So I’m reading Brian Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 19: Death of a Goblin , and I realize that I really haven’t been giving Bendis enough credit for this title. The thing is, the guy is just so prolific that he inevitably writes some mediocre (or even just plain awful) stuff, and it’s tempting to dismiss him as a hack. But he’s really not. At his best — which he has been consistently through the 117 issues of this series so far — he’s one of the best superhero writers ever.

And in fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that if you evaluate a series by average issue quality over its run, Ultimate Spider-Man may actually be the best superhero title of all time, and that’s nearly certain if you restrict it to titles with more than 100 issues. Everything that comics do wrong, Bendis neatly avoids; everything they do right, he amplifies and expands on to make it even better.

So hats off to Bendis for a remarkable sustained accomplishment. (And oh yeah, there’s also a different artist in this volume, only the second artist of the series’ entire run. He’s fine.)


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