Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Dave Marquez, David Lafuente, Sara Pichelli, Mark Brooks, Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Justin Ponser
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Justin Ponser
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Plot: Miles and Ganke attended a reunion of Peter Parker’s nearest and dearest to reminisce about the fallen hero.
Thoughts: I’m not normally someone who talks about price vs. page count. I believe it’s your money, spend it on what you like. However in this case I would like to thank Marvel for their discretion. This was an anniversary issue, and they could have easily charged $5 or more for this, and filled it with useless backup pages. Instead of giving us a run of the mill story, with expensive bonus features, they made sure that it was a story that celebrated this milestone, and kept the price inline with the previous issues. Thank you.
The story can be summed up very quickly, as I have done so above. However within this simple premise there were so many great character moments, and it’s these moments that are the strength of the issue. Firstly it’s great to see Miles and Ganke’s friendship has been restored. Their banter is in full swing, covering everything from Star Trek, Lego, girls and webbing. Bendis’ dialogue has always made him stand out from other writers and this issue is no different. It could be argued that Ganke’s feelings for Gwen have come out of nowhere, but it’s not unbelievable for a teenage boy to cyber-stalk a pretty girl he barely knows. I like that the issue ends with Gwen passing Ganke a note and I am interested to see where this goes when the series returns. Ganke is a funny, nerdy kid, but who can be brave when needed. Is that Gwen’s type?
The issue mainly focuses on Peter’s peers, however seeing how the older generation react to May’s invitation may be the more nuanced aspect. Ironman, unable to attend, caters the event by hiring a TV chef (based on Marvel editor C.B Cebulski), while Jonah watches the gathering from his car, but decides not to go in. This perfectly captures how these two characters would react to a wake. Tony, avoids the emotion, but throws money at the situation. Jonah, had the best of intentions but couldn’t follow through.
Once the attendees have eaten they all settle down in May’s living room for an Ultimate edition of Marvel What if…Mary Jane asks them what they think Peter would be if he had been able to grow up. Each character’s thoughts gives us a glimpse at how they saw Peter, and what it was about him they admired.
MJ believed Peter would be the greatest hero,
May believed Peter would use science to improve the city,
Gwen believed Peter would use his abilities to become a reporter and fight for justice,
Iceman dreamed for the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon,
Miles hoped he and Peter could have been friends.
Kitty’s dream space is very moving. She wisely decides not to share it with group, but she secretly wished she and Peter could have gotten married, and fought crime together. Each character’s imagination is given a double page splash by a different artist from the series. They each handle their page well, capturing the essence of each characters dialogue. I wasn’t a huge fan of Laufente’s style when he was a regular on the book, but his two pages illustrate Kitty’s emotions, and really invokes a feeling of loss.
I don’t really have any negatives. It was an epilogue to the previous 199 issues. I found MJ’s boyfriend to be a little insensitive (and slightly odd), but he could be the most likeable guy in the world and it would still feel strange. I don’t know how much of his characterisation was by design and how much was my interpretation. Does he have a habit of diving into traffic? Overall this didn’t impact my enjoyment.
Grade – A:You can probably tell from my review that I really liked this issue. It did what an anniversary or milestone should do. It celebrated the past in a logical and creative manner, while sowing the seeds for the next phase of Ultimate Spider-Man. It reminded us of Peter’s high points and left some teasers to get you excited to find out what Jonah is up to, whether Gwen has responded to Ganke’s advances and who is the watcher with the 90’s boy band hair cut?