Or – This Just In…Ultimate Spider-Man is Dead?

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For 133 issue, Brian Michael Bendis has consistently cranked out Spider-Man stories that allowed many non-Marvel readers to get into one of the biggest and most recognized heroes in the world. Sadly, we’ve reached the end of the Ultimate Spider-Man series – at least in this incarnation, and it doesn’t look good for the wall crawler.

ULTSM133_cov_col.jpgThis issue features the fallout resulting from the Hulk smashing Dr. Strange’s Orb of Acmantata.  It’s an odd issue that has Jessica Drew trying to outrun the Hulk and saving lives with Kitty Pryde, all while trying to find out what happened to her cloned brother.  I’ve enjoyed Bendis’ writing, as he’s always been able to write witty dialogue even during the most rough situation, or express a major revelation during those silent quiet moments.  What makes this issue so odd is Bendis tells this story with no dialogue what-so-ever.  There aren’t even any sound effects as the Hulk pummels Jessica, or smashes rescue helicopters into buildings.

The lack of words does make the reader focus more on the images to convey the story, but the issue simply feels incomplete without words being exchanged.  Stuart Immonen is essentially forced to tell the story in pantomime when Kitty Pryde and Jessica meet, and it comes off as wasted space.  I could understand no words being used in the closing pages of the issue, and that would have more impact, but when the Hulk’s rage is damped by no words, in my opinion, it hurts the overall story.

There are essentially three tales being told in this issue; the Hulk/Jessica fight, the Pryde/Drew rescuing of more survivors, and the ultimate finale, where Kitty Pryde arrives at the door of May Parker and hands over the tattered and torn mask of Spider-Man.  The implication is that Peter Parker may have died in the explosion, and that idea may be supported by a panel that features a dead hand lying near the mask.  Those who are all torn up over this reveal need to keep in mind that this is a comic book, and even in the Ultimate universe, heroes probably won’t stay down.

Immonen once again delivers stunning images to go along with the story, but if I had only one complaint it is we don’t see enough dead bodies lying around.  A city the size of New York, that has suffered a huge catastrophe should have many more bodies littering the streets.  This issue takes place only a few hours after Magneto unleashed his fury on the world, so evacuation and recovery efforts are still underway, And I doubt the flood would have wiped away everyone.  Immonen attempts to show the fallout in a few panels, but the carnage may have been toned down to make the empty mask panel reveal more leading.

I had a chance to look back over some of the early USM issues, and was startled by how much different Bagley’s art was compared to Immonen.  When Immonen took over, i didn’t think I’d like his styling, but over the last two years or so, I’ve grown to really like his work.  It’s a shame Marvel couldn’t keep him on in the new series, but I’m willing to give David LaFuente a chance to see what he will do.

Ultimatum has seen the deaths of many superheroes, and it looks like those deaths are permanent.  In those cases (Daredevil, Wasp, Professor X, and so on), we’ve seen the dead and dismembered bodies.  With Peter Parker, we don’t get that closure.  There is a new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man arriving in a couple of months, and it is called Spider-Man, not Spider-Woman, so someone is going to be swinging around the city as it rebuilds.  I’m hoping it is the young master Parker.  There is no body when Kitty shows up at May Parker’s house, so either Jessica took the body, or there isn’t one. It wouldn’t surprise me if we end up with another Ultimate Comics Clone Saga in the very near future.

As a final issue (of the first volume) I feel let down we didn’t get to see the title character.  While Bendis is an excellent writer and serves up three well paced stories, it feels like readers got to see half of Bendis’ work here.  I was hoping for a lot more in this closing chapter, but ultimately was disappointed.  Ultimate Spider-Man #133 is good, but not good enough to earn anything more than 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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8 Comments

  1. Brother129
    June 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm — Reply

    I agree that some key moments of dialogue or narration would have a helped a little. This story just felt like a warm-up for for the reboot. There is no way I can believe they’d kill Peter Parker…even temporarily.

  2. June 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    Mmm… I dunno. The Ultimate Universe seems poised to make some really stupid changes in the name of being different from the mainstream Marvel Universe… I agree, though, this book didn’t feel like a silent story, ala Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe #21 a million years ago. It felt like a production error kept the panels from getting properly placed.

  3. JKMD
    June 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm — Reply

    Thinking back to the “Nuff Said” books that were released…um…whenever they were released, I remember really spending time with the New X-Men issue. This book, in contrast, read EXTREMELY quickly. I was done in a matter of minutes.

    Regardless, I’d like to see Marvel go for broke (figuratively) and actually have Peter dead. I hope that they can get real creative and make an Ultimate Spider-Man book different and completely novel.

  4. June 5, 2009 at 9:57 am — Reply

    When I read the intro page and it said that it was a silent issue, I thought, “this is going to be cool!”

    …it wasn’t.

  5. Esperitox
    June 5, 2009 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Yep, boring. And in my opinion an unfitting end for spider-man. Killed by the explosion of a magical orb? There was (besides vampires) never any indication of magic in the ultimate spiderman-comics. So after fighting all those villians he dies like this? Booooooh!

  6. Ev
    June 5, 2009 at 11:14 am — Reply

    It was ok, then nice.
    After my first reading I was doubtful. But after a second and a third reading, I really like it.
    Best part for me, was when spidergirl meet Kitty Pride and kind of say “look it’s me Peter…” :)

  7. Howie
    June 10, 2009 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    If it were not for the simple fact that I own every other USM published this one would have stayed at the store.

    Immonen artwork? Strike one.
    No dialog? Strike two.
    $3.99 cover price? Strike three.

    I’ll pick up the requiem books hoping for better closure than this waste of paper, but after that, *don’t* “make mine Marvel”. Stick a fork in me Ethel, I’m done.

  8. RPM
    June 20, 2009 at 8:45 am — Reply

    I am just old enough to remember a time when comics didn’t always have dialogue. This one is done almost to that level. The picture of the hulk roaring, I had to take a triple look to verify no dialogue was posted. After reading it a few times, it got better with every reading.
    I was disappointed in the ending of this series but am thankful at the same time cause I was uncomfortable and disapproved with the direction it has been taking these last few years. You can always see a decline in a series (the end is near) when they start to introduce clones.
    Oh well, got to remember its just a story, have to reserve final opinion until I read a few of the new series.

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