Ultimate Spider-Man #133 Review

In the past decade there hasn’t been a more consistently well written title than Ultimate Spider-Man. Yes, this title has seen its ups and downs during it’s 9 year run. However, even at its worse, USM has still provided solid reads. Think what you will about Bendis’ current work in the 616 Universe, but Ultimate Spider-Man has been a great example why he is a great writer.

It is sad to think that Ultimate Spider-Man #133 is the last issue. Yes, I know there are the two Requiem issues after this one and a relaunch. But, this issue still feels like it is an end of an era. Alright, enough reminiscing. Time to review Ultimate Spider-Man #133.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Story: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This is a silent issue. We see the issue start with the huge magical explosion that happened at the end of the last issue. The explosion is so massive that half of Manhattan is engulfed by the light coming from the explosion.

As the explosion is dying down we see Spider-Woman heading towards the epicenter of the explosion. She arrives at Doctor Strange’s former residence. She sees the Hulk come out of the ruins.

The Hulk then sees Spider-Woman. Spider-Woman starts to run away. The Hulk causes a huge earthquake that knocks Spider-Woman down. Hulk does his thunder clap that sends Spider-Woman into one the destroyed buildings.

As Spider-Woman tries to recover; the Hulk finds her and punches her through another building. The Hulk than charges at her but she is able to blind Hulk with her webbing. The Hulk runs straight into a bus.

As the Hulk recovers, a bunch of army helicopters find him and launch missiles at him. The missiles send Hulk into a car. The Hulk then proceeds to throw the car at the helicopters. As Hulk surveys the destruction he just caused, another helicopter finds him. We then see the Hulk just stand there as Spider-Woman looks on from one of the ruined buildings.

The next thing we see is a jet fly off as Spider-Woman watches from the ground (most likely the X-Jet since we saw Hulk teaming up with the X-Men in Ultimatum #4).

Spider-Woman then takes off her mask and starts crying due to the events she just witnessed. Sadly, she does not have much time to reflect on what happened. Spider-Woman puts her mask back on and searches the ruins of Doctor Strange’s house for Peter.

Kitty appears on the scene as Spider-Woman is searching for Peter. As soon as Spider-Woman sees Kitty she takes off her mask and runs towards Kitty and gives her a hug.

Kitty phases through Spider-Woman and creeped out by the hug. Kitty than gives Spider-Woman the stink eye.

Before they can talk about the current situation they hear people screaming out for help. They decided to team up and head out to help all the people that need help.

As they save a bunch of people both Kitty and Spider-Woman see a lot of rescue helicopters finally arriving to save all the survivors. Before the rescue helicopters take all the survivors with them one of the survivors runs over to Spider-Woman and gives her a hug of gratitude.

The rescue helicopters take all of the survivors away. Kitty and Spider-Woman continue their search for Peter. As they look through all of the rubble and scream out Peter’s name another giant wave heads their way.

Both girls are able to use their powers to save themselves from getting killed by the wave. As the wave passes Kitty, she sees a bunch of dead people on the ground. Kitty then notices Peter’s Spider-Man mask on the ground. Both Kitty and Spider-Woman cry out for Peter but to no avail.

The next morning MJ, Gwen, and Kong finally make it to Aunt May’s house were they are greeted by both May and MJ’s mom. Kitty then arrives with Peter’s torn mask in hand. Kitty is crying. May then breaks down crying and Kitty hands Peter’s mask to MJ.

Everyone starts crying for the loss of Peter. MJ looks at the torn Spider-Man mask in her hand in disbelief. End of issue.

We then get an interview that writer Brian Michael Bendis did back in February were he reminisces about his run on this title.

Commentary
The Good: Ultimate Spider-Man #133 was an okay ending to Ultimate Spider-Man v1. This silent issue was completely driven by Immonen’s artwork as Bendis surprisingly did not write any dialogue for this issue.

While at the beginning I wasn’t a big fan of Immonen’s artwork; I have been coming around to it these past few months. Immomen did a great job carrying the whole issue with his artwork. He definitely packed this issue with a lot of emotion. Everyone in the issue, from Peter’s supporting characters to the survivors of the wave caused by Magneto, all looked like they were actually reacting to the events that just happened. All the characters reacted like actual human beings.

This issue brings up the biggest weakness to Ultimatum, next to all the killing off of superheroes: reaction to the horrific event that just happened. Throughout Ultimatum we have not had any of the heroes react to all the lives that have been lost. None of the heroes have set out to save any of the survivors.

But where Ultimatum has failed, Ultimate Spider-Man has succeed. Immonen does a great job showing us how catastrophic the event that just happened actually is. And I like that both Kitty and Spider-Woman actually acted like the superheroes they are in their effort to save all of the survivors of the giant wave.

I liked the awkwardness between Kitty and Spider-Woman, who is Peter’s clone. It was funny seeing Spider-Woman running towards Kitty to give her a hug and Kitty phasing through the hug and giving Peter’s female clone the stink eye. It was a funny scene that was needed to give this grim issue one light moment. However, I did find it odd that Immonen drew Jessica and Kitty very similar to one another.

Also, I found Bendis’ interview after the end of the issue to be a nice look back to Ultimate Spider-Man. It was a nice reminder that Bendis has written every issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, including its 3 annuals.

And in this era of comics, it is amazing that one writer has been able to stay on this title and that he did it with just two artist (Mark Bagley for almost 7 years and Immonen for another 3 years). Even though Bendis will still be on Ultimate Spider-Man when it relaunches as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man it is still an impressive feat that Bendis has been able to reach. And this is probably something that no other writer of this era will probably ever match. So kudos Brian Michael Bendis.

The Bad: While Immonen’s artwork was very strong in this issue; the lack of dialogue really hurt this issue. This silent issue felt like a cheap gimmick for the marketing people at Marvel to say that this is a “very special” issue. It makes me wonder if Bendis ran out of words to write down with all the dialogue he writes for New and Dark Avengers.

Even though we are still going to get the two Requiem issues next month, for people like me who have followed Ultimate Spider-Man since the first issue, this is not the way Ultimate Spider-Man should have ended. This ending leaves me scratching my head and thinking “That’s it!? This is the ending that we get?” It just leaves too much open and I wish it would have ended with an issue similar Ultimate Spider-Man #13 and #111.

Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #133 provided all the emotion that Ultimatum lacks even with what feels like a cheap gimmick. Still, this is not the ending that I was expecting. And this was not the ending that a title like Ultimate Spider-Man deserves. Hopefully, Ultimate Spider-Man: Requiem will provide us with a much better ending to volume 1 than this issue did.
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Kevin

2 Comments

  1. I feel like this ending to USM was really hurt by it having to be a tie in to Ultimatum. The fact that Peter just disappears without a body obviously means he'll be back (this is comics after all) but it also makes me think that Spider-man was one of those characters that Loeb wanted to kill but couldn't because of how successful USM is compared to every other aspect of the Ultimate Universe as of late. So this comes across to me as sort of a "deal". Loeb gets to have his shocking "death" scene in Ultimate but Bendis gets to bring him back later if he wants.

    Also, I'm ambivalent about this issue being completely silent. I think it works sometimes but not others. Still, I realize that it is a bold direction for him to go in considering Bendis' normal tendencies. I think perhaps a minimal dialogue would have been best. Towards the end in particular.

  2. I get that the whole "no dialogue" thing was not well met, but I disagree that it was just a gimmick. I think it served two purposes:

    1) It served as a kind of "seance" for Ultimate Spider-Man, since not only was the main character "dying" but the title was ending. It was like a moment of silence for the whole Ultimate Spidey Run.

    2) It effectively hides what's going to happen in the next volume. Bendis keeps hinting at big changes in his next volume, so he made surer that the ending of this was very ambigous and open-ended. Now we'll have to wait to learn exactly what happened…. (if anything, admittedly the second reason's weaker than my first)

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