Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Dave Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Dave Marquez and Rainier Beredo
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Spoiler Warning: Obviously this issue is a few months old now, but it does contain a major plot development which I had spoiled for me, so I want to give anyone whose currently unspoiled fair warning. This is that warning: I am going to discuss this major plot development in this review.
Plot: Two years ago the Bowen family and the Morales/Jefferson family try to flee New York as Magneto launches his Ultimatum against mankind.
In the modern day the Ultimates, with help from the Spider-Duo and Bombshell try to protect the civilians of New York from the latest Armageddon as the world begins to crumble. In the face of destruction Miles is forced makes an important confession.
Thoughts: I don’t want to bury the lead so I’m going to start by talking about the major status quo shift in this issue. While out rescuing a group of scared children, Spider-Man is able to reunited a young boy with his father. The father is overjoyed to see his son is safe, and his emotional response encourages Miles to go visit his own father. When Spider-Man arrives at his family home, Jefferson looks at Spider-Man in disgust until Miles unmasks, and begs his father to let him move him to safety. There is a Cataclysm going on around them, but Miles, by unmasking, has destroyed his father’s world in a way Galactus never could.
Since the beginning of the series Jefferson has been very outspoken about his mistrust for the mutant community and costumed crime fighters, his wife’s demise only added to that. In the previous scene the father of the lost boy set up how important a son is to a man, and Miles has put Jefferson into a horrible position. The son he loves more than anything, is part of a world he hates and blames for everything bad that’s every happened to him. When Miles started as Spider-Man I assumed Jefferson’s hatred would be the reason for Miles to employ a secret identity much like Aunt May’s weak heart caused Peter to wear a mask back in the sixties. I thought it was a justification for the plot, and never expected Bendis to put these two into a confrontation so quickly. Even though there’s a giant alien trying to eat the planet a few blocks away, and all I care about as a reader is the fallout from Miles’ confession. Unfortunately it’s not possible to explore that in this issue as unlike last issue the Cataclysm has (finally) started.
The scenes recreating Ultimatum were a nice touch, and seeing them from the prospective of Tandy and Miles lend credence to the shared universe dynamic Marvel is so good at. It was great to see the original Spider-Man make a cameo appearance, doing what he does best, inspiring people through daring heroics. Unlike Ultimatum however Cataclysm feels like the stakes are real.
As has become the norm with this series, Bendis spends some time this issue with Cloak, Dagger and Bombshell, and from their point of view it really does feel like the world is coming to an end. While these young teens look up at the omnipotent power of Galactus, it’s hard to see how they are going to solve this problem. Cloak and Dagger’s frontal assault against the alien has the same effect as a flea on a dinosaur, and all Bombshell can do is keep looters from making the situation worse.
Grade- C: While the last scene scored this issue some points for being truly shocking, I’m really more interested in the fallout than the event itself. It certainly has thrown a stick of dynamite into the room.
The rest of the issue was entertaining to read through, but nothing outstanding. The plot of Cataclysm has barely progressed, and while there are some nice character beats concerning Bombshell it is nothing we haven’t seen other last four or five issues of the main series.