Megan’s Madness: Ultimate’s Squared Review
April 20, 2011 in News
For fans interested in getting the full “Death of Spider-Man” reading experience, I highly recommend picking up both of these issues. This simultaneous review will contain slight spoilers (with warning!).
The much touted death of Spider-Man has finally arrived in the Ultimate Marvel U, and in a truly grand fashion, this monumental occasion can be seen from the perspective of both the executioner (as seen in Avengers Vs. New Ultimates) and the executed’s viewpoint (Ultimate Spider-Man). I recommend reading Ultimate Spider-Man first. This may sound like overkill (pun definitely intended) and sure it’s a bit sensational, but it’s also the chance to experience the same story and have two completely different emotional reactions. Both will make you want to read more.
If you have not been regularly following both titles, or either in my case, each does a fantastic job of catching up new readers. Nearly all of Spider-Man’s foes, including Norman Osborn, have escaped from prison, and Peter fears that the Green Goblin will go after his friends and family. Meanwhile, the Ultimates are in a massive battle with the Ultimate Avengers, a black ops team created by Nick Fury. New director of S.H.I.E.L.D Carol Danvers sends her team of Ultimates to take Nick Fury into custody at all costs after he is accused of selling weapons to the enemy. Spider-Man has recently been training with Captain America who tells Peter to sit out this fight. Fate has other plans for Peter as he ends up in the thick of the battle and finds that he has little choice but to intervene. SPOILERS Peter Parker can’t ignore his sense of duty, and when he sees that Punisher has Captain America in his sights, the webslinger shows no hesitation before jumping in front of the bullet. It’s a tense final moment in Ultimate Spider-Man, but what is revealed in Ultimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates makes it a heartbreaking scene.
Reading these issues back to back shows how drastically different Mark Millar and Brian Bendis approach the Ultimate Marvel U. Bendis originally used the Ultimate universe to re-tell classic Spider-Man tales with a modern spin, but as the book has evolved it has still retained the wholesome feel of the original series. Bagley’s artwork is fittingly PG-13; there are two deaths in this one issue, and both are noticeably bloodless. Meanwhile Millar uses the Marvel characters as tools to present his own political views and the stories tend to be grittier than what you would see in regular Marvel Universe continuity. I occasionally found my interest waning while reading Ultimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates, as it felt more like C-span than superheroes, but once the action picks up it is riveting. Leinil Yu is in his element during the epic brawls, with every punch and crash resulting in crushed bones and bloody fists. Ultimate Spider-Man feels more cohesive as an issue, but ironically the Death of Spider-Man is more epically portrayed in Avengers Vs. New Ultimates. Like peanut butter and jelly, why settle for one when you can have both? Pick up these issues and sate your appetite for larger-than-life superheroics with two varied yet complimentary tastes.