Mark Bagley

Ultimate Spider-Man 100 (November 2006)

Skitched 20130714 064724Eh.

So Gwen Stacy is Carnage. Yippee.

And Aunt May is pretty nasty. Bendis doesn’t redeem her much, even if she has been through a lot apparently. She hasn’t been lying to Peter his whole life, just the last few years.

It’s an interesting thing, making Aunt May unlikable. Has anyone else tried that gimmick before? Bendis gives her a heart attack at the end though, so she’ll eventually be forgiven.

And Peter Parker’s dad is an awful character. Not a bad guy, but a simpleton. Not at all believable as a genius. Bendis tries to insert this genetic engineering cold war between the CIA and SHIELD into the series and it’s just silly.

The art is so haphazard I thought they were using different pencillers. Dell goes overboard on Bagley, Drew Hennessy goes under. The result’s incredibly disjointed

Poor Spider-Man doesn’t even appear in his hundredth issue.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 99 (October 2006)

282745I’m not sure Bendis actually does good writing this issue but he sure does go out on a high point. He establishes Aunt May as a super villain. She’s been lying to Peter his whole life. She’s a bad guy.

Wow.

Bendis will never stick with it. It’s too much.

There’s some good stuff with Peter and the Gwen clone. The stuff with Aunt May kind of ruins it, since Bendis has this big confession scene from Peter and there’s absolutely no payoff for it.

It’s sort of a catch–22. If he backs out of these revelations, he’s being cheap. If he doesn’t stick with them, he’s being cheap. Bendis has become so disingenuous with the series, it’s hard to “trust” him not to be as sensational as possible.

The Gwen stuff almost makes up for it. There’s decent “move the story along” scenes with the Fantastic Four too.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 98 (October 2006)

282744Bendis should have done more with the Fantastic Four this issue. They’re really funny. The stuff with Peter calling himself “baby” in his internal monologue? Makes me hope he’s a clone not the regular character but I think it’s more just Bendis laziness.

There’s another big fight scene this issue; Peter fights some black costumed redhead with spider powers who doesn’t identify herself. It’s a bad fight scene. Then Gwen comes back and she’s confused. Then there’s another Peter clone, apparently.

Maybe it’s Eddie Brock. Not sure how much I care, as it’s clear Bendis doesn’t care.

I’m trying to think of what else goes on this issue. A great cameo from Nick Fury? A strange scene between Peter and Mary Jane’ mom; I don’t think she’s shown up before this arc. At least not enough for her to be memorable.

Bendis has lost his focus on Peter in Ultimate.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 97 (September 2006)

281626Okay, great, John Dell has help from John Sibal and together they don’t ink Bagley well. I couldn’t even tell the guy in the Scorpion outfit was a Peter Parker clone. He just looked way too bland.

Otherwise, the issue’s okay. Bendis is doing his rushing thing to get rid of Kitty Pryde, just like he rushed breaking up Mary Jane and Peter. Contriving stuff for the villains is fine, but now he’s contriving the regular cast’s arcs and it’s getting painful at times.

For instance, why is Mary Jane so buddy buddy with Peter all of a sudden. Bendis even accelerates it more this issue.

And Peter’s callousness when it comes to Kitty is a surprise. He never acted callous before with Mary Jane, so what’s the point of this new romance? Sales bump from crossovers?

Oddly, the lengthy, meticulous action sequence is the best thing in the comic.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and John Sibal; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 96 (August 2006)

281625First off my apologizes to Jimmy Palmiotti… his inks weren’t screwing up Bagley’s pencils last issue. This issue makes it clear John Dell–who is solo, so no confusion–really shouldn’t be inking Bagley or Ultimate Spider-Man. He ruins the tone at times.

The issue concludes the Morbius adventure, but it’s pretty slight. Ben Urich is in danger of becoming a vampire, Peter tries to save him, running into good guy vampire Morbius. Lots of fight scenes, lots of vampire nonsense.

Bendis can’t sell the vampire nonsense and he tries really hard. It becomes desperate at some point. And Bagley–regardless of an inker–does a terrible job on Morbius. One shouldn’t want to snicker whenever a guest star appears on page.

The incident gives Bendis an opportunity to develop Peter and Mary Jane’s new relationship, which is a good thing… though he skips explaining her change of heart.

CREDITS

Morbius, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 95 (July 2006)

281624I’m sure Bendis and Jimmy Palmiotti are buddies but come on… no one could think Palmiotti is a good inker for Bagley. I thought Dell was weak, but Palmiotti is something else. You have these pleasant Bagley high school panels and Palmiotti makes them dreary. And the hands… don’t get me started on the hands.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty darn good issue. Peter has a friend fight with Mary Jane, he talks to Kitty on the phone (with Storm offering hilarious audio commentary) and works at the Bugle. Bendis writes the Bugle stuff rather well, it’s too bad he doesn’t use it more.

But this arc is the Morbius one and dang if he doesn’t go for disturbing. The vampires aren’t cute, they’re evil and scary. For the first time–maybe ever–I was worried about Peter’s safety. It’s bad stuff going on.

Maybe I wrote off Bendis’s ambitions early.

CREDITS

Morbius, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 94 (July 2006)

281623So the whole story with the island and the X-Men and Ultimate Deadpool is just to set up a payoff of Aunt May having a boyfriend and spending the night with him?

This issue’s got some good moments. Bendis doesn’t use the TV narrative device too much (of course, when he does, it’s awful). He even writes a really good action sequence for Kitty when she needs to kick some butt.

But, who cares? Four issues and two things get established. Peter and Kitty aren’t breaking up, which she worried about in the first issue, and Aunt May has a gentleman friend. Seems like the perfect kind of thing Bendis could have juxtaposed in a single issue or maybe a good two parter.

Instead, Bendis went for sensationalism, aiming about as high as an episode of “Knight Rider”. I said before he’s running on empty; this issue confirms it.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Mark Morales; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 93 (June 2006)

281622You know what isn’t a television show–specifically a reality television show? A comic book. Someone should have told Bendis because then I would have been saved this useless comic.

Deadpool and some bad guys are hunting the X-Men (and Peter) on this island and it’s all for TV. So Bendis is cutting between the host, the bad guys, the hidden cameras, with Bagley doing all double page layouts with little TV-sized boxes.

It’s probably the most writing, in terms of dialogue, Bendis has done in years on this comic. But it’s mostly crappy, because his approach is crappy. He can’t emulate the pacing and he has trouble getting in for character scenes; even his sincere stuff comes off plastic.

Oddly, not even the X-Men are the leads this issue–they’re barely in it. The TV host gets the spotlight.

It’s a complete misfire of a comic.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Danny Miki; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 92 (May 2006)

270272Did Ditko start the thing where Spidey squints and his eyes change size? They overdo it today (and have since the late eighties) but there’s a little of it here and it works. He works rather well as a guest star. Bendis has a lot of fun writing Peter play off other superheroes.

And by guest star, I mean Bendis has basically given this issue to the Ultimate X-Men and allowed Spidey to guest. I suppose there are a couple things making it more his issue, but no… he’s guesting in his own comic.

It’s a mildly entertaining comic too. He’s on this island, fighting bad cyborg guys, running into X-Men. So for every new bad guy, there are more good guys to fight them. Dumb fun.

It’s like a video game, actually. Maybe Bendis originally wrote it for one.

Bendis’s ambition for the series, however, is kaput.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Mark McKenna; colorists, Laura Martin and Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 91 (May 2006)

270271Bendis writes first person exposition rounded rectangles–there’s just no good description for them like word balloons–for Kitty Pryde. She’s Peter’s girlfriend, after all, and she guest stars in about half the issue. Probably more.

Oh, wait, Bendis never wrote those rectangles for Mary Jane. It’s a good issue and all, though the front is a lot better than the back, which has nothing of interest except maybe May going on a date, but it reveals something about Bendis as a writer.

He was always using Mary Jane as an unknowable side character, ever ready to use her for plot twists. Kitty, on the other hand, is an honest to goodness knowable side character. It makes her immediately more likable. I had to force myself to remember Mary Jane is part of the book.

And Peter having a superhero team-up? Awesome.

I didn’t even mind Dell’s inks here.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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