Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol 4: Legacy

Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol 4: Legacy

By Brian M. Bendis, Mark Bagley & Art Thibert (Marvel)
ISBN: 0-7851-0968-4

After Marvel’s problems of the mid 1990s, the company came back swinging, and one new concept was the remodelling and modernising of their core characters for the new youth culture. The ‘Ultimate’ imprint abandoned the monumental continuity that had been Marvel’s greatest asset and the company’s major characters were given a separate universe to play in and makeovers to appeal to a contemporary, 21st century audience.

As the Ultimate wall crawler ended his second year the characters had stabilised, the relationships had crystallised and everybody concerned accepted that the series was here for the long haul. Bendis, Bagley and Thibert were beyond the experimental stage and were crafting stories in their teen-friendly soap-opera that could aspire to something other than novelty value.

This sequence (originally printed as issues #22-27 of the monthly comic) features the return of Norman Osborn, the insane millionaire industrialist whose experiments led to the creation of Spider-Man. Believed killed as the mutated Green Goblin, he is back, and knows Peter Parker’s secrets. He also intends to make Peter his accomplice, if not slave, and threatens Parker’s nearest and dearest to get his way.

Luckily Nick Fury steps into the picture. Running covert agency S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury is responsible for handling superhuman affairs for the government. Unable to tackle Osborn himself, Fury will safeguard the innocents and give Spider-Man free rein to deal with the deranged and vengeance-crazed Goblin. All Peter needs to do is beat the most dangerous super-maniac in the world….

And even if he wins, he’s only got until he turns eighteen before he’s legally an adult and Fury can legally draft him. How different is it to be owned by a millionaire madman or an elected one?

Frenetic and compelling, the charisma of the misunderstood outsider fuels this readable pot-boiler of teen-angst and school-daze. Light but addictive, and stuffed with hot chicks, this glossy super-soap brings good comics to the post-literate generation.

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