madoff. So it's the same deal. Osborn, mutant spider, Oz, and super soldiers. Are you bored yet?
After Osborn finishes his rant, we skip to the present where his labs are in tatters. His reputation is beat to shit after it's revealed that he was the Green Goblin. Maybe he should have done a ponzi scheme instead so he would be slightly less reviled. We're still not clear on when this happens other than it's after Osborn's reputation is shot to shit. But it really doesn't amount to shit at this point anyways. What matters is some guy wearing what looks like a Deadpool mask with a different color scheme breaks into the lab, steals some shit, and the super spider crawls on his leg. Now how that spider survives without him noticing it is pretty fucked up. When a spider that big is on your boot, you tend to fucking notice. But it crawls in the bag and he's gone.
Fast forward even more and we meet Miles, who looks about as emotive as manikin. He's with his Puerto Rican mother and black father a special lottery that will determine if he can get into a charter school. If you haven't heard of this shit, it's how cities like New York determine which kids get into the schools that don't suck. This isn't pure fiction here. It actually happens. Fox News uses it to bash teacher unions all the time. Kids will either be excited or feel like they got kicked in the balls
Yet Miles's luck seems a lot better than Peter's because he actually gets in. But again, he responds with as much passion as a comatose lizard. He just got into a school that doesn't suck and he doesn't give a damn. What's that even supposed to tell us about him? That he doesn't give half a shit about having a lucky break? That he feels sorry for the other kids? If there is a meaning here, it's never shown. At all. Not in inner musings. Not in expressions. Nothing. You're basically left to assume that he's just a douche.
So after his parents celebrate this wonderful opportunity for their son, Miles does what any dumb ass kid would do. He runs off and catches up with a less than reputable uncle. Now there are so many pedophile jokes I could make here, but I'll save them for when I have to review Ultimate X-men. His name is Uncle Aaron and he's like a character from the Dave Chappell show. You don't know what kind of fucked up he is. You just know he's fucked up. He basically tells Miles that it's a good thing he's going to that school. I say basically because the dialog is really shitty and you can't make out anything with this guy. But plenty more is said when he leaves the room.
So Miles has a popsicle and sits on the couch. Low and behold, that super spider from earlier shows up so we now know who that asshole in the mask was from earlier. Like Peter, he was just in the right place at the right time and then the spider bites him. Like Norman Osborn being a douche-bag, this is one element you need in every Spider-Man story. It's as predictable as the rising sun. Miles reacts with the same look you would see on a kids face if he saw his grandmother in a triple penetration porno. Again, Miles has the emotional range of a fucking lizard. At least with Peter there was screaming involved. This just adds to the boredom already entrenched from earlier.
After passing out like a bat hit from a joint, Miles's dad shows up and is understandably pissed. He thinks good old Uncle Aaron got his kid hooked on crack or something. Again, not much is said here. We're given very little background other than Uncle Aaron is a douche that has given the family a bad name. We don't know what he's done besides steal shit. For all we know, he banged horses in Memphis for fifty bucks a pop. That's how light on the details this whole issue is. In most of the first Ultimate Spider-Man #1, we at least got to see some of Peter's narrations. Hell, that's the hallmark of most Spider-Man comics. We're left with nothing on Miles. We're left to assume his inner musings are about as complex as a retarded cockroach.
After the shit dies down, Miles's dad gives Uncle Aaron a little pep talk. He basically sets the stage for Uncle Aaron to be the asshole in Miles's life that shits all over him. He's basically a glorified Flash Thompson. This is where the boredom escalates because you can see where this is going. Miles's friendly uncle is going to start fucking with Miles at some point. He'll be the bad influence that will demonstrate why great power incurs great responsibility. It's a theme of every Spider-Man book, but again it's predictable as fuck. Neither Uncle Aaron or Miles's dad says anything to warrant giving more than one tenth of a fuck about them.
Later on through some shitty transitions, we get the first subtle surprise. But at this point the boredom throughout this comic has been so egregious that I can't bring my ass to care. That or I'm already starting to get hungover from reviewing this shit. Miles starts showing his powers and somehow it involves ripping off Sue Storm from the Fantastic Four. It's not so much surprising as it is WTF. You'll be left shrugging your shoulders at the same time you're banging your head against the wall. So this is the reason they killed Peter Parker? To show how a spider bite can lead to powers that go beyond spinning webs and sensing danger? It's like killing yourself to get the insurance money to make the payments on your life insurance policy. It insures that this comic is self-defeating and utterly shit.
Now for the good news/bad news part of the review. The good news is I didn't throw up the last two meals I ate from reading this issue like I did Ultimate X #4. The bad news is my brain wanted to throw itself in a blender for this comic being so fucking bland and boring. It simply cannot process that a book with the title Ultimate Spider-Man #1 on the top could be so fucking lame. There's about as much depth as an amateur Ukrainian porno. Miles is as compelling as a sick rat. He shows no facial expression. He says next to nothing. He has no voice. He has no personality. And this is the guy that's suppose to replace Peter Parker? I seem to remember the first Ultimate Spider-Man not just setting up who Peter Parker is, but establishing his voice and his personality. All this issue did was put Miles in a position to get bit by a fucking spider. That was it. That was the whole damn point of this issue and it did so in the most boring way possible.
Like Ultimate X #4, there's next to nothing redeeming about this issue. It's a big ass gimmick. It has the shiny Ultimate Spider-Man #1 on the cover, but if you end up reading the whole thing the only thought that'll go through your mind is "When is Peter Parker coming back?" That's how compelling Miles is. There's being different and then there's just being different for the sake of it. Everything within this book is so contrived and so gimmicky that you might as well resurrect Billy Mayes and have him read it to you while pitching Oxy Clean in between the pages. You'll be about as thrilled as you would be from an economics lecture by Ben Stein. This was supposed to make Miles Morales an interesting character to follow. By the end, I needed several trillion multi-verses to contain the number of fucks that I do not give.
This comic echoes the big problem with the whole Ultimate universe. They killed off all the characters that most fans identify with and have tried to fill the void ever since. In doing so they've turned Ultimate into this extended What If series that poses the question what certain writers would do if they were allowed to fuck up these characters in ways that even fanfiction writers wouldn't attempt. And unlike fanfiction writers, they have the balls to charge $3.99 for this shit. So you want to tell stories about a world where characters like Peter Parker and Wolverine are dead. Fine. That's what What If is for! Not fucking Ultimate! How can Marvel call a comic like this accessible when it contains bullshit replacement characters pulled out of thin air and only tells stories about how fucked the surviving characters are? Simply put, they fucking can't and by trying it's more pathetic than getting butt-fucked by a monkey.
Ultimate is fucked. There's no way around it. At this point I would butcher baby polar bear, wrap my dick in the entrails, and wave it in the face of the mother if it meant I get back all the worthless years I spent following these shitty books. The only decent thing I can say about Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is that it wasn't quite as shitty as Ultimate X #4, but it's within spitting distance. That's why I give it a final score of 0.5 out of 5. It's that close to being on a level shittier than used toilet paper and half a useful. Brian Bendis is a great writer and he told some awesome stories with Ultimate Spider-Man. This is a serious disappointment. If Ultimate were a dog, it should be shot and the body burned. That would be the only merciful thing to do at this point. Nuff said.