Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #'s 2 & 3 (Sep. & Oct. 2011)
by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor
Counting the first issue, I've put $12 in for this title. For that money I could've went to the movies to see Real Steel. Or that The Thing movie. And I'd have enough left for one of those movie theatre hot dogs. So: three issues of a comic book are equal to one movie and a nasty hot dog.
EXCEPT IT ISN'T! We have yet to have a story in these three issues! Miles finds out he has powers! Miles has a talk with his dad! Miles shows his powers to his best friend! Miles saves people from a burning building! Miles moves into school! It is all a series of episodes that do not adhere. I know you can do better than this, Bendis, but, for the sake of review, I'll highlight some of the best episodes.
There's this great splash page in issue 2, of Miles sitting down with his dad in Central Park. It's half dialogue bubbles, but it's about his dad telling Miles things about his life that, now that he's older, he's ready to hear. It's heartwarming to see that Miles has such a caring dad. Sara Pichelli is really the redeeming factor for the title's shortcomings. Flip to any page and you'll see a real, human expression on Miles' face, whether it's the satisfaction of saving a kid or the horror that he might be persecuted for having super-powers.
Right now I can't recommend this title, for the sole reason that there's a lot better, cheaper and more social ways to be entertained than this comic book. You have to really like comic books and you have to really like Spider-Man to read this stuff.
Swamp Thing #1 (Sep. 2011)
By Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
The comic book is a tricky thing. Any one title is released every 4 weeks, and in the time between you can get hooked on a new TV show or find a new blog. Comic books have to find a way to keep you coming back after 4 weeks, but they also have to have enough story to justify that first issue. Swamp Thing #1 succeeds at the former but fails at the latter.
The script is incredibly heavy, which was actually very enjoyable. It gets you into the head of Alec Holland (he used to be the Swamp Thing) and his familiarity with plants and nature. It makes him a person, but characterization doesn't hold 22 pages. I need more. So you've introduced some kind of neck-snapping zombie dude. Do something with them this issue. I need an actual story with things happening, not a cliffhanger that things will happen. Give me a story here. Introduce a conflict, it's okay if it's small, and resolve it in 22 pages. Please.
I want to like this comic book. I really do. But what's the point if there's no story in one issue? I might as well wait for the trade.