Ultimate Spider-Man is always a favorite here at the Revolution. This title has been one of the most dependable titles on the market since its first issue. However, Ultimate Spider-Man has been in a little bit of a slump for several months. Is this title going to rebound and deliver an exciting issue in Ultimate Spider-Man #98? I hope so. Let’s hit the review.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: John Dell & Drew Hennessy
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue starts with Spider-Man taking the unconscious clone to the Baxter Building. Spider-Man tells Reed that he desperately needs his help. Spider-Man asks Reed if he can keep it a secret from everyone including Nick Fury. Reed responds that he can keep it a secret especially when it concerns Nick Fury.
Reed runs some tests on the clone and says that the clone’s DNA is a 94% match with Peter Parker’s DNA. Plus, that the scorpion tail is grafted to the clone’s spinal column. Reed says the 94% match is odd since usually a DNA match is 100% or there is no match at all. Spider-Man pulls off his mask and reveals that he is Peter Parker.
We cut to the Triskellion where Reed contacts Nick Fury. Reed asks Nick if S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing any cloning tests. Nick says that S.H.I.E.L.D. is following the government’s ban on any cloning tests. Nick adds that Reed should do the same. Reed thanks Nick for his help. (This scene has some nice humorous dialogue.)
Reed then takes a blood sample from Peter. Peter tells the Fantastic Four that he is completely freaking out right now. Peter then realizes that he has to be at home to meet Aunt May. Peter bolts out of the Baxter Building and heads home.
We shift to Peter’s house. Aunt May tells Peter that MJ has gone missing. Peter immediately runs out to go look for MJ. Peter searches the warehouse which was their old sneak-away place. There Peter sees Ultimate Spider-Woman? She is wearing a Carnage style costume. Peter asks Spider-Woman where MJ is. Spider-Woman says that she is not Mary Jane. Peter thinks that Spider-Woman has something to do with MJ’s disappearance and lunges at her. A mini-brawl ensues. Spider-Woman easily takes out Peter (Man, he gets punked out in his own comic!) and then says that she should not have come to the warehouse. That she just had to see if this was for real. She then says that “I’ll get them back for you, Peter. I’ll do it for all of us. We didn’t deserve this.” Spider-Woman then leaves.
Peter Parker wakes up and then decides to go check out his old house. We zip forward and see Peter outside his old house. The front door is open. Peter yells out for MJ and runs into the house. There he sees…GWEN STACY!!!!! Oh mah gawd!!!
We then cut to Mary Jane waking up in a glass case. A shadowy figure appears and tells her to calm down. MJ looks at the shadowy figure and says “Peter?” MJ asks to be let out. “Peter” then tells MJ that everything is ok. That he is going to make sure that no one hurts her ever again. MJ then screams to be let out. We then get a one page splash shot of where MJ is being held captive. It is the old abandoned Oscorp laboratory!
The Good: Hot damn! Bendis delivered an absolute gem with Ultimate Spider-Man #98! What a jaw dropping issue! Just fantastic.
The scene with Spider-Man at the Baxter building was well done. Bendis mixes drama, tension and plenty of humor. You can feel for Peter as he slips into panic mode with the fact that the Scorpion is a clone of him. The dialogue between Nick Fury and Reed was hilarious. As was the dialogue between Peter and Reed with regard to how he got his powers. The fact that the clone is only a 94% match with Peter is interesting. I’m curious to see where Bendis goes with this.
The scene with Peter’s encounter with Spider-Woman in the warehouse was also great. I don’t like derivative heroes, but it appears that Bendis has a pivotal role and purpose in mind for this Spider-Woman rather than just creating a female version of an existing male hero. This Spider-Woman is going to be an important plot device and I am very fascinated to learn more about her character. Bendis teases us with her cryptic statements right before she takes off. A great scene and a nice bomb to throw onto the reader. Normally, the revelation of a clone and the introduction of a mysterious Spider-Woman would be enough for one issue. However, Bendis wasn’t done.
Nope. Bendis then unloads a massive bomb that overshadows the clone and Spider-Woman. The return of Gwen Stacy! I totally didn’t see this coming and I am absolutely thrilled to see her alive. I thought her death was one of the worst deaths in comics. Just terribly handled. However, it looks like Bendis had something in store for her character.
But, was Bendis done even with that bomb? No. Bendis continued to crank up the surprises by revealing that MJ is being held by what appears to be ANOTHER clone of Peter and is being held at the old Oscorp laboratory! Wow!
Bendis cranked out an issue with more swerves, twists and bombs than any issue I have read in a very long time. Ultimate Spider-Man #98 was an insanely exciting issue! There are so many juicy and intriguing plotlines that Bendis has thrown out there to the reader. Could we be seeing a mad plan by Osborne finally coming to fruition with all these different clones? It also appears that we have something involving Carnage with the appearance of a Spider-Woman with a Carnage style outfit and the return of Gwen Stacy who was killed by Carnage. I cannot wait to see where Bendis is headed with all these various plotlines.
Bendis delivered his vintage dialogue. Bendis is capable of writing some of the funniest and most entertaining dialogue to read. There was plenty of entertaining dialogue from start to finish in this issue. The scene where Reed makes water out of his urine ala Waterworld and tries to get Johnny to drink it was hilarious!
Bendis was born to write Ultimate Spider-Man. He has such an incredible feel for Peter’s character. Bendis’ Peter Parker is by far one of my favorites. Ultimate Spider-Man is the type of title that really suits Bendis’ strengths as a writer. I wish Bendis would focus his writing talents on solo monthly titles rather than a team title like New Avengers. I have never been impressed with Bendis on the New Avengers. It is nowhere near as entertaining as his work on Ultimate Spider-Man or as intense and captivating as his run on Daredevil.
The Bad: I have absolutely no complaints with the story at all. Fantastic stuff. The artwork? Well, I’m just not a fan of Bagley’s art. It simply doesn’t appeal to me.
Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #98 was simply stunning. This was a jaw-dropping issue chock full of surprises. Bendis has returned Ultimate Spider-Man back to its former glory and this is once again a must read title. Bendis knows how to make an entertaining storyline and he is hitting on all cylinders with this issue. Bendis certainly hooked me and I cannot wait for the next issue.