Comic book review: Ultimate Spider-Man #160 and The Death of Spider-Man

RIP Peter Parker

So I finally did it. I finally got around to reading the build-up in Ultimate Spider-Man & Ulitimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates and the death of the Ultimate Marvel universe’s Peter Parker.

I’ve been following Brian Bendis’ Spider-Man reboot since its first issue. Retunring Spider-Man to his high school roots, removed the forty years of baggage the adult Amazing Spider-man had collected. Bendis was afforded the time to retell classic Spider-Man stories with careful, nay skillfull pacing- as one should expect from a master story-teller.

Peter Parker’s final story is set against the backdrop of a power struggle to control S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony Stark’s brother, Gregory, in a display of what must be the ultimate (excuss the pun) display of sibling rivally, seeks to take control of the Ulimates, and thus control his brother, Iron-Man.  By Pitting Nick Fury’s Ultimate Avengers against, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Carol Danvers’ New Ulitmates, a chain of events unfolds that sees the two super-group engaged in a street-battle and the escape  from custody of  Norman Obsorne, the Green Goblin. Caught in the middle of all this is Peter Parker, Spider-Man.

Whilst the build-up is typical super-hero faire, as the Ulimate universes greatest heroes battle in out, Spider-Man’s mortal wounding is a relatively low key. I’m not going to go into any more detail, except to say, it was done properly and without the cheese you’d expect from such an event.

Peter Parker died.

It is a credit to the creators of the Ulitmate Marvel universe that the series is allowed to be more grounded that the mainstream Marvel universe. In reading the aftermath of Spider-Man’s death in Avengers Vs. New Ultimates and Ulimate Fallout #1, the storytelling tells a very human tale. What I mean is that despite their extraordinary albilites, Peter Parker friend and allies behave exactly as we would after the passing of a friend.

In the  funeral scene, at the back of Ulimate Fallout #1, Aunt May is driven with Tony Stark to the church only to find a massive crowd outside wanting to pay their respects. I’ll admit to getting a little choked up when a little girl with a scared face tells Aunt May that Spider-Man saved her from a fire when she was a baby.

Peter Parker’s death was, by comic book standards, rather unremarkable. The aftermath, I feel, will be much more poignant. I’ll be interested to see how the characters of the Ultimate Marvel universe cope with the death of the kid super-hero from Queens.