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I certainly missed Mark Bagley in this book as vol. 9 was his last, but Imonen does a good job filling in. The events of Ultimatum, where so many characters died seems to have overshadowed the weight of the Death of a Goblin storyline, but it was a very well-written end of a tragic villain who, at the end, shows some humanity at least insofar as he shows remorse.
The Kitty Pride/Mary Jane scenarios are also very well written and enjoyable as high school teen angst meets well-written storylines to possibly create friends and certainly jumpstart the more high school-centered events of Ultimate Comics.
I honestly was not too thrilled with the Amazing Friends storyline and the odd characterization of Magneto who shows up as an errand boy for the Blob, but otherwise it was solid as well and the Shocker storyline was phenomenal. A nobody villain with no prospects gets his 2 minutes of fame and I still feel just a little sorry for the tragic inventor who felt forced to turn villain.
Looking forward to re-reading Vol. 11 when I get around to it.
Bendis continues to deliver the goods. His remains the most consistently entertaining and true-to-character Spider-Man. This collection is a little lighter, and a little more fun, than the dramatic stories that bookend it (War of the Symbiotes and the Clone Saga).
This is SO good! If you had dropped off this series due to the unimaginative hack-work of Mark Bagely, you may want to read this. It is revelatory what a great artist can bring to a book. A side-by-side comparison with Volume 9 shows just how little effort Bagely was putting out. In an interview printed at the back of that volume, he basically admits to churning out pages without much thought, and with as little effort as possible in order to meet his monthly quotas. He even admits to feeling insecure vs. other, better pencillers.
Thanks to the inspired art of Stuart Immonen, I reengaged with this title, which is truly the place to be for Spider-Man fans. He takes time to really compose each frame, capturing the drama of fight scenes and the more personal moments. There's an incredible full-page scene of the Green Goblin and Spider-Man falling out of a high-rise that has to be one of the best moments in Spider-Man history--my jaw dropped.
As for the writing of Mr. Bendis, the last few volumes had seemed interminable. I now realize that was partially because of the lackluster artwork. I'm now able to enjoy his witty and nuanced scripts--I don't even mind reading pages and pages of Peter and Aunt May whining.
In terms of story, if you've skipped the last 50 issues or so, no worries, you'll pick right up here and enjoy the first few chapters of fast-paced action with the Green Goblin and Kitty Pride, who is, at least in these stories, an excellent complement to the cast (again, Bagely was doing nothing with her...in Immonen's hands, she shines).