Despite the Ultimatum banner, there’s no Ultimatum story here (sorta)
If readers were wondering how Ultimate Spider-Man would make the transition from the Return of Gwen Stacy story last issue, into the Ultimatum story line this issue, fear not, as nothing that takes place in Ultimatum appears in this issue.Â Instead, this issue serves as a lead up to the crossover series, even though the crossover series has already begun.Â Ah mega-events!Â You gotta love â€˜em!
Whatâ€™s the weirdest part of coming back from the dead?Â For high schooler Gwen Stacy, itâ€™s got to be going back to your old haunts and acting like you were never dead.Â For Aunt May, the most difficult part is trying to get her young ward back into school.Â May discovers that the school is more than likely going to get shut down because of all the mutants, attacks, and of course Spider-Man flying around the school grounds willy-nilly, and the vice-principal thinks readmitting back from the dead Stacy will only solidify the boards decision.
Iâ€™ve written before about how much I like Brian Michael Bendis changing his writing styleÂ away from the excruciatingly drawn out story decompression heâ€™s been known for, to something that moves along at a quick pace.Â I donâ€™t know if it is intentional, or a mandate from above to get plot lines resolved before the Ultimatum story starts, but in this new Bendis, readers discover his fast pace also leads to fast and furious dialogue.
There are two great examples of this.Â The first is during the above scene, where May has brought signed letters from both SHIELD and Tony Stark stating that Gwen was never dead, ad she is now under the care of Aunt May.Â The shock and disbelief on the vice-principalâ€™s face as the two quip back and forth the classic â€œreally?â€ â€œyes, reallyâ€ type lines makes for light-hearted moments before the doo-doo hits the fan.Â With all the chaos surrounding the school, the vice-principal is able to put two and two together and figures out Aunt May must have some connection to Spider-Man.
With every revelation that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Bendis doesnâ€™t approach the subject with the traditional, we-need-to-talk-Iâ€™m-really-Spider-Man reveal, but instead, gives each character (even the minor ones) a brain and deductive reasoning to reach the conclusion themselves.Â For May, the vice-principalâ€™s conclusion leads to May getting picked up by police for questioning about her relationship with Spider-Man.
The other really great dialogue exchange in this issue occurs when Johnny Storm calls Peter trying to get out of a date.Â Unfortunately, Johnny calls right in the middle of a make out session between Parker and Mary Jane, and the snappy chit-chat between the loving duo and the hot headed hero is right out of the screwball comedies of the 1930â€™s.Â You can almost envision really young versions of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn delivering these lines.
The final moment that really makes the issue great, and begins to reveal how large the Ultimate Spider-Man Universe has grown to, occurs when Johnny is flying to Parkerâ€™s house to hang out, and stumbles upon a robbery attempt by the Vulture.Â That in and of itself is not that great, but when heâ€™s given an assist by Spider-Woman (the female clone of Peter Parker), things go from heroic to strange, as Spider-Woman recognizes Johnny, but he doesnâ€™t recognize her.Â The humor comes from the fact that Spider-Woman has all of Peterâ€™s memories, but really canâ€™t reveal how she knows Johnny without everything getting weird.
But it does get weird as The Human Torch suddenly realizes he has the hots for the female wall-crawler.Â Depending on how things work out in Ultimatum, I would be interested to see what happens if the two actually did hook up just to see Johnnyâ€™s reaction when the mask comes off and heâ€™s looking at the female version of his friend Peter.
The issue ends with Peter, Kong, Mary Jane, Gwen, and Kitty Pryde heading off to the city to partake in some teenage activities.Â This of course leads readers to the moment in the first issue of Ultimatum when they get stuck on the subway when the tidal wave hits.Â Man, that Magneto really knows how to ruin a perfect date!
I am continually mesmerized by the art work by Stuart Immonen.Â Every time I open an Ultimate Spider-Man issue, I keep flipping back to the front to see who is doing the art.Â Itâ€™s not that his style is that drastic from issue to issue, rather his style just keeps getting better and better.Â I hope heâ€™s able to make a 100 issue run in this series.
Every major story arc needs a moment where the characters can catch their breath before dealing with the next big challenge.Â This issue is just that, and allows readers to see the characters just being normal.Â Iâ€™d rather this issue be way out of sync with Ultimatum if it means seeing really good character moments than doing an abrupt change just to sell more issue.Â Ultimately Ultimate Spider-Man #129 is so well put together, it earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.