Peter Parker died two years ago. Miles Morales has taken on the mantle of Spider-Man, a secret he has shared with Peter's inner circle of friends and his best friend Ganke. Miles lost his mother in a fight with Venom and, during Cataclysm told his father his identity. His father has not been seen since...
This story takes place between Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man - Cataclysm #3 and Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1.
Miles Morales and Ganke Lee get off the bus in Queens, discussing the present that Ganke has made for Gwen Stacy out of lego! Ganke is determined to give it to her. They arrive at Aunt May's house and go in.
Mary Jane Watson stands outside Aunt May's house with her boyfriend Liam. She asks him to leave and, understanding, he walks away.
Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman and female clone of Peter Parker) and Lana Baumgartner (Bombshell) travel on their way in a taxi. Lana questions whether she should be there, but Jessica tells her that she needs to be.
Liz Allen (Firestar) flies to the house and is joined by Johnny Storm (Human Torch) and Bobby Drake (Iceman). After a bit of banter, Iceman realises he's flying between two flame-based mutants and his ice powers give out!
Everyone arrives at the house for gathering to celebrate Peter Parker's life and is met by Aunt May and Gwen Stacy. Ganke gives Gwen his gift and, when she open it, she kisses him! As she goes to put it in her room, the doorbell goes. Aunt May opens the door to find Pepper Potts delivering a feast of gourmet food at the request of Tony Stark. Kitty Pryde phases through the door and is greeted as a hero after beating up Galactus! She hugs Miles, thanking him for saving her life during Cataclysm. Kenny "Kong" McFarlane arrives and he and Kitty hug. They want to talk a little more later, having had a brief relationship in school.
Outside the house, a limousine with J. Jonah Jameson in it waits. JJJ looks at the gang greeting Kong and decides to head back to the city.
After eating as much as they can, the gang discuss their ideas for what Peter's future would have been:
MJ uses her conversation with Nick Fury to explain that she thinks he would have led The Ultimates and been the best hero ever.
Aunt May imagined that he'd merge his love for science with his superheroics.
Gwen thinks that Peter would have combined his blossoming skills as a reporter and investigator for The Bugle with his enjoyment of beating up those criminals who seemed untouchable (like The Kingpin).
Miles never met Peter but has this idea that they would have been partners and good friends.
Kitty doesn't share her thoughts but we see that she loved Peter and wanted to marry him and grow up fighting crime with him.
Johnny hopes that their adventures together (with Iceman, Firestar, Nova and White Tiger) would continue with the support of SHIELD and that they'd become the greatest, most adored heroes on the planet!
Gwen wants to do something good to honour his memory and Miles has an idea.
At Queen's Mission, the gang distribute the tons of remaining food from Tony Stark to the thanks of the people there.
They return to the house and say their goodbyes. Gwen gives Ganke something and a peck on the cheek as they leave and Kitty and Kong leave together. Hidden in the bushes opposite, a figure watches... a figure that looks a lot like Peter Parker!
This is a wonderful comic that does more to cement these amount of quality and effort put into creating these characters than it does celebrate Peter. Brian Michael Bendis fires on all cylinders as he revisits his greatest creations and brings them together once again. The dialogue, emotion and reactions are all spot on as the reader is taken on a journey of remembrance of the history of this title and a reminder of how good it actually was.
I want to go back and read about Kitty and Kong again, see how much Kitty did love Peter, check out Kingpin's downfall, re-read the Amazing Friends arc, go and find that MJ/Fury conversation in Ultimate Fallout, totally re-immerse myself in Death Of Ultimate Spider-Man and even go and find the Spidey/Bombshell scenes. I pretty much think that that means Bendis has achieved everything he could have from this issue. A remembrance of quality and consistent storytelling.
As is typical with a big issue, there are guest artists. And what a line up! Mark Bagley, Mark Brooks, Sara Pichelli and David Lafuente. All seminal artists on this title and all great in their own right. Stuart Immonen's contribution is sadly missing, but the quality of everyone's input makes up for that! I'll be honest though, Mark Bagley's pages are the ones that least wow me and Pichelli's are the best... apart from the stunning David Marquez who draws the rest of the book. He is a becoming a phenomenon in my eyes, producing some utterly stunning work each issue. He truly steps up the mark here, drawing and delivering each and every character with their own charm, emotion and detail expected from readers who have known some of these character for the best part of 14 years!
This is a slow issue but a deep one. It looks great, reads well and is well worth a look.
Why isn't it 5 out of 5? The final panel. I never thought I'd say it, but I don't want to see Peter Parker in this book. Bendis does not need to resort to this kind of drama and should focus on what he does throughout these 30 pages - wonderful (alive) characters.
This would have been perfect but, actually, we don't need Peter back and this issue and the amazing characterisation proves it.