Comics : Ultimatum Spider-Man Requiem #1

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

This two part story takes place after Ultimate Spider-Man #133. Spider- Man has seemingly died due to a huge magical explosion caused by the Hulk and Dormammu. He was trying to save lives after the Ultimatum Wave hit (as detailed in Ultimatum #1).

In Detail...

Ultimatum Spider-Man Requiem #1
Aug 2009 : SM Title
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man appears
Editor:  Lauren Sankovitch
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen
Inker:  Scott Hanna, Wade von Grawbadger
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Review

J. Jonah Jameson and his staff return to the destroyed offices of the Daily Bugle the day after the Ultimatum Wave hit Manhattan. Reporter Ben Urich and Editor-in-Chief Joe Robertson are with JJJ. They still can not believe the amount of destruction the wave caused to their offices and the city in general. Ol' Jonah looks at a past framed editorial in which he criticized Spider-Man and looks forlornly at the ground. Jonah proclaims to Urich that he'll start over and create a newspaper everyone can be proud of. Urich hands him a hard drive with "true" stories of all the heroic deeds of Spider-Man. Alone in his office, JJJ contemplates a past event that Spider-Man was involved in...

Several months ago, Mary Jane is at Stark International HQ to interview Tony Stark for a school assignment. She asks Stark why he is openly Iron Man when he could have a secret identity. Tony replies that he simply wants to stop a world ruled by fear and that he has nothing to hide to the public. MJ then asks him why he still sells weapons. Tony says that weapons relieve fear and can not believe the tenacity of the young reporter. Mary Jane and Tony share a reasoned conversation about the nature of Iron Man until HYDRA agents burst through the building.

The HYDRA agents blast Tony to his knees, ignoring Mary Jane. Monica Rappacini makes her appearance and demands Tony hand over his armor or his life.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is at work as the Webmaster of the Daily Bugle. Robertson, Jonah, and Urich hear of the Stark International incident and discuss sending a team to cover the events. Peter, having heard the animated conversation, is already gone.

Back at Stark International, Rappacini expounds upon her demands. Tony demands that she let Mary Jane go. Rappacini's retort is interrupted by the timely appearance of Spider-Man. He busts his way through numerous HYDRA goons and swings Mary Jane to safety. Mary Jane and Peter share a loving moment before he swings off to help Tony against HYDRA.

Spider-Man's interruption allows Tony to don his Iron Man armor. Rappacini's plans are laid to dust as the Spider-Man / Iron Man duo make quick work of the HYDRA forces. Iron Man expresses that HYDRA feeds on fear and greed. He tells Spider-Man that if he ever needs anything he can turn to Tony.

Jonah finishes reading the Iron Man / Spider-Man report filed by Urich. Urich bursts into his office and tell Jonah that Spider-Man has bene declared dead by the authorities.

In General...

Ultimate Spider-Man ended about as well as a long running series could end considering it was part of a editorially driven event. In order to bridge the gap between USM and the re-launched book is this two part story. Bendis is using this to address any lingering plot threads left unexplored by the silent issue.

Jonah's initial regret is finally explored. I think this was a potentially missed opportunity in the main series. Nonethless, Bendis uses Immonen to ably frame Jonah's inner torment at his past distortions of Spider-Man's heroics. The reader really feels for JJJ's reaction and Immonen supports it by rendering some superb facial shots.

The major draw of this two parter is the return of long-time penciler Mark Bagley to the character. Bagley's parts concern the flashback with Iron Man. His rendering of Mary Jane is instantly recognizable and warmly familiar. There's a rather seemless transition between the the two pencilers. Bagley gets the actiony elements while Immonen gets the emotional moments that bookend the issue.

Behind the regrets of Jonah is a rather enrtertaining team-up of Iron Man and Spider-Man. It is enjoyable because of Bagley's kinetic and smooth pencils but also because it is set in a simpler time, a time where USM was frankly more fun and light-hearted.

Overall Rating...

This was a rather fun and enjoyable read for a issue titled REQUIEM. Bendis is doing his best to make Spider-Man's death dramatic and fully realized in the context of Ultimatum without sacrificing the elements that made USM shine. It was great to see Bagley back on the character and to see the contrast between his and Immonen's artistic styles.