Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Dave Marquez

Colors: Justin Ponsor with Paul Mounts

Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit

Cover: Dave Marquez and Rainier Beredo

Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw

Editor: Mark Paniccia

Plot: Spider-Woman debriefs the Ultimates on recent events, Bombshell unsuccessfully explains her new found heroism to her parole officer and Spider-Man makes his first public appearance since he returned from his year sabbatical…oh and a giant Galactus looms over New York. But he’s not really doing anything right now.

Thoughts: While the cover may say Cataclysm, the inside is simply the next issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. If you get distracted and don’t make it to the last page there would be no way for you to know this isn’t just an average issue of the ongoing series.

Has there been an Ultimate Boom-Boom?

The benefit of this, is that the stories I’ve been enjoying from the main series continue here. I am particularly interested in Bendis’ commitment to rehabilitating Bombshell, as it continues to be charming and a little twisted. In this issue Lori tries to explain to her parole officer her desire to become a superhero. However when her parole officer orders her not to use her powers, we see that she has not changed as much as she thought. This is an intriguing direction to take this character. In the last few issues Lori has been bitten by an altruistic bug, and desperately wants to be a hero, however as society insists she not use her powers, she is forced to return to what she knows; the defiance of the law. Lori’s story is defiantly going to be an interesting one as she seems to genuinely want to change, but if she continues to encounter the same prejudice Peter Parker received when he first become Spider-Man she may not be able to keep to the path. It really seems like she could go either way at this point, and it’s a great place for the character to be just a few issues before her and the other All-New Ultimates start their own series.

Before than however, we do spend a scene with the All-Old Ultimates, who we find sitting around and eating take-out like they’re in a New Avenges book circa 2007. As they eat, Spider-Woman explains her recent actions against the Roxxon corporation. I haven’t read any Ultimates since Jeph Loeb’s run on the title, so honestly the characterisations of this group felt a little strange to me. Particular Thor, whose inability to finish his parable felt very awkward to read. However Captain America and Iron Man’s dialogue was enjoyable, and Captain America’s confusion over Jessica’s origins rang true. This scene did genuinely interest me, and has made me curious to read the recent Ultimates series, as Jessica’s interactions with the iconic Marvel heroes felt very fresh, though I do suspect that was more from Bendis’ skills with dialogue, rather than the strength of the core concept.

Dumb ThorWhat can I say about Dave Marquez at this point, that I haven’t said before? I’m hoping when this series relaunches we get some fill-in artists so I don’t feel like I’m repeating myself each month. Marquez is a master. His aged versions of Miles and Ganke are amazing. He has changed them from their original designs, especially Ganke, but has been able to keep them recognisable as the same people. His characters display a range of emotions so effectively, I’d be interested in seeing how he handle a silent issue, as his character’s thoughts are clear even without dialogue boxes. I didn’t get Thor’s idiocy from a story prospective, but the dumbfounded look on his face was captured perfectly in the art. Marquez, for me, is becoming on this era’s greatest Spider-Man artists, I’d be interested to see his take on the main-universe counterparts.

Grade – C: My feelings on this issue are contradictory. I do not believe that it earns it’s title, or it’s very dramatic cover. Galactus, and his Cataclysm make nothing more than a cameo in this issue and until the final page his presence is non-existent. That being said, what we do get is the continuation of Miles’ journey as Spider-Man. This is a story I have been enjoying, and am happy to be able to continue reading it here. I suppose it just feels like I bought a ticket to see the latest disaster movie, only to find out the earthquake/flood/meteor won’t show up until the sequel.

If, like me, you are looking for the continued adventures of Miles Morales, this is for you. If you are looking for a tie-in to the main Cataclysm event, you may be disappointed by this issues lack of action.

– Adam

Liked it? Take a second to support the Crawlspace on Patreon!