Comic Book Review: Ultimate Spider-Man #104

Bendis has really impressed The Revolution with his Clone Saga story arc. The Clone Saga has been an absolute blast to read. Bendis somehow manages to outdo himself each and every issue. There is no doubt in my mind that Ultimate Spider-Man #104 is going to be yet another excellent read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Reed and Dr. Storm frantically trying to cobble together Dr. Storm’s notes on the Oz serum in order to treat Mary Jane. MJ wakes up and transforms back into a red hairy monster. Monster MJ attacks the Fantastic Four.

We cut to Sue Storm and Richard Parker on the roof of the hospital. Sue tells Richard that he isn’t really Peter’s father, Richard Parker. That he is just an aged Peter Parker clone implanted with Richard’s memories. The older Peter clone can’t believe it and starts crying.

We shift to Henry Gyrich and his FBI agents arriving outside the building where Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man are brawling. Nick Fury confronts Gyrich about going behind Fury’s back and trying to build an army of super soldiers.

We cut to Doctor Octopus fighting with Peter Parker and Jessica. Peter and Jessica are struggling against a very powerful Doctor Octopus.

We shift back to the Baxter Building where Reed releases the Peter Clone who was in the Scorpion outfit. The sight of Peter’s face is enough to calm MJ and cause her to transform back into her human form. MJ then passes out again.

We cut back to Doctor Octopus battling Peter and Jessica. Doctor Octopus has the upper hand and is really beating up on the two of them. Suddenly, Peter and Jessica get a second wind and they work as a team and attack Doctor Octopus at the same time and defeat Doctor Octopus.

Peter then tells Jessica that he is going to go surrender to Nick Fury. Jessica tries to talk Peter out of surrendering to Nick. Peter disagrees saying that he has to face this. If he runs they will only chase him. That MJ and Aunt May’s health is more important to Peter than anything else. Jessica disagrees and slips off into the night.

Peter then comes out of the building and turns himself into Nick Fury’s custody. Peter then snaps on Gyrich for his insane plan of cloning Peter in order to create an army of super soldiers. Human Torch then arrives on the scene and tells Peter that they need him back at the Baxter Building. Human Torch then takes off with Peter. Nick Fury then radios a S.H.I.E.L.D. team to head over to the Baxter Building.

We shift to Sue Storm and older Peter clone still on the roof of the hospital. The older Peter clone is rapidly aging and is dying. The older Peter clone asks Sue if she will be a friend for Peter. That Peter is an orphan and he doesn’t think to rely on other people for help. The older Peter clones asks Sue if she will be a friend if he needs it. Sue says that she will be there for Peter. The older Peter clone thanks Sue. The older Peter clone then dies. Sue sits next to his body and cries.

We hop back over to the Baxter Building. Human Torch arrives with Peter. Reed tells them that he and Dr. Storm have isolated the Oz compound and are finishing the treatment. MJ wakes up and sees Peter. She is back to normal. MJ asks what has happened. MJ says that she blacked out and doesn’t remember anything. Peter then fills MJ in on what has happened during this story arc.

MJ and Peter then hug each other. Peter apologizes to MJ for everything. Peter says that he loves MJ and that she was right and he was wrong. Peter said that he almost lost MJ. Reed then tells Peter that MJ will be all right. That they created a counter agent. An antidote to the Oz formula.

Reed then tells Peter that the Oz serum is how he got his spider powers. Reed says that it will take some work to isolate how the spider-bit affected the Oz formula transfer into your blood system, but he can cure Peter, too. That Peter no longer has to be Spider-Man. End of issue.

The Good: Bendis delivers yet another fantastic read with Ultimate Spider-Man #104. Bendis has done an incredible job weaving this Clone Saga story arc together. Ultimate Spider-Man #104 was perfectly paced. Bendis created a nice flow to this issue by blending slower paced subtle scenes together with fast paced action packed scenes. It is quite remarkable how flexible Bendis is with his writing talent. Bendis is equally adept at writing humorous scenes as he is writing action scenes or serious dramatic scenes. Bendis is able to produce emotional scenes that grab the reader’s heart and make us feel the various emotions of the different characters.

As always, Bendis supplies this issue with his trademark dialogue. Bendis is undoubtedly a master of dialogue. Bendis writes one of the best Peter Parkers that you will ever read. The excellent dialogue between the various characters allows Bendis to create great chemistry between each character.

The brawl between Doctor Octopus and Peter and Jessica was entertaining and well done. Bendis lets Doctor Octopus flex his newfound powers in order to impress upon the reader how much more powerful he is now. While Peter was able to take down Doctor Octopus the first time all by himself, it takes the combined powers of Peter and Jessica to take down this new and improved Doctor Octopus. I dig that Bendis was able to take a 616 villain in Doctor Octopus who I have always found to be rather goofy and transform him into a powerful and extremely threatening villain.

The scenes between the older Peter clone who thinks he is Richard Parker and Sue Storm were perfect. These were very touching scenes. The older Peter clone talking about Peter being an orphan and the need for a friend like Sue was pretty powerful. It was heart wrenching to watch the older Peter clone refusing to accept that he is a clone. And even after he comes to terms with that fact, the older Peter clone still cannot help but display his fatherly love toward Peter.

I like that Jessica chooses to go on the run after the battle while Peter decides to turn himself into Nick Fury and address this situation head on. This scene did a good job showing the differences between Peter and his female clone, Jessica. Peter is worn out. Peter is over it all. There is little to no fight left in Peter. Peter is sick and tired of everything that has been going on in his life ever since he became Spider-Man. And Peter’s anger and frustration with this entire clone situation boils over as he rips into Gyrich.

This plays beautifully into the final scene where MJ is cured and she and Peter hug each other. Peter professes his love for MJ and realizes how he has been so totally wrong about everything. All that Peter cares about his MJ and Aunt May. He loves both women and they are all that matters to him.

Then Bendis drops a huge bomb on the reader on the final page of this issue. That Reed can cure Peter. That he no longer has to be Spider-Man anymore. Bendis has done such a great job laying the foundation for this moment during the course of his entire run on Ultimate Spider-Man. We know how frustrated, tired and upset Peter has been since he became Spider-Man. How his life has been turned upside down more than any other super hero that you could imagine. I’m excited to see how Bendis handles Peter’s answer to Reed’s proposal.

And this is what makes Ultimate Spider-Man so much fun to read. Just when you thought things had finally calmed down. Doctor Octopus had been defeated and MJ had been cured. The reader finally things he can catch his breath. Then Bendis cranks the intensity up one more time with a great hook ending.

The Bad: No complaints at all.

Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #104 was another brilliant read. Bendis has done a masterful job with this Clone Saga story arc. If you haven’t given Ultimate Spider-Man a try then you really should. This is definitely one of Marvel’s most entertaining titles and is certainly my favorite Spider-Man title.