Wednesday, September 13, 2006

COMICS: Ultimate Spider-Man

As I've mentioned recently, I've decided to kill the comic book industry by switching from buying individual issues to waiting for the trade paperback collection to come out. It's working pretty well for me, thanks for asking. But one comic I've always bought strictly in TPB form is Ultimate Spider-Man. I'm not sure why, really; I think I was just late to jump on the Brian Michael Bendis wagon, and by the time I wanted to start reading his US-M, several paperbacks had already been released. So I bought a few, realized the stories read better in book form than spaced out one chapter per month, and stuck with that method of purchase.

But I think my first TPB-only comic is about to get dropped. Because I just read the latest collection, #16, which collects issues 91-96 (plus Annual #2) of the series under the title "Deadpool." And it is frickin' horrible. Just painfully, painfully bad.

Bendis has always been an uneven writer, and while the quality of US-M, which was very high in the beginning, has had its lows and highs throughout the years, I'd say in general it's been trending downward. And this collection has hit rock bottom.

The worst of it comes during the first four issues, which comprise the Deadpool storyline (the next two issues are about Morbius, and the Annual features the Kingpin, the Punisher, Daredevil, Moon Knight, the Kangaroo, the death of Jeanne De Wolfe, and yes, the kitchen sink). I think where it really drove me crazy was during the third issue, where Deadpool gives a TV interview about why he's hunting down the X-Men and Spider-Man. And it runs through five pages. And it's written so poorly. Here, take a look at an extended sample:

These are the most dedicated soldiers on the planet Earth.

These guys ain't messin' around.

This is no backs.

Think about this, think about a guy who is willing to become a Reaver.

Think about the willpower.

Think about the dedication and spiritual control it takes to believe in something that much.

That's who these men are.

These X-Men will die today.

They just will.

See, these mutants, these X-Men kids, they were born like that.

They didn't choose being a mutant. They didn't earn the right to be different or so-called Homo Superior.

They were born that way. They had no choice.

We? Us? We had a choice and we took it.

We chose to stand up for those dudes who can't, and we will put these freaks down.

That's what we're fighting for.

Our desire to destroy them is stronger than anything they could possibly imagine.

Just by our existence... they lose.

When this opportunity came our way...

I knew we had to do this.

We had to make a show of it.

Magneto, Xavier, all these kids. They're all the same.

They actually think they're better than us?!

They think they're the next step in human evolution?!

Are you kidding me with this? Can you believe that??

Someone could be such a complete genetic disaster, such a perversion of God and Nature's will, they could look in the mirror and see that, and yet think, "Yeah, I'm the next step in evolution."

My grandpa says they had a word for mutants in his day.

They called them "carnival freaks" that you put in the carnival freak show.

Yeah. All of Bendis's quirks as a writer, all his shortcomings, his tired rhetorical devices, his forced hip lingo ("no backs"?), compressed into one monologue for convenience's sake.

You know what irritates me the most out of that dreck? "We? Us?" No. "Just by our existence... they lose." No... but that is unbearably obnoxious. No, it's this: "They just will." GOD, that just burrows into my brain. "They just will." It's so meaningless, so hollow, so empty, so very, very stupid, but it's delivered with the dramatic line break, accompanied by an extreme close-up of Deadpool's face, which lets you know that Bendis is actually being serious here, he actually believes that this is a dire threat delivered in a dangerous fashion by a bad man. But it's so ridiculously, laughably juvenile, and it's completely inessential -- as is the entire speech -- to the character, the action, the comic. That is some rotten writing.

And I even left out the bit where Deadpool says, "Man, I wish Magneto was here for this! I would love, love, love, love to eat that guy's face off."

There are still some things I enjoy about this comic in general, and even enjoyed in this particular trade. I especially like the relationship between Peter Parker and Kitty Pryde (although even there, her constant fretting over whether Peter is going to dump her makes her look silly and weak). But I'm just about burned out. The dialogue throughout the book doesn't often rise much above the wretched Deadpool levels, and the characters getting "Ultimatized" at this point aren't exactly marquee names. Deadpool? Morbius? Kangaroo? I think I might be done with this comic -- which means, with the exception of Powers, I'm done with Bendis.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by