Serials for 11-30-11: Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man and The Flash

PhotobucketUltimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #4
by Brian Bendis, Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor

It took me only 3 minutes to read this issue, so I looked back and counted the number of story pages - 20! What is going on here? What happened to my 2 missing story pages? I don't care if there's a letters page. I don't care that there's a preview for Avengers X-Sanction. I want a story. Brian Bendis really needs to consider page economy when he's writing a comic book. He gets to see all his scripts altogether, but the reader only gets to see one issue every four weeks. I know he knows better; stories like Ultimate Clone Saga are proof.

So it's been about 12 weeks since the first ish, and what's going on? In issue 4 Peter Parker dies and Miles Morales puts on a Spider-Man retail costume. It's frustrating to read about the death of Peter Parker 12 weeks after the death of Peter Parker. There is no new information here and no plot moves along. I don't want to be one of those fans who keeps picking up a disappointing title in the hopes that it'll be better, but, my goodness, I am. For Spider-Man I am. I want to enjoy this title and I'm gonna keep reading it until I do.
Maybe he's trying to write it like a "slice of life" story for Miles Morales. There are these quiet panels that emphasize Miles' emotions at the moment. It doesn't work and it shouldn't work without a plot. Not for an opening storyarc. What made Ultimate Peter Parker's story so great was that he grew up. He became a man in the issues, and he moved forward. He struggled. So far, Miles is not moving forward -- he seems to be regressing and picking up the pieces of Peter Parker's life. Fix it Bendis. Give Miles his own story.

PhotobucketThe Flash #3
by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

The writing team here has got a great rhythm for the page economy. The issue starts on a high, with the Flash making a great feat with his powers -- he grabs a plummeting plane and vibrates it through the Central City bridge to land safely in the water. It's breathtaking. You can, no, you have to check out the entire sequence on Newsarama. After that high the issue coasts and escalates for an impossible cliffhanger.
Barry's cognitive foresight seems to cripple him. When a rifle's staring him in the eye, he's thinking so quickly that, to him, he's already defeated the mob. But he's shot instead. The bullet seemed to hit Barry in the eye. Will he return as eyepatch Barry? Barry Allen the one-eyed scourge of Central City? The pirate-Flash? The serial experience has never been more rewarding than with this title. Every issue takes you for a ride. Not only are they pushing Barry's limits as the Flash, they're pushing the limits of the medium itself. Newsarama landed an interview with the two creators about how you have to read the art as well as the words in a comic book, in order to make sense of the ish. It's a goodie.

That's all I have for you today. Tune in on Friday as I wrap up the month of November with an assortment of panels. After that we will be on hiatus a bit as I have final exams and final papers for this school quarter.

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