Welcome to 52 in 52, a look at the vast world of Marvel Unlimited. I will be reading and sharing my thoughts each week regarding a different single arc or event from somewhere within the world of Marvel Unlimited, trying to find things I haven’t read that are relevant to the current comic or cinematic landscape, or completely irrelevant and just fun to read.
One year. 52 tales. One per week. Marvel Unlimited.
Let’s do this.
On the docket this week: Ultimate Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man *Warning, there be spoilers ahead*
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mark Bagley, Andy Lanning
Release Date: March – June, 2011
Good gracious, that was a good way to cap this pit stop in the Ultimate U in 52 In 52! In the first week of September I looked at some of the ‘greatest hits’ of Ultimate Spider-Man, the Peter years. I was impressed by Bendis’ writing, but Bagley’s style at the time didn’t turn my crank, for lack of a better term. This arc, though…holy s***.
Bagley is on fire in these issues. This is the best work I have ever seen from him, and I’m not sure if it is the combination of Bagley + Lanning, but this is daaaaamn good looking. These characters are expressive and the linework is sharp as a tack. The emotional moments hit like a hammer and Osborn…Osborn is such a visual powerhouse. His Hulk-like appearance is menacing and when you add in horns and fire, it’s like Spider-Man vs. a maniacal, jacked up Hellboy. It’s fabulous. This is a heavy story with a ton of action and iconic characters and Bagley brings the A-game for sure. Huge props to Bagley, Lanning and Ponsor because the visuals in this arc are amazing.
Bendis…did you know this guy can write? His words bring a ton of emotion to these pages and an iconic moment like the death of Spider-Man is given the justice it deserves. I’d read his work with Norman Osborn during the Miles run and I love his interpretation of the character. He’s the best version of this villain for me, as Bendis grasps the mania of the character and the power. This isn’t a pumpkin thrower on a glider. This guy is a beast and, more than anything else, I believed he actually could defeat Spider-Man. I’d happily have this Goblin replace the 616 version as I find him way more dynamic and fun than tired old “regular” Norman.
The best written characters are Peter, MJ, Aunt May and Gwen, and they really are the heart of this arc. These are strong characters and their bond is obviously strong. The emotion pouring out of these characters at the end of the arc just hurts, and that’s really the tell of how well Bendis writes them. The end of this story was devastating and I blame you, Brian Bendis. I blame you for being so damn good.
Next up: Something…not Ultimate!
Special thanks to John Ernenputsch for helping to curate this adventure.