Shiny Shelf

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

By Eddie Robson on 08 February 2003

Whilst this title started promisingly, one can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by Team-Up. Initially it worked well as Peter Parker’s tour around the retooled Ultimate universe, but it doesn’t feel like it has really gone anywhere and accordingly it feels a bit shallow.

There have been some real treats in the choice of artists: the ever-wonderful Mike Allred’s Iron Man has been a particular highlight, and Chynna Clugston-Major’s X-Men issue makes you long for her to work on a regular X-book. However, Brian Michael Bendis’ scripting sometimes seems lacklustre, as the book settles for being an esoteric component of the Ultimate universe.

The X-Men issue is a case in point. It looks great, especially the (irrelevant) cover with Chynna’s interpretation of Marvel Girl, but as a story it goes nowhere, as Peter and his friends talk to the X-Men about what it’s like to be a mutant. The cover suggests that it’s going to be a romance story: that would have been better, frankly.

The most interesting issue was #9, which saw Jim Mahfood tackle the Fantastic Four. In this, Bendis deliberately oversteps the boundaries that mainstream comic books keep to, drawing attention to plot contrivances and having the characters act as if they know that they exist in a comic book. This could represent a big step forward for the mainstream, and it is very funny, but it still comes across as a bit dumb in its self-awareness.

Team-Up is to cease after a couple more issues, either because of sales, quality concerns or to free up Bendis to work on the Spider-Man CGI cartoon (coming to MTV this October in the US). It’s been fun, but I shan’t miss it too much.

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By Eddie Robson

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