The hits literally and figuratively keep coming in this issue. Peter and Miles square off against Norman in what may be their final battle. With Aunt May, Gwen, MJ, and Maria Hill in attendance, will any of them get out of there alive?
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor
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: Miles and Peter continue their confrontation with Norman on MJ’s front lawn. Norman rambles on about conspiracies, immortality, and Miles’ family history until Norman declares he is Miles’ father. The Spider-Men jump back into action, with Maria Hill continuing to fire rounds. Norman continues to light the area on fire, including getting Maria a bit, as Miles continues to zap the Goblin with his venom blast. The Goblin eventually reverts back to Norman and is shot several times and set on fire by Maria. The Spider-Men take MJ, Gwen, and Aunt May to a safe location where Peter turns the mantle (and web shooters) of Spider-Man over to Miles. Katie’s parents hail Hydra, Pete and MJ drive off into the sunrise, and Miles’ dad FINALLY shows up to talk to his son.
Thoughts: Guess what? I LOVED this issue, too! (Shocking, I know, given my review track record for this title) Everyone is once again firing on all cylinders with this effort and it shows. Norman Osborn really is the king of all crazies as he demonstrates this issue. I don’t doubt that Norman has done his research on Miles and his family, but he casts any information into doubt with his continued assertions that he is Miles’ father since he created Spider-Man. Everything with Norman is destroy this, burn you that, and he is beginning to sound like his verbal playlist is stuck on repeat.
Marquez draws the hell out of the battle. There is so much energy in the fight, his compositions aided by the use of speed lines throughout. The only thing I would like to see changed would be the size of the eyes on Peter’s mask, in an effort to make them more consistent with how Bagley depicted them. However, this is personal preference on my part, and I think his Peter looks great regardless.
Unsung hero Justin Ponsor brings everything to life with his colors, be it all the fire and the different shades of light and smoke it gives off during the fight, Katie’s room in Brooklyn, to the sunrise as Pete and MJ head off to parts unknown. Speaking of unsung, a shout out is warranted to Cory Petit also. Cory does a great job with the subtle lettering, from normal dialogue, Norman’s screams, and all the grunts and sound effects. Great job as always!
The fight with the Goblin is fast paced and unrelenting. The trio of Miles, Peter, and Maria keep hitting the Goblin with all they’ve got and Miles and Maria worked well tag teaming the Goblin with venom blasts and bullets as he alternated back and forth between forms. Peter throwing a web shooter to Miles so they could deliver a one-two was excellent team work as well. Even though he continued to call Miles “kid”, Peter was clearly impressed with the junior Spidey’s skills. As with last issue, Miles’ confidence is in full bloom, making it much easier for Peter to let him continue to wear the webs.
One of the most suspenseful moments for me was when the Goblin gets knocked down and sees that May, MJ, and Gwen are watching from inside the home. As the camera zooms to a close up, I feared the worst. This is the Ultimate Universe after all, and we just saw 616 mainstay J. Jonah Jameson die last issue. In one of my favorite moments of the series, Peter and Miles deliver the aforementioned dual punch, finally wearing Norman out as he turns human and collapses.
Maria checks Norman’s pulse as he again stares with open eyes, just like when Jonah shot him to “death”. She methodically fires three more bullets into him, then calmly sets him on fire. Seems fair considering how much he kept ranting about watching everything burn. Whether or not this is it for him (again) remains to be seen. For all we know, he’ll emerge from the morgue as a crispy critter at the end of next issue or maybe Miles’ venom blast does something to negate the healing factor Norman seems to possess. Since the blasts disrupt Norman enough to get him to revert to human, it’s not a stretch to assume they put his immortality on the fritz as well. Time will tell.
As the gang takes a breath with the danger now over, Peter decides to give his blessing (and second web-shooter) to Miles, with no take backs this time. Much to Aunt May’s objection at Peter leaving so soon, he wants some time to figure out what’s happened to him, what he actually is, and where he would fit in and I don’t blame him. I certainly don’t begrudge him a break what with all he’s endured throughout this series. He did say he’d be back one day (just as long as it’s not One More Day). I love the happy expression on Miles’ face as he and Peter shake and the shot of Spidey swinging off with the infamous bridge behind him is pure gold.
We finally get back to Katie’s subplot. When last we really spent any time with her it was in issue 4, where she told her sister that Miles revealed he was Spider-Man to her. Her sister said they would kill him, and as we find out, she didn’t mean that in a parental “my daughter won’t date a super-hero” way, she meant in a “we’re totally evil and my daughter won’t date a super-hero” way. Turns out the Bishops are a Hydra family, who issue a “Hail Hydra” with their night time well wishes. They probably won’t appreciate the fact that not only is Miles Spidey, but his dad had a run in with Hydra when they tried to take over the United States a while back. Whoops. Coincidence that Katie’s family is aligned with Hydra and she seemingly has a poster of Snakes On A Plane on her wall? What would Nick Fury say?
Elsewhere we find MJ and Peter getting ready to hit the road. MJ’s question, “But they bought it?”, raised some suspicion with me. I’m probably reading too much into it, but when we’ve had 7 issues of wondering if this is indeed the real Ultimate Peter Parker, you can’t blame me for being paranoid. If this is a temporary happy ending for them as they drive off into their new beginning, I wish them well. MJ states they’re off to the last place anyone would look for them and my mind immediately thought of Oregon, remembering 616’s Pete and MJ deciding to settle there and raise a family back during the 90’s Clone Saga.
Back at the Brooklyn Visions Academy, Miles is found hilariously sleeping like a baby and drooling in bed. Ganke insists that he wakes up and a shocked Miles finds himself finally face to face with his father, who’s been absent these 7 issues! Next issue teases us that all the cards are on all the tables, but we’ll see. Will Jefferson be revealed to be an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. all along? Regardless of where he’s been, I hope he and Miles patch things up, especially if the end is near, like Marvel has been teasing.
These last few issues have been really hitting the mark and I hope that continues next month as we start to get some other plots wrapped up. We still have the Fly Twins out there as well. Hopefully, Bendis will check in with Pete and MJ, too, as Miles’ story moves forward. I love how the two Spider-Men’s casts have mixed and I’d love to see some more with Ganke and Gwen. Plus, we’ve yet to see how Miles will get mixed up in Spider-Verse. I’m not sure if Bendis will mention that in the issues to come. I’d like to see Miles mention to 616 Peter that his Ultimate counterpart has been resurrected; it’d make for a good scene. Wherever we go next, this book has proven to be one of the best Spider books on the market, and certainly my favorite, even beating out Spider-Man 2099 in my opinion!
My Grade: A+