Peter Parker faces off against an classic foe, but with an Ultimate attitude update, in the latest Marvel Infinite digital comic Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite #1-6.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Eugene Son
Artist: Geoffo and Mast (Layouts) Luciano Vecchio (Art)
Price: £1.49/$2.49 from ComiXology
We’re off for a swing around the world of the Marvel animated series in Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite as Ol’ Webhead foils the exploits of Jack O’Lantern but in doing so his Spider Sense begins going into overdrive when he least expects it. He soon discovers this is because of an evil robot waiting to attack him at every turn, but when he snaps off an antenna and traces it to Smythe industries he encounters the slimy Sebastian Smythe, who denies involvement in creating the robots – but for anyone with a passing knowledge of classic Spidey will know he’s not telling the truth!
As more ‘spider slayers’ come after him, each one evolving to improve on the last one, we find out not only Smythe, but J. Jonah Jameson himself is involved in sending these robots after Spidey, as part of his crusade against the webbed menace. Inevitably our hero has to defeat the slayers and save the day using only his wit and ingenuity, but there are a few troublesome twists along the way to make sure it’s not as straight forward as he’d wish!
Although we’re in the world of the Marvel animated series for Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite, for older fans it might be rather familiar as it is based on the classic Spider Slayers tale from Amazing Spider-Man #25 – right down to the tentacle robot arms and JJJ’s face being beamed into the robot’s view screen. Because this is Ultimate Spidey though. there are a few modern updates, such as a damning critique of the slayers’ original tentacled design. There’s also a running dialogue with Agent Coulson about Spidey’s S.H.I.E.L.D. assessment, Jonah transmitting to the city via a 24-hour live vlog on the big screens of New York City and of course taser webs! Plus we also get to see the little mini Spideys from the cartoon series who are drawn like a Skottie Young cover and give the book a quirky dose of humour just when things start to get a bit serious (Spider Surfer anyone?!)
Writer Eugene Son perfectly captures the zany tone of the cartoon, but also makes it feel very much like the best of the classic comics. After some dark and rather convoluted tales in the Spidey canon of late, it’s really great to just read a good old fashioned fun Spider-Man tale, which doesn’t require tons of back story to follow and isn’t packed full of angst and woe. By working within it own continuity, the story can become as far-fetched and as ridiculous as it needs to be, and with it being in the cartoon universe where normal rules don’t always apply then Son and co. really go to town.
This gives Marvel Infinite layout experts Geoffo and Mast room to really go all out and they are clearly revelling in the high energy antics of the Ultimate Spidey world. They layer up the action brilliantly at key stages to give the story maximum impact, as well as greying out backgrounds to mask old panels and make the most of every screen. Long panning shots involving panoramas give the whole story a constant feel of motion while cutaways and asides may not quite break the fourth wall Deadpool style but do make the whole thing thoroughly entertaining and great fun!
Finishing artist Luciano Vecchio does a great job of keeping the energy of these pages and working to Geoffo and Mast’s layouts, although some of the finishing is a little bit rough around the edges, and so it doesn’t always have the total polish you might hope for from such a high profile book. But that is not to take away from what is still a really fun and enjoyable read.