Waiting For The Trade – Ultimate Spider-Man: Chameleons

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Takeshi Miyazawa & David Lafuente
Colourist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit

Collects: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #7-14

I doff my cap to Brian Michael Bendis and David Lafuente if only for one thing they do in this trade. When Marvel relaunched Ult. Spider-Man, Lafuente chose a very particular look for Spider-Man…I like to think of it as “Beachball Head Spidey”. I’m not the only one who found this to be a big barrier in enjoying the series and it got a sizeable mention in my review of the first volume of these Panini trades. But, to the matter at hand. Bendis finds a way to actually address this stylistic choice (and by extension fan reaction to it) directly in the story as a plot point and Lafuente has the balls to follow it through and have a bit of fun at his own artistic expense. I thought this was brilliant and showed great character on both their parts. Not only that but the slight modification to Lafuente’s design works a treat and I found myself getting into the story a lot more.

I can’t help but view this relaunched series as a separate continuity from the original run of USM…it just has a different feel to it, almost as if the clock has been rewound a couple of years. This arc is a little bogged down in Ultimate continuity but I think you could enjoy it without the preceding 20+ trades of material. The main characters are all pretty much household names and whilst some of the plot elements (especially around a certain smooching session a character has) won’t make sense I think the overall story will carry you through.

The story has a little bit of a twisted tone to it but retains its lightness as well, there’s a distinct absence of “woe is me!” and artistically the two issues by Miyazawa are solid, his characters seem a little short and stocky but this is probably just his style. Oh, and his Aunt May is more to my liking than Lafuente, who seems to have aged her 20 yrs since the Bagley work. A particular plot-point is left dangling at the end of the trade and I’m really interested to see how this pans out.

Much improved.

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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