Ultimate Spider-Man #133

Background

We last saw Spider-Man caught in huge explosion caused by the Hulk while fighting off Dormammu and his demon hordes. Spider-Woman and Kitty have gone to search for Peter while Mary Jane, Aunt May, Gwen and Kong can only hope everyone comes back safe from the aftereffects of the Ultimatum Wave.

Story Details

The explosion rips up the surrounding buildings in a brilliant flash of light. Spider-Woman swings near the epicenter only to get beaten back. She views the Hulk still in a rage, his hair on fire. The Hulk spots Spider-Woman and chases after her.

The Hulk pounds the asphalt with his feet causing a shockwave that knocks Spider-Woman off her feet. He continues to pound on the hapless clone of Peter Parker. Spider-Woman manages to momentarily web up the Hulk's face blinding him. Spider-Woman hides behind a building as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents try to capture the enraged Hulk. The Hulk manages to beat basck the assault by throwing a taxicab into his would be captors' helicopter. The remaining agents leave, letting the Hulk win out for the time being.

Spider-Woman takes off her mask and looks at where the explosion occurred. There is no sign of Spider-Man. She tries to look for him but can't find a body. Kitty arrives on the scene. Spider-Woman is glad to see her and tries to hug Kitty. The displeased mutant lets Spider-Woman phase through her.

Several New York citizens cry out for help. Spider-Woman and Kitty put aside their anxiety and go to help them. They manage to rescue everyone. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents pick up the survivors via helicopter.

Spider-Woman and Kitty resume their search for Peter. A sizable tidal wave washes over the street causing both heroes to scramble for safety. The wave carries several dead bodies none of which are Peter. However, Kitty spots the battered mask of Spider-Man carried by the wave.

Meanwhile, Mary Jane tries to comfort Gwen and Kong back at the Parker household. Aunt May is glad Gwen is safe. May exchanges a knowing glance with MJ, obviously worried about Peter. Kitty arrives, bruised and in tears, with Spider-Man's mask. May breaks down and MJ can only stare in shock. Mary Jane holds the mask in her hands no doubt in agony over Peter's death.

General Comments

My worst fears were realized by this final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter Parker is for all intents and purposes dead. Of course, there is no body so there is still a glimmer of hope for those, like me, hoping that Peter Parker somehow survived the explosion. This resolution paves the way for a two part epilogue leading into Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man (part of a re- launched Ultimate Universe line of titles).

I can't knock the entire issue based on my individual disappointment of the resolution. Furthermore, this resolution does not in any way tarnish what has been a wildly successful re-imagining of Spider-Man that led to an entire Ultimate Universe. Against my better judgment, I'd have to say there are a great many positive attributes to this final story.

The "silent" nature of the issue was an experiment that largely worked. Sometimes, this approach can cause reader headaches, this is usually due to the artist. However, Immonen proves that he can tell a sequential story without Bendis's words. There's some great exposition using only the basics of comic book storytelling. I'd go so far as to say this "silent" approach works even more as Bendis as sometimes been criticized for his "wordy" scripting style.

The "silent" apprach also works within the the context of a death story. Bendis is giving respect to the character. There's an added weight to the resolution by having no words. The reader can feel the devastation of Kitty, May, and MJ without having to be explicitly told so. Immonen's approach combines background simplicity with elegantly rendered figures. Special mentino should also be given to colorist Justin Ponsor. Ponsor does destruction quite well and shows off some brilliant hues, especially in the opening splash page and Spider-Woman's battle with Hulk.

I am anxious to see what will be done with the supporitng cast from here on out, especially Spider-Woman. I won't speculate about future issues here. If this resolution does anything it does leave the characters in a interesting spot. However, I was disappointed to see that J. Jonah Jameson's regret over his past criticism of Spider-Man was left out entirely. Perhaps we'll see this in the Requiem issues.

Overall Rating

If Ultimate Spider-Man had to go then this final issue was done in the best possible way. Nevertheless I feel that USM had a lot left in the tank in terms of stories and the reboot was not needed. Therefore I am taking off 2 full webs to what was otherwise an exemplary last issue.

Footnote

As explained in my analysis above this was a silent issue with no word balloons or sound effects.

Ultimate Spider-Man #133 contains a few extras as befits the last issue of any noteworthy series. There's a lengthy interview with writer Brian Michael Bendis accompanied by past art from Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen. The last page includes a thank you from Marvel to everyone who worked on Ultimate Spider-Man.