Ultimate Spider-Man #130
By Zak Edwards
January 30, 2009 - 13:56
I’m still debating whether I enjoy the fact Marvel Comics has made such a gigantic, all-encompassing disaster that it cannot even be ignored by Ultimate Spider-Man. For all of the attempts to make the Ultimate Universe a single, cohesive world, Ultimate Spider-Man has enjoyed an isolationist approach, keeping out of other titles’ business as it were. But now Marvel has forced this title’s hand to join in and the first issue concerning an event suffers because of the almighty editor.
I have two major problems with this issue in particular: the downward spiral of Aunt May as a strong character and also the fact that nothing happens this issue that didn’t happen in Ultimatum #1 and 2. So I’ll start with the latter. Large sections of this issue are completely taken from the first two issues of Ultimatum, the giant event written by Jeph Loeb and Bryan Finch which is supposedly going to destroy the Ultimate universe as we know it. Taken to the point where whole sections of both dialogue and panels are direct copies from that series. I can see the necessity of keeping those not familiar with the Ultimatum event up to speed with why a giant tidal wave has destroyed New York City, but this copy-and-paste quality is beyond disappointing, its just plain lazy and bordering on self-plagiarism. But to his credit, Bendis does mix in parts of action not seen in Ultimatum which resonate some emotional impact, but these glimpses are very brief, with most room taken up to depict Spider-Man runnig around trying to save people, which itself part of the dialogue taken directly from the Ultimatum series. Total pages copied from Ultmatum totals eleven pages in this twenty-two page comic book, which includes three two-page spreads and another single-page spread. In short, there’s barely anything in this comic book worth the three dollars because so much is recycled. Now onto Aunt May, it’s disappointing to see a character, certainly humbled by her recent heart attack, who just a couple of issues ago was willing to pull a gun on a man to protect her family turn into a bumbling mess before a couple of police officers obviously doing the whole “good cop bad cop” thing. I was expecting Aunt May to get mad, demanding, anything. But instead, she sits and politely asks for her lawyer. This is the same woman who made J. Jonah Jameson speechless and was ready to kick the crap out of S.H.I.E.L.D agents while Peter was out saving the world during the Ultimate Six story line. I can understand her new found frailty in light of her recent heart attack, but she comes across as a shadow of her former self. I also wanted to quickly comment on the use of yet another crazy woman in the police station speaking the phrases from the events happening in the regular continuity. The first, the Scarlet Witch screaming she’s not crazy, was kind of a funny self-referral thing. The next, relating to Secret Invasion and Skrulls, appeared. Now, we have a woman yelling “Choose your side!” It was funny, now it’s over the top cross-advertising. So by and large, Bendis has broken the almost perfect streak of quality Ultimate Spider-Man has been experiencing for over thirty issues now with this recycled issue. Unfortunately, it’s not worth the money at all.
Penciller Stuart Immonen also falls into some of the same problems as Bendis, almost tracing Finch’s work on Ultimatum. I was going to commetn on the great level of detail in the two page spreads before I remembered how uninspired (or over inspired, if you want to look at it that way) it all is. For the sections of artwork he doesn’t trace, Immonen does his usual great job I’ve come to expect. His action is high energy and his panelling very fluid (and a highlight for me). There is a hiccup where I am unsure whether Spider-Man is throwing a cab in the air or what, but the sequence looks cool anyway. By now, Immonen’s work is the look of the book, and while he still struggles with the characters out of costume, he more than makes up for it in his action sequences, which are just fun to engage with.
4/10 Cut-and-paste tactics ruin this series high quality streak, as does some poor characterization and cheap jokes.
On a complete side note, I recently read the solicitation of Ultimate Spider-Man #133 reading as the final Ultimate Spider-Man issue. While I hope the series is just starting with a new number one, can anyone confirm or deny this? If so, post a comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00