Ultimate Waste of Dead Trees

As I've written previously, I dumped Ultimate Spider-Man from my reading list well over a year ago. I had enough of the all style, no substance, hyper-extended storylines. A typical USM issue contained:
  • 40% Peter and Mary Jane making silent goo-goo eyes at each other
  • 20% Peter and Mary Jane engaged in "clumsy" romantic dialog that never goes anywhere
  • 20% Needless establishing shots of neighborhoods and skylines
  • 10% Aunt May worrying about Peter
  • 10% Actual action or dialog that moves the plot forward

By trade I have been a professional copywriter, and I have written a number of motion picture scripts on spec. In all honesty, I think I could write a typical USM script on my lunch hour. No kidding, the dialog and narrative are THAT thin.

By my estimation, a typical 4 issue USM "story arc" could be easily captured -- with all the relevant story elements -- in ONE issue by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, etc.

Now, I am considering dumping Ultimate FF, which really bothers me because I am such a devoted FF fan. The latest N Zone storyline by alleged wunderkind Warren Ellis almost pushed me over the brink.

I read Ultimate FF 18 in less than 3 minutes. There was a FOUR page sequence showing a space shuttle crash landing on the Las Vegas strip. Are we as readers supposed to be enthralled with the visuals of a shuttle landing on the strip FOR FOUR PAGES?!? To add insult to injury, there was not one word of dialog or narrative in this sequence.

Some of these writers are very talented guys, too bad however that they are not using their skills on these books.

The irony is that guys like Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman and their contemporaries carefully crafted thoughtful stories with a beginning, middle and an end month after month for pennies relatively speaking.

Today's hotshot writers are "mailing it in" for big bucks, and the Ultimate lines are the most egregious example of this unwelcome trend.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog entry contains more text than the next issue of USM.)