Well, I suppose no one wants to talk about UMTU ...
Ultimate Spider-man: Learning Curve (#8-13)
Let's see if I can keep this one a bit shorter than the first Spider-man review; shouldn't be too hard.
Once again, this book is just pure awesome. As far as character development goes, this is probably one of the best arcs I've ever read. Almost the whole arc is devoted to developing Peter as a person, and even more so Spider-man. It's not just Peter, though, almost the whole supporting cast gets at least a little bit of development.
At the opening of this arc, Peter is so amped on his new powers that he acts as though he's the new Captain America. But soon, he realizes that there are limits - Spider-man is not unbeatable. The Kingpin is a BIG wake up call for him, and I love watching Peter learn how Spider-man needs to function. There's also the first instance of Peter blowing off MJ to be Spidey, a balance that he's still figuring out.
Back at the home front, I love what Bendis is doing with the emotional aspect of the book. May's "Do you like me?" speech was heartbreaking. On the lighter side, it's great to watch the beginnings of the Peter/MJ relationship - and we get the expected "Face it tiger" line from MJ (though, it felt a little forced to me). Other great developments are Kong's continuing obsession with Spider-man, Peter's relation to everyone at the Bugle, and Liz Allen's distrust of mutants and heros.
Speaking of mutants, I like how Bendis is clearly setting up for Ultimate X-Men to begin, with everyone talking about mutants. Public trust for mutants is already low, and now Peter is having to deal with Spider-man receiving some of that hate. Also, a nice reference to Daredevi.
One of my favorite things about Ultimate Spider-man is how much more realistic Peter's ability to keep his secret identity is. We're two arcs in, and already a dozen people have seen his face. And to top it off, Peter already decides to trust MJ with the secret; and her reaction is priceless! I love the way she acts just like Peter did when he committed his first heroic deeds.
In scenes like the reveal to MJ, Bendis keeps the humor coming. The scene with Aunt May walking in and subsequently talking to Peter about sex was hilarious. Bendis is incredible with these characters, keeping them realistic from the extremely funny to deeply emotional.
The only negative thing I have to say is that the art still isn't killing it for me like it seems to do for so many others. Bagley is definitely growing on me, and there are times where I absolutely love it. But he's inconsistent, and there's some panels that are just off. It's still good art though, and I like it better than some of the art in books I'm currently reading. Also, the coloring doesn't help - why is the web fluid green?! The other downside is the covers. Other than #12 and #13 (though, the eyes shouldn't be rippled, right?), they were almost all bad. I guess it's just a sign of the times, but I really didn't like any of them.
Finally, we get some nice new ultimizations here. Wilson Fisk is very well done - even though he's very similar - and the same goes for Electro (nice tease with Kingpin calling for "Elektra") and the Enforcers. But the best ultimization of this arc goes to one of my favorite Ultimate Spider-man characters - the Shocker! We get his first appearance here, and it's always great to see him.
Overall a great arc that ended on a fantastic issue. Issue #13 is probably my favorite issue so far, because it's the kind that Bendis does so well. It all takes place in one scene and is very dialogue heavy. Some great character moments through the whole thing, and a ton of humor.
Next time: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #4-8 (Iron Man; Punisher, Daredevil)