Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Comics Review: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up by Brian Michael Bendis and various artists


I always a huge fan of Marvel Team-Up in the 70's and 80's (my formative Geek years, sort of like the Wonder Years except no cute girls in go-go boots kissing me).

For those of you who are NOT experienced, as Mr. Hindrix would say, Marvel Team-Up was a monthly, continuity free book where every month Spider Man had an adventure with a different guest star.

It's one of those books that geeks, especially hard core comics geeks love. Chris Claremont wrote for it and gave it up VERY reluctantly to focus on more X-books, and it was one of the first things Brian Michael Bendis wanted to revive, and doing it in the Ultimate universe as a "world tour" type concept seemed like a great way to try out a lot of different concepts.

It didn't last long, only 16 issues, but you'll see some great updates and reimaginings on a ton of classic heroes and the hardback collects all 16 issues in a gorgeous, durable, slick paper binding. It's just a book I had to have when I saw it at Barnes and Noble.

In these 16 issues Spider Man teams up with (see? see? get it? concept right there!) Blade, Elektra, Daredevil, Captain America, Human Torch, Fantastic Four, Shang Chi, Iron Man, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Punisher, Man Thing (!!), Lizard and more.

The list of artists is also a who's who of comics' hottest pencilers, including: Mike Allred, Alex Maleev, John Romita Sr., Al Milgrom, Mark Bagley and Bill Sienkiewicz.

This hardcover's real stars though are Brian Michael Bendis and his fantastic take on Ultimate Spider Man. And Spider Man as written by Bendis is just hilarious, like this exchange between Spider Man and Black Widow:
Spider Man "You're a little older and uh- uh-
Black Widow "A little more mature?"
Spider Man "I was thinking: slutty."

In short, if you'd like to see the most influential comic writer since Stan Lee and a host of great artists do some classic updates of a cross-section of Marvel's coolest heroes, pick this up.

Chuck

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