Comic Review – “Ultimate Spider-Man: Hollywood”

Bendis writes a story arc that seems to be inspired
by and timed to coincide with this summer’s sequel.

General Information

Title: Ultimate Spider-Man: Hollywood (issues
54-59)

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Mark Bagley and Matt Thibert

Original Publication Date: This story arc was
published over the past
few months, and will be released in trade paperback
soon. (Amazon.com
says July, but I don’t see it in the solicitations,
although I might
have missed it.)

ISBN: 0-7851-1402-5

Cover Price: $12.99 US

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

Spider-Man is being made into a movie, directed by
Sam Raimi and
starring Tobey Maguire. Dr. Octopus isn’t happy with
his ex-wife
selling the rights to his life story, so he decides
to break out of
jail and intervene.

High Point

The second half of the last issue in the arc. Not
only do we get some
great character interaction in Peter’s bedroom with
Peter, MJ, and
Gwen (get your minds out of the gutters, boys; it’s
not that kind of
interaction), but we get to see a very wise decision
from a character
who spends most of his time in another title.

Low Point

The premise seems very forced, as if some studio head
was trying to
cash in on some other event in the entertainment
industry. (Gee, I
wonder what that could be?)

The Scores

This felt surprisingly original considering
the story’s
likely origin. We got some good banter, and the
fight wasn’t much
different from the fights we’ve seen before, but
there was enough
going on in Peter’s personal life that it felt like
everything was
moving along. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is, well, the artwork we’ve seen
in the first 53
issues. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well assembled. I’d love to
know what Otto’s
full plans were, and why the plane was headed where
it was headed.
(This may have something to do with Otto’s use of the
phrase “my first
wife” in Ultimate Six.) I think we’re going
to see something
very interesting come out of this in the future.
Those who have read
it know about the excellent work done with Gwen’s
character, too.
Kong’s scenes were fun, bringing us back to school
with Peter for the
first time in a while. I give it 5 out of 6.



The characterization is strong, as Bendis
usually writes it.
Gwen and Mary Jane shine in particular. I give it 6
out of 6.

The emotional response was excellent. This
is a very
entertaining story, and a good place to pick back up
if you’re one of
the people who left the title during the lackluster
“Cats and Kings”
story arc. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow was excellent, keeping up an
excellent pace, with
cliffhangers at the end of the issues that feel
natural in placement
when it’s read as a story. This is a tricky piece of
writing, and
it’s done well. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a return to greatness
following “Cats and
Kings” and “Ultimate Six.” It gives me hope for the
“Carnage” arc
that launches this week. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Ultimate Spider-Man: Hollywood
receives 36 out of 42.

4 replies on “Comic Review – “Ultimate Spider-Man: Hollywood””

  1. Babbster says:

    Enjoyable
    I quite enjoyed the arc. I’ll admit, though, that I am very non-critical of obvious product/movie/etc. tie-ins as long as they don’t interrupt the flow. Since this arc didn’t seem like it interrupted the natural flow (and, in fact, was the perfect way to get Pete away long enough for Gwen to make her discovery), I had a good time.

    One thing about the review: It gives me hope for the “Carnage” arc that launches this week.

    I fear this storyline greatly. The first Carnage story back in the day was one of a number of things that drove me away from comic books for a long time. It was so blatantly a way to recreate [an even darker] Venom after Eddie had been mostly neutered (turned into Punisher with super powers) that I just couldn’t stand it, not to mention the fact that it coincided with the advent of biweekly issues which gave half the value for the comic dollar instead of double the fun per month.

    I have little reason to doubt that Bendis will do a good job since I’ve enjoyed the entire USM run so far, but the word “Carnage” strikes fear into my heart – and not the good kind, either.

  2. Lurch_Kimded says:

    Mixed Feelings and ph34r!!!
    I agree this plotline smacked too much of a commercial for Spider-Man 2 (which I was already dying to see). The back plot of Gwen Stacy was excellent and superior to the Doc Oc one, although there were sections of the Doc Oc plot which were extremly intesring especially the last scenes with Fury.

    Overall this thread was quite good, I guess the premise at the start just put it in a bad light at the beginning. But I too must express my fear at the idea of an Ultimate Carnage… I’m a big fan of Venom and Carnage (although a possibly interesting idea) has never been done well. The idea of Carnage (and Venom) I think would much suite a Marvel Knights (or preferably a Vertigo series as they are even darker – but thats DC). Yet there is hope as Bendis has done a good job before in the rest of this series… I guess we shall see.

  3. bombadil says:

    Confused..
    I stopped reading Spiderman, most comics actually, several years ago because after a couple of gaps I felt hopelessly lost by the continued rewriting of history. Isn’t Gwen dead? Didn’t she die in the early years of Spiderman’s original run? Why do current X-Men comics refer to different original members than the REAL original X-Men comics I read in the 70s? It seems that I can pick up a random set of comics and they each will have contradictory backstories…

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Confused..

      I stopped reading Spiderman, most comics actually, several
      years ago because after a couple of gaps I felt hopelessly
      lost by the continued rewriting of history. Isn’t Gwen
      dead? Didn’t she die in the early years of Spiderman’s
      original run? Why do current X-Men comics refer to
      different original members than the REAL original X-Men
      comics I read in the 70s? It seems that I can pick up a
      random set of comics and they each will have contradictory
      backstories…

      Anything with “Ultimate” in the title is in a different
      continuity, restarting everything from scratch. Ultimate
      Gwen Stacy is alive, Ultimate Beast is dead, and so on.
      Some things are very different, others, not so much. All
      Ultimate titles are in a shared universe, and have been
      reviewed on this very site. Check out the “past reviews”
      link above for a complete listing of what’s been published
      and/or reviewed so far. (The most recent issues of
      Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men won’t be listed
      yet, as those reviews aren’t done yet. Give me the rest
      of the week, and I’ll be much more caught up.)

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