The latest issue of Ultimate Spider-Man suffers, not from within, but from without. It is one of those times where the previews and hype of future stories cause this issue to falter. With hype of upcoming issues tying into the Ultimate Spider-Man game with Symbiote Wars, after three years of promising to tie the two together, this issue feels like a delay to the upcoming events involving Ultimate Venom and Carnage. For the issue itself, however, Bendis creates an issue of displaying the effects of Peter Parker on Spider-Man and vice versa in both comedic and violent ways.
The issue is the explanation of why Peter Parker and his ex-girlfriend Kitty Pryde have a charred fake baby in class, a class project Bendis has used as a subplot for a few issues now with great success. The doll has been a great source of both tension and humour in Ultimate Spider-Man, forcing Kitty and Peter to spend time together and also making Peter carry a doll on a baby harness around Manhattan.
The reason for the charring is Omega Red, a villain Spider-Man briefly encountered and defeated in the opening pages of issue #86. For this reason, the choice of using such an unimportant character for a single issue story seems strange, but Bendis uses it to show the futility of some of the violence in the life of Spider-Man, and what some of the pointless violence causes with his double-life. The senseless violence of this issue and the eleven page fight sequence that follows is because of bad press Omega Red feels he has been receiving. For this reason, Peter must defend his workplace while his GPA, and fake baby, take the hit. The issue balances comedy and drama with the both the Peter Parker and Spider-Man halves of the story, creating a balanced and enjoyable read. Indeed, if I was to use a single word to describe this issue, it would be fun.
Stuart Immonen once again strives to maintain the same quality in both halves of Ultimate Spider-Man. The action sequences are great, filled with some very exciting panelling and flow to each page. The double-page panelling is pulled off quite well, something Immonen struggled with initially. The Peter Parker sequences have a great amount of emotion to them as well, with Immonen nailing some great facial expressions, particularly with J. Jonah Jameson. There are a few spots where the art looks simply off. Jameson’s trunk shrinks noticeably in a certain panel, making him look very disproportionate. But overall, Immonen’s creative look at Spider-Man’s very unique fighting style adds to the enjoyable experience of this issue.
7.5/10 A lot of fun, but acts as a delay to the anticipated issues to come.