Comics : Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #22

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This story is part of an Arc: "Venom War"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: Jun 2014.

Background...

Venom is back and gunning for Spidey in a big way. He seemed to think Miles' Dad is Spidey and so put him in the hospital. Now Venom has turned up at the hospital, seemingly with the intention of finishing things off!

In Detail...

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #22
Jun 2013 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "Venom War"
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Sara Pichelli
Cover Art:  Rainer Beredo, Sara Pichelli
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
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Miles decides to follow Detective Hill outside to confront her about her suspicions regarding his secret identity. She isn't convinced by Miles' denials. She is proven totally right, when her fellow officers get news of Venom attacking the hospital and she tells Miles he would get there faster and Miles just jumps up a building in front of her, putting his mask on.

At the hospital, Venom is tearing up the place and demanding that Spider-man (who he thinks is Jefferson still) be handed over to him. Spidey arrives and starts laying into Venom and demanding to know who is in the suit. Venom starts getting the upper hand, so Miles' Mum, realising it is Miles (along with Venom), steps in and starts shooting Venom. The symbiote then grabs Spidey to 'feed' and starts encasing Spidey into its body. Miles' Mum begs for Miles' life and Venom begins to eat her. Spidey then uses his venom blast from withing Venom. This leads to the Venom symbiote exploding off the man beneath and freeing Spidey. At this point, Maria Hill and the police arrive. They open fire on the man who was in control of Venom. In the aftermath, Miles goes to his mum only to find she is dying from a bullet wound. She tells him not to let his father know and then dies.

At Roxxon Industries, an executive and his underlings are listening to news reports of the Venom symbiote. The identity of whom is Dr. Conrad Marcus. The seeming head of Roxxon instructs his underlings that they are going to distance themselves from Venom and when everything has calmed down, they are going to find Spider-man, so that they can make more of him.

At home the next morning, Miles wakes to reality that his mum is gone. Distraught, he gets his Spidey suit and shreds it, yelling, "No more!"

In General...

A very action packed and dramatic issue. A mostly great end to the storyline.

The fight with Venom is brutal and tense. Miles' shows his true colours and fights admirably against a seemingly unstoppable opponent. When Miles' mum dies, it is truly tragic. The way that Rio fights against Venom before dying, gives more depth to her character than she has really ever had. Then to have her die from a stray bullet is tough, but the real trauma arises for what this means to Miles. This is where the excellent art on this issue really comes to the fore. Pichelli is able to really convey a heart-wrenching depth to Miles' emotions. It's hard to re-read it without getting a little teary. So, at the end, when Miles' has lost so much, it's totally understandable that Miles would want to have nothing to do with Spidey.

The only disappointment of this issue is the revealing of Conrad Marcus as the guy beneath the Venom symbiote. Who the heck is he? If he has appeared in any Ultimate Spider-man comics before, he must be extremely obscure, because I don't have a clue who he is! The fact that he worked for Roxxon, is no hint whatsoever. This was the main mystery driving the storyline, so to have it revealed as nobody sucks. Particularly a nobody, that is now apparently dead and so will probably have no further significance to the series. I'm guessing it's unlikely that we will get some sort of back story in future issues, but I hope we do. There surely has to be a reason why this Venom was gunning for Spidey so hard and wanted to absorb him.

Overall Rating...

A powerful issue, with let down on the villain identity revelation.