Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Plot: The Venom parasite has engulfed Peter Parker, trying to take him over physically and mentally. He quickly dispatches the Beetle, then engages the Wildpack, while Eddie protests the parasite choosing Peter over him. As the battle continues, his mass and musculature increase while Peter’s control lessens. Soon the Ultimates – Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wasp, and Thor – and SHIELD join the fray. Nick Fury, in battle armor, overhears Brock call Venom “Parker”, but still orders Thor to bring down the “god stuff” – a massive onslaught of lightning.
Peter wakes up in his bed with his aunt questioning where he’s been. Wanting answers, he checks his email and finds an email from Fury telling him to come over as soon as he woke up. Donning his spare costume and only working web-shooter, Spider-Man swings to the Triskellion. Iron Man, Fury, and Cap fill him in on what happened. They removed the parasite and ran a bio-scan to ensure Peter was normal, then drugged May so that they could sneak him back into the house. Peter protests their keeping it contained as opposed to incinerating it. Fury thinks there’s more to the Venom project in regards to weapons application as opposed to Richard Parker’s original intention of curing cancer. He insinuates that by creating the suit, with both contries and corporations after it, Richard Parker may have started World War III.
- Wildpack vs Ultimates vs. Ultimate Spider-Man as Ultimate Venom (to a certain point)
- The “Who’s On First” routine over what to call the symbiote
- Eddie Brock showing how conflicted and goofy he truly is
- Art was choppy in some areas
- Venom vs. Cap at times resembled his first battle with the Hulk
- Underusage of Fury
To make a minor correction from previous reviews, the design of Ultimate Beetle was done by original USM artist Mark Bagley for the USM video game a couple of years back, which this storyline is based on. So, sorry, Mark and sorry, Stuart. Okay on to this issue. I feel that this brawl-for-all could have been handled better. The sequentials look too choppy in some parts. While Bendis handles the warring sides of Spider-Man’s psyche beautifully, the fluidity of motion was lacking here. And as for the climactic takedown of the symbiote, there’s no explanation as to why it seemed to bubble on one side. The hail of lightning could have been handled better than just a tiny panel at the bottom of the page. All that was missing was a “ZZZAT”. Honestly it should have been the splash and the bubbling out stuff a panel. The scene in which Cap engages with Peter as Venom feels a little forced in terms of dialogue and tone. It’s like both Brian and Stuart were trying to capture some of the magic of the first Hulk-Cap battle in the first Ultimates series. However, I do like the idea that the parasite increased its mass and height to make Spider-Man unrecognizable, and it’s a nod to what Mark and Brian did in the first Venom storyline. If it does so to Eddie then why not Peter? However, it’s more vicious on Peter’s psyche than it was the last time he wore the suit and it went nuts on him; giving it dialogue made it a great psychological war being waged juxtaposed to the physical battle. And now we come to Mr. Eddie Brock, naked as a jaybird and squawking to Peter about how he ripped off his suit when FOR THE PAST THREE ISSUES all he’s wanted was to either control it or get rid of it. In the end he’s just a glorified whiner and hypocrite. Still, there may be an element of addiction in his psyche, like the symbiote left a piece of itself in Eddie in case *$%$^ happens. Either way it’s a double edged sword because while it makes him complex, this duality has to be handled the right way and as usual Bendis walks the line. As for laughs, the patch on Spidey’s butt and the Abbott and Costello-style establishing of what the “black goo” is called were great. All in all, while it was a bit lackluster in terms of fights – despite the lightning, helicopters, and big guns raining down on Peter as Venom – the human moments at the Parker house and the Triskellion redeem those flaws.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Webs
Cover: 5 out of 5 Webs
This cover works in that the main players are featured prominently and less noise in the background. The centering of Venom in front with a lean figure lets the reader know that Peter’s about to have a really bad day both in regards to wardrobe and the odds. Iron Man, Thor, and Cap look bold and formidable, but there’s no explanation why Cap seems to be hovering down the way he is. Anyway I’m not going to split hairs. Good job Stuart.