Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 1 by Brian Michael BendisSPOILERS
By the time when Brian Michael Bendis was hired by Marvel to write a Spider-Man comic that would not only reboot the publisher’s most iconic character for the millennial audience, but introduce the Ultimate Universe, Spidey was not selling well as the nineties were a troubling time for the industry, including Marvel, who had to sell the movie rights of their characters to make sure they’re still alive. Fortunately, it paid off as the nerdy science kid from Queens can be as relevant during the 21st century.
Based on the original story in Amazing Fantasy #15 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, which was only 11 pages long, Bendiss retelling of Spider-Mans origin is expanded in the first seven issues. During a school trip to Oscorp Industries, Peter Parker gets bitten by an experimental genetically-engineered spider, which leads to him manifesting various superhuman, arachnid-like powers. As Peter comes to terms with these powers and trying to find a purpose for them, Oscorp founder Norman Osborn – the father of Peter’s friend Harry – keeps an eye on the high schooler who will become your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
Given that the source material was essentially a short story in which the hero learns the meaning of responsibility through a tragedy, it is surprising how Bendis can expand this over seven issues, since everyone should know Spidey’s origin by now. However, Bendis expands on who Peter is as a high schooler who is constantly being bullied by the jock Flash Thompson, whilst receiving friendly comfort from his next-door neighbour Mary Jane Watson.
Although there was about forty years of history before the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man as we’ve seen the character age over the years, returning Peter to his teenage roots not only makes him relevant to younger readers, but shows how Peter has to learn his lessons, albeit through the hardest of circumstances. Obviously the murder of Uncle Ben shapes Peter in the path of “with great power comes great responsibility”, but even as Spider-Man, he is still learning as later in this volume, he faces organized crime, but his decisions as a vigilante does make him a public menace, much to the delight of The Daily Bugle’s J. Jonah Jameson.
As someone who thinks Spidey has the best rogues gallery in the Marvel universe, I found some of Mark Bagley’s redesigns of these classic villains to be problematic, such as the Shocker. Although Norman Osborn is a more intimating presence as he manipulates those, including his own son, to achieve his goals, but when he goes full Goblin, he is an uninteresting Hulk-like monster, hence the constant jokes of the Hulk attacking Midtown High School. Wow, never thought I would miss Steve Ditko’s glider-riding Halloween-wearing Goblin. The only villain that came visually unscathed is the Kingpin, who functions the same as his 616 counterpart, but despite his menacing obese figure, the amount of fat jokes Spidey comes up with are just hilarious.
Concluding this first year of the book is #13, which brings out the best in the Bendis/Bagley collaboration. What is essentially a conversation in which Peter comes out to Mary Jane, Bendis is spot-on in writing this friendship that could possibly lead to something more, while Mark Bagley (who has been drawing Spider-Man since the early nineties) does a good job at drawing a comic that is very dialogue-heavy as he makes his characters lively and expressive.
Clearly influenced the cinematic incarnations, Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley is a terrific millennial revisit to the roots of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s most celebrated creation.
Ladybug swarm over California appears on weather radar
The San Diego office of the National Weather Service posted on its Twitter page on Wednesday radar footage showing a green mass, spanning from Barstow to Riverside, moving southward. In the post, the meteorologists referred to the mass as a "cloud" or "bloom" of ladybugs. The weather service's tweet has prompted several news reports about the swarm of ladybugs, but one Coachella Valley scientist is skeptical. James Cornett, senior scientist with James W. Cornett Ecological Consultants, said a swarm of that size and density would have darkened the skies over the region. More: 'Earthquake swarm': small temblors since late May.
Ladybugs are insects. They are part of a group of insects called beetles. Even though they are called ladybugs, not all of them are females! In order to make baby ladybugs, there has to be a female and a male ladybug. All insects, including ladybugs, have three main body parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. They have six legs, two antennae, and special compound eyes so they can see in many directions at once. Many insects have wings.