Time for some answers! Will Miles only find more questions??? Here’s a big one-can anyone with Oz die?
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor with Jason Keith
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: David Marquez with Justin Ponsor
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
The Story: Having shot Norman Osborn, Jonah makes a frantic call to Ben Urich, only to have Osborn revive, turn into the Goblin, and kill him. At MJ’s house, Miles and Maria are trying to get the truth from Peter about what the deal is with him. Peter believes himself to be the real McCoy and Aunt May and Gwen show up, but their reunion is cut short by the Goblin. A more confident Miles takes a stand and brings the Goblin down, but as he does so, Norman hits him with a startling question!
Thoughts: Wow. I mean, just wow! There were a lot of really good moments in this issue, and while this story is still not at its conclusion, it was a very satisfying read this time out.
First, I love the cover! It has a great Spider-Man feel to it. I’m sure that if you’ve read my prior reviews it will come as no surprise that I love Marquez’s art on this series and he keeps it up with this issue and this cover. His faces emote well throughout, be it Jonah’s shock or Miles’ game face.
The issue opens strong with a distraught Jonah standing over a blank stared, bloodied, and seemingly dead Norman. Again, Marquez and his layouts crush it. His pacing on the scene of Norman standing up is pitch perfect. Like always, his compositions are very cinematic. Norman clearly seemed dead and it was no surprise that he killed Jonah in retaliation upon his resurrection. It’s a shame, too. Ultimate Jonah was a very fleshed out, very human character, whereas his 616 counterpart seems to be more of a caricature these days, who just loves to rant and hate at any opportunity. I loved that this Ultimate version came to an understanding about the Spider-Men and had integrity, whilst still retaining some of the editor-in-chief crustiness that we come to expect from characters like him and the Distinguished Competition’s Perry White. This Jonah will be missed.
Miles and Peter finally get a chance to talk without fighting each other or a Goblin and it’s a great scene. This Peter says he remembers everything from birth to death which makes me believe he is the real deal, compared to the 616 Ben Reilly who remembered everything up till the moment he was cloned. Could he have been cloned shortly after death? Sure. Peter did say he awoke in a strange lab in Atlanta. However, both he and Norman have their powers due to the Oz formula. Clearly it has some kind of regenerative ability, much like the 616 version if it brought Norman back this issue. Whether or not it took more time for Peter since he doesn’t have the exact version of Norman’s, or it was exacerbated by something in the lab he awoke in is an answer for another time. We don’t know how long Norman was out for after the conclusion of Peter’s series, but it’s possible it works quicker after each resurrection or based on how bad the damage was. Maybe Norman did some tinkering to himself off panel.
I can understand why Peter would keep his resurrection a secret. Looking back at the prior 206 issues, Aunt May has endured such heartache and tragedy thanks to the spider’s bite. The fact that she has managed to endure it and go on with living her life without letting it twist her outlook is a great testament to her character. It’s a very Peter Parker thing to do, keeping the secret from frail old Aunt May. However, this May has enough gumption in her and I loved that she was forgiving in the moment, yet still joking that he is due for a major guilt trip from her later. Knowing Peter, I don’t think she has to impose one, he’ll do just fine self inflicting it on himself.
The touching reunion is cut short by the Goblin’s return. His appearance seems to be more, er, hornier, this time. If you go back and look at previous issues, or even the two page flashback spread, the Goblin’s horns seem to be elongating over time, resulting in this more malevolent look. It’s definitely gonna make doorways more of a challenge for him! I wonder if this means his strength is increasing as well.
Miles has a great Superman shirt rip in this scene. Compare it to their last meeting, where all he can think of is how Norman killed Peter and Peter was more experienced. There is a fierce determination and confidence he now has, throwing the “R” word at Peter so he’ll take care of his family whilst Miles handles the fight. I got a kick out of him using Peter’s trigger word.
Miles goes into full on banter mode with the Goblin, who keeps ranting on about the Spider-Men needing to honor him, their “father”. Maybe he watched the 10 Commandments recently. Norman is like a demented king, demanding his subjects’ loyalty. Maybe Miles is trying to impress his hero and inspiration here, because he is relentless with the distracting quippage and he lays venom blast after venom blast on the Goblin. It was a nice touch to see how every blast slowly reverted the Goblin back to Norman. It may have been my favorite part of the issue when Mary Jane told Peter that Miles was the real deal.
The danger seems to quickly have passed, but Norman drops the great last page bombshell-that without Norman, Miles will never know the truth about who he is, where his powers come from, and who his father really is. On first read through, I assumed he was referring to Miles’ missing father. After all, we’ve yet to see him since Cataclysm after Miles revealed his dual identity, yet the fact that he’s gone keeps getting brought up on the “Previously…” page with no real progression on that storyline. However, on my second go around, I started to consider another possibility. Several times in this arc, Norman has referred to himself as their father. Could his deluded mind be referring to himself? Guess we’ll find out soon!
After two good issues that seemed over far too quickly and didn’t deliver on the promise from the solicits, this issue had me hooked from start to finish and on the edge of my seat. Where it’s going next I have no idea, all I know is I am on board for the ride. It seems like anything could happen and it’s impossible to guess. Is this the real Peter back from the dead? Will there be two Ultimate Spider-Men? Will one not survive Spider-Verse? Will the Ultimate Universe even be around after Marvel’s upcoming mystery event? If it really is Peter resurrected, I’m happy to see him back, but I don’t want it to be at the detriment of Miles, who has really come into his own and has become a favorite of my family. One thing the Ultimate series has shown is that no one is safe or sacred. The creative team was firing on all cylinders this month and I can’t wait for next month!
My Grade: A+
Javi’s Huh?: Not that I fault Maria Hill as Norman Osborn is one of the world’s most dangerous men, but typically you give the suspect a second to surrender BEFORE opening fire!
Also, apparently whilst the Oz formula may add horns, it seems to have also granted Norman the anatomy of a Ken doll when he is in Goblin mode! To my recollection, this is the first time they went full frontal on him, as opposed to them usually opting for a billowing robe or shadows for concealment.