Ultimate Spider-Man #160 review
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 review
by Hugo Bravo
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Mark Bagley
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Marvel has been touting that Death of Ultimate Spider-Man for months now, closing a chapter on one of the most consistently entertaining superhero comic book runs of the last few decades. At some points, no matter what the general consensus was with Bendis' work in Marvel, one could always say "At least Ultimate Spider-Man is top notch." Much more often than not, it was. The final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man continues that tradition of quality writing, gorgeous art by longtime Bendis collaborator Mark Bagley (so happy to see him drawing USM where he belongs), and a fitting end to teenager Peter Parker's life and career as a superhero. Yes, he really does die in this issue.
Even before his final battle, Peter Parker is already seriously injured, having taken a bullet from Frank Castle meant for Captain America. Norman Osborn, in full monster goblin mode, has discovered where Peter Parker lives, and in one frantic issue, Spider-Man, completely unmasked, goes blow-to-blow against a hyper-powered, almost delusional Green Goblin. Throughout the fight, he will say his final goodbyes to his friends, his true love, and even his Aunt May, as if he has already accepted his fate and is almost embracing it.
If this is the last time we hear about Ultimate Peter Parker, Bendis has certainly closed out his run on an issue that upholds and celebrates everything that we've grown to love about the still a teenager Peter Parker of the Ultimate line. With every line of dialogue, Bendis gives USM #160 the required emotion that makes a comic book death actually mean something, not just a cheap cop-out to sell more issues. You will also notice some tributes to the most famous comic book death of all, and even a slight nod to Action Comics #1, with Peter raising a car over his head. Peter's last words are especially poignant, telling us and Aunt May the basis of why he chose to be a hero and lay his life on the
line tonight. It's not as catchy as the famous "With great power comes great responsibility,", but man, does it ever close the book on Spider-Man in an epic fashion. Ditto for the last panel of the issue, eerily confirming the fate of Peter Parker.
I'm happy to say that the death of the Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the better-handled deaths in comic books in quite some time. It seems that Marvel has learned lessons and how to handle major deaths like this (and Johnny Storm's a few months back), and provide a satisfying conclusion to the Death of Spider-Man storyline. It provides emotion and (hopefully) proof that unlike most superhero swan songs, he won't be back in a few weeks, with robot appendages or any of that nonsense. Best of all, he goes down as Spider-Man should, fighting his greatest enemy, protecting his loved ones, and quipping a few jokes along the way.