Ultimate Spider-Man #133 Review


usm133Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

PLOT:
The shockwave and debris of the explosion in SoHo knocks Spider-Woman off of her webline. The erupting energy vanishes in the cloud, leaving behind the destroyed Sanctum Sanctorum in its wake…and the incredible Hulk. Consumed with mindless rage, he spots Jessica and instantly starts to pursue her simply because she’s there. She tries to swing, but a thunder clap again causes her to lose her grip and she ricochets down the walls of an alley. The creature continues his violent assault, as Drew narrowly evades it by the skin of her teeth. With some webbing blinding him, Jessica manages to hide just as a military chopper spots the Hulk, assuming he’s responsible for the devastation of New York, and opens fire. The Hulk easily takes down the chopper with a few hurled cars and, losing interest in Spider-Woman, leaps away into the night. Jessica goes back to the Sanctum to try and find Peter. No luck. Kitty Pryde appears on the scene. For her it’s the first encounter with Spider-Woman, but for Jessica Drew, a clone of Peter’s with his memories of her, gives her a hug, which Pryde phases through. The awkward moment is forgotten as more survivors cry for help. The duo manage to gather whoever they can find onto one rooftop for the military rescue choppers to spot them. When that’s done, they return to the Sanctum to look for Peter. A remaining tidal wave disrupts the search, but washes a damaged Spider-Man mask in view. They cry out for Peter, hoping he can hear them…but still nothing.
Back in Queens, MJ, Gwen, and Kenny make it back to the Parker home, where May and MJ’s mother is waiting. All are thankful that they made it there alive, but then the question of Peter’s whereabouts comes up. Kitty appears soon after, carrying Peter’s mask and gives it to MJ. All fear the worst.

LIKES:

  • Lack of dialogue increases the shock value
  • BETTER EXPLOSION!
  • Kitty Pryde and Jessica Drew – The "reunion?"
  • Simple ending with a lasting impact

DISLIKES:

  • None whatsoever

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Well, here we are: the final official issue of the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man. And as usual we’re left with a cliffhanger. Is Spider-Man dead? Did Bendis actually have the stones to axe Marvel’s flagship character? Not likely. But that’s the overall impression. I was expecting something on the level of Spider-Man No More, but the idea of Peter being among the missing Post-Ultimatum actually works. I’m interested in how long they can stretch this out.
The lack of dialogue reminds me of a series of marvel issues entitled "’Nuff Said," in which there was zero dialogue and artists had to let their panels do the storytelling. A better example of silent drama is an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer entitled "Hush," in which a demon took away the voices, so they had to communicate and pretty much act out the drama silent movie style. I think this enhanced the drama in this story’s plot. Internal dialogue and captions removed, it becomes more interactive. It makes the reader start to think and interpret what’s going on and what the characters’ reactions are through their facial expressions and their actions. It also makes the Hulk more menacing. At least when you see the dialogue balloon read "Hulk SMASH!" you know it’s your butt. But when you’re looking at the monster, you need to read his expressions and use your imagination. He’s angry yeah but is he announcing his intentions? Is he roaring? Then there’s the awkward "reunion" between Jessica Drew and Kitty Pryde. Again the lack of dialogue makes this work. This weird, strange girl (from Kitty’s perspective) is hugging her as if they are close and something really bugs her. Maybe it’s because deep down she senses some connection to Peter outside of a Spidey-esque outfit. It strikes a chord with her because she did something similar to that design a few issues back when they were dating. Her phasing through the hug was a good idea on Stuart’s part. The embarrassment on Jessica’s face says it all as she’s trying to come up with an explanation without really going into what she is. As does Kitty’s "uh, yeah" expression. But I think the one of the strongest scenes was the splash page of Peter’s mask washing up to Kitty and Jessica. To me that read a dying of the light. The loss of innocence. Peter, despite the tragedy in his life, always managed to lighten up the mood with even the most dire of situations with a wisecrack. The guy who never gave up. And now to them it looks as though that attitude finally claimed him. The second sequence was the final two pages at the Parker household. If this were a movie, you could see this being played in slow motion. The relief suddenly descend into greater concern, and finally Kitty lowering the boom with Peter’s mask. The shadows on Kenny’s face (which kind of make him look older) say it as much as May crying in MJ’s mom’s arms. His friend and hero is possibly dead and the majority of their relationship has been him taunting and bullying him at Flash’s behest, so there is a certain amount of guilt written on his face. The final panel of Mary Jane’s face reflected in both lenses of Peter’s mask best captures her mood. She is confused, distraught, and scared that this could be all that’s left of the boy she loves enough to start calling herself Mary Jane Parker by accident.
There are no complaints about this issue. A great use of silent drama and suspenseful ending. Great tie-up guys! See you in Requiem!

RATING: 5 out of 5 Webs

COVER: 5 out of 5 Webs
That’s what I’m talking about. RELEVANCE! This lets the reader wonder what happened to Peter. Did he die? Did he quit? Is he injured? The battered and torn mask lying there in the filthy waters of  a New York street convey a sense of dread onto the most devoted Spidey fan.

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