Review Shooter: Ultimate Spider-Man #160
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Well it’s finally here gang, the final chapter in the ‘Death of Spider-Man’ story line. I have to say that it’s definitely a bittersweet affair due to the fact that I’ve been reading this book since it began back in 2000. Back then, Marvel decided to breathe new life into its characters by creating a new universe for creators to dabble in and give readers a different take on classic origins. Brian Michael Bendis decided to revamp Spider-Man by taking Peter Parker back to high school and focusing more on his life out of the costume. Needless to say, that formula was a huge success and a personal favorite.
If you’ve missed the previous chapters in this story arc, do yourself a favor and pick them up! If you’re a tad short on cash or lazy, here’s a recap!
To sum it up, the Ultimate Avengers team and the new Ultimates had a falling out of sorts. This lead to The Punisher trying to take out Captain America by aiming for his knees; Peter, swinging by, saw this and tackled Cap out of the way but took the bullet in his side. The fight moved on while Peter gained consciousness again, only for him to see his recently escaped greatest enemies (Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Electro, Sandman, Kraven and Vulture) heading right towards his neighborhood! Peter knew he couldn’t stop to tend to himself so he webbed up his side and headed back home. Everything lead to a heated battle with Iceman, Human Torch and eventually Peter in Queens. Aunt May couldn’t help but come back and check on Peter after he specifically told her to stay away and she showed up in time to shoot Electro in the chest three times and overload him; taking out the other villains around himself. Peter, Aunt May and Gwen gathered together, only for Green Goblin to rise up in front of them.
This issue brings us the final part of the battle for Peter to protect those he loves. The struggle between him and Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) has been raging since the original story arc from 2000. That makes this closing chapter all the more appropriate. We see the Human Torch rise up and fall once more considering the Goblin’s powers are fire-based in this incarnation. With Johnny back out of the fight, Peter is truly alone to defend those around him. It has to be said that he made readers proud though.
Listen, with the media blitz that happened the day before its release, I’ll just confirm that Peter does die in this issue. After 160 issues of fighting the good fight, he’s died a teenager. I know this may confuse or piss off some, but that’s the point of the Ultimate Universe that Marvel has created. It offers new looks at old characters. Instead of being a down and out guy in his late twenties as in the regular Marvel (616) universe, the Ultimate version is a 16 year-old that deals with all the trials and tribulations of a teen; such as: school, work, girls, friends and secret identities. It’s actually hilarious how many times Peter has been de-masked in this series; at some points he even addresses this issue and points out how bad he is at keeping his mask on. I’d even say that it would still be worth it for you to go back and read this series in its entirety.
Although Peter dies in this issue, it certainly isn’t wasted. With Peter having help from the likes of Iceman, Human Torch, Aunt May and even Mary Jane, you can tell how personal Bendis made this fight for Spider-Man. At one point Peter asks the Goblin why he’s even going through with this scheme to kill his arch-nemesis; he won’t get his son, Harry, back, he won’t be the head of a company again and his hair won’t even be considered fashionable. With how deluded this version of Norman is, even claiming God wants Peter’s death, he simply replies with the fact that he won’t get all that back, Peter will be dead. Not exactly a guy that lacks focus, huh? If you’ve been reading since the beginning, (go start now!) this fight and all the dialogue is even more worth it as each punch and quip has 159 issues of history behind it. I won’t quote exactly, but Peter’s final words harken back to his failure to protect Uncle Ben.
If you’re bummed and thinking this is the end for Ultimate Spider-Man you’re wrong! Soon after this issue, a new series called Ultimate Fallout will begin. This series will follow characters and heroes in the Ultimate Universe and how the death of one of their greatest and youngest heroes affects them. Later this fall, we’re getting some new Ultimate series launched; one of them includes a new Ultimate Spider-Man! This isn’t simply a re-printing of old issues, my friends. This is a brand new character in the Ultimate Universe donning the webs! I’ve provided you with a picture of what this new masked menace will look like. Who is it? What can they do? Only time will tell. What do you think of the new duds? Sound off below!
New reader accessibility scale: 6 This issue is the climax of a story line and a series all rolled into one. To fully get everything going on and get the full impact of the event, I suggest going back and reading every issue in the ‘Death of Spider-Man’ arc. Even better, go back and read all 159 issues before!