Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1 Review

Ultimate Spider-Man has always been one of the best titles on the market. Bendis made this title one of the most consistently well written series since the first issue. And it was for that reason that it was sad to see Ultimate Spider-Man end with such a dud of an ending due to having to tie into Loeb’s Ultimatum.

Thankfully, even though Ultimate Spider-Man has “ended” we still have these Requiem issues to look forward to. Hopefully, Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1 can give this series the ending it deserves before starting Volume 2.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley & Stuart Immonen
Inkers: Scott Hanna & Wade von Grawbadger
Colorists: Pete Pantazis, Justin Ponsor & Edgar Delgado

Story: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin on the day after the Ultimatum wave hit New York City. J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie Roberson, and Ben Urich are flying on the company helicopter and headed back to the destroyed Daily Bugle.

They finally arrive at the roof of the destroyed Daily Bugle building. We then see the disaster caused by the Ultimatum wave to the whole city.

Jonah, Robbie, and Ben enter the Daily Bugle to see that the newsroom is still intact though all the phones are dead. Jameson goes to another room that has been destroyed and heads to a nearby windows.

Jonah flashes back to when he saw Spider-Man trying to save as many lives he could from the wave. Jonah then sees some of the headlines that are framed on the wall with one of them reading “Spider-Man Menace.”

Ben comes into the room and asks Jonah if he is going to see his family. Jonah states his family died in the disaster. Jonah then starts talking about how he should have run the Daily Bugle much better. Jonah says that the Bugle probably only had one year left before becoming bankrupt because of the new media that is taking over. (That’s right and we are here to stay.)

Robbie walks in and says that the website is still up and that he plans on writing up stories about what happened. Robbie than suggest Jonah write about Spider-Man’s heroic actions during the disaster. Ben hands Jonah a flashdrive with a bunch of Spider-Man stories that Jonah rejected. Ben hopes that it will give Jonah some ideas to write in his story.

Jonah heads to his office and starts to look through the stories in Ben’s flashdrive. Jonah comes across a story about Spider-Man and Tony Stark. Jonah starts reading it.

We then flashback to a month ago with MJ at Stark International. MJ is about to interview Tony Stark for her journalism club. MJ thanks Tony for his time. Tony tells MJ that he only has 15 minutes for this interview.

MJ starts the interview by asking him why he decided to go public with his identity. Tony answers by saying that he wants to show all those evil people out in the world that he is not scared. Tony states that they live in a world ruled by fear and that he wants all of that to stop. (Why can’t Bendis write 616 Tony like how he writes his Ultimate Universe counterpart?)

MJ then asks why Tony builds weapons in the first place. Tony responds that he builds them to help people. MJ asks if that is not “counter intuitive.”

Tony states that the whole world is divided by religion, class, race, money, and borders. That it is human nature for the world to be divided. That it has always been that way and will always be that way.

Tony says that he builds, wears, and is a weapon. Tony says that he protects all those that need to be defended, and he will stop anyone who terrorizes innocent people. (Seriously, why can’t Bendis write 616 Tony like he does in this issue?)

MJ ask Tony that if he toned down on making weapons that others would follow his example. Before Tony can answer that question HYDRA attacks Tony. Viper walks up to Tony that they are here to take Tony’s armor.

Over at the Daily Bugle, Ben tells Jonah that one of his insiders in Stark International has told him that the Tower is under attack. As soon as Peter hears this he rushes out to go save MJ and Tony.

Back at Stark International, Tony and Viper are going back and forth talking about how HYDRA tried to get his armor in a business manner but that he rejected HYDRA’s offer. That is why Hydra decided to steal the armor instead.

As Tony and Viper talk, Spider-Man bursts onto the scene and takes out some of the HYDRA members. Spider-Man takes MJ away from the building and leaves her somewhere safe. Spirder-Man heads back to save Tony.

We see Viper stating that her organization has many ways to make Tony agree to sell his armor. As Viper continues her rant, Spider-Man bursts in through the front door and continues to fight HYDRA. Tony uses this as a chance to get away. Viper starts getting angry with all of Spider-Man’s interference and shoots him in the back with a laser.

Before Viper can do anything more to Spider-Man, Tony flies in with his Iron Man armor on and tells Spider-Man to get on the ceiling. Spider-Man jumps up to the ceiling and Iron Man fires his uni-beam and takes out all of the HYDRA members in the room. Iron Man then takes out HYDRA’s helicopter. Iron Man then has all of his sentry suits of armor take care of the rest of the HYDRA members in the building while. Ben Urich watches the entire event.

Tony thanks Spider-Man. Tony tells Spider-Man that if he ever needs anything then to just ask for it. Spider-Man says he could use some college tuition. Tony thinks Spider-Man is just joking and thanks him again.

The scene shifts back to the present were Jonah finishes reading the story and focuses on the last line on the story that is a comment from Tony stating “Spider-Man defines that word ‘Hero’ in every way.”

Ben then walks in telling Jonah that CNN is reporting that Spider-Man is dead. Ben says that Jonah is now writing Spider-Man’s obituary. End of issue.

Commentary
The Good: Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1 was just a phenomenal read. When long time fans of Ultimate Spider-Man talk about how good this series has been this is the type of issue that we talk about. This was just a fun issue that shows that an Ultimate Spider-Man title still has a lot of fun stories to tell.

One of the main weaknesses of Ultimate Universe over the past few years has been that many of the characters in the Ultimate Universe have become too similar to their 616 counterpart. For that reason many people have been asking what is the need for the Ultimate Universe as it has become a bit redundant over the years.

However, Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man has always shown that there is plenty of life in the Ultimate Universe. Bendis has shown that there are ways to make the characters we know from the 616 Marvel Universe into interesting characters for the Ultimate Universe. Bendis has demonstrated the ability to change some of the aspects of those characters while still maintaining their key traits that have made them popular.

One of those characters that Bendis has changed is J. Jonah Jameson. While Ultimate Jonah is still the angry editor of the Daily Bugle; this version of Jonah has actually become much calmer and understanding over the 133 issues of Ulitmate Spider-Man.

Ultimate Jonah has even been willing to give fatherly advice to Peter in the past. This issue takes all those things full circle as we see Jonah finally admit out loud to Robbie and Ben that he believes Spider-Man is a hero. It was a great moment when Jonah finally says it and shows the difference between the 616 and Ultimate Universe counterparts.

And even though I have hated Ultimatum; I thought that setting the events of this issue the day after the Ultimatum disaster was a good move by Bendis. It helps give Jonah’s realization of Spider-Man being a true hero even more weight as he reflects on everything that has happened.

I actually felt sad for Jonah as he lost his family in the Ultimatum disaster and admits that the Daily Bugle would have gone out of business within a year. Bendis does a good job setting up Ultimate Spider-Man volume 2 by having Jonah make these two admissions. THe reluanch of Ultimate Spider-Man will not only be about Peter Parker, or whoever is Spider-Man, but also investigate one of the sub-plots of Jonah rebuilding the Daily Bugle. And seeing how depressed Jonah was in this issue makes that rebuilding process that much more interesting.

Bendis did a good job showing that Robbie and Ben are not just employees to Jonah, but that the three of them are actually friends. It was great to see how both Robbie and Ben tried their best to cheer up Jonah and told him to write his story about Spider-Man. It helps to give the moment when Ben walks in to give Jonah the bad news that Spider-Man is dead much more impact.

I also liked the flashback to one of Spider-Man’s “lost adventures” were he helps out Tony against HYDRA. The helps to show that there are still plenty of stories that Bendis has up his sleeves. The story was just a lot of fun and it felt like one of the stories from early on in this series.

All of Spider-Man’s lines during his fight with HYDRA were great and I even found a couple of his lines to be funny. I especially like his line about needing tuition for college as I know how Peter feels. Tuition is a bitch to pay.

The best thing about the HYDRA story is that it shows that Bendis actually knows how to write Tony Stark. It may be hard to see that since Bendis has done his best to make Tony look like a villain in the 616 universe. But, the fact remains that Bendis did a great job with handling Tony’s character in this issue.

I like all of the answers that Tony gave to MJ’s questions. The asnwers showed how confident and fearless Tony is as a character. Everything that Tony said is what I would like to see his 616 counterpart act like.

Also, while HYDRA did have the ‘villain of the week’ feel to them, their introduction into the Ultimate Universe was well done. Hopefully, we see them somewhere in one of the Ultimate Comic books again.

The art for Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1 was great. The balance between Immonen and Bagley’s artwork was well handled. Immonen did a great job showing how horrible the disaster was in his spread of New York City at the beginning of the issue.

The real star of this issue was Bagley. It may be the nostalgia of seeing Bagley’s artwork again on Ultimate Spider-Man, but I really loved all of the artwork in this issue. I forgot how much I missed Bagley’s artwork on Ultimate Spider-Man. Sure there are sometimes inconsistencies in his artwork, but when it comes to drawing great action scenes Bagley is one of the best.

The Bad: Even though there was plenty to like about this issue there is still the nagging question of the final fate of Peter Parker. Even though this issue is suppose to answer this question it did not give us any information that we did not already know. We already knew that Peter was missing because of what happened in Ultimatum #4 and Ultimate Spider-Man #133. Even though there will be a second issue it is somewhat frustrating that Bendis is dragging the question out.

Also, because of what has happened in Ultimatum and how the last issue of Ultimate Spider-Man was a silent issue I would have liked to see how all of Peter’s supporting cast are handling his disappearance. It is just hard to believe that Peter is actually gone as his disappearance has not really been addressed other than the finding of his mask on the ground. And as a reader you want to know what has happened to the main character. It is frustrating that we do not get that answer or much of a reaction from his supporting cast.

Overall: While Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1 did not answer the question of what happened to Peter Parker this was still a very enjoyable issue. It was a blast to read the flashback story as it was not hampered down by having to tie into Ultimatum. The flashback story was just a fun Spider-Man adventure involving Tony Stark.

This issue shows that while the rest of the Ultimate Universe has become a bit redundant there is still plenty of life in Ultimate Spider-Man. Still, I hope the second issue of USM Requiem will give us an actual ending as it would not feel right to let this series end without knowing the fate of our hero.
________________________________________________________________________
Kevin

2 Comments

  1. This may be a truly ignorant question, but why does Tony's armor look like the 616 version and not the Ultimate version?

    Also, in a completely unrelated note, are you guys ever going to post a review of Captain American #600?

  2. "Spider-Man defines that word 'Hero' in every way." I love that! Thanks for the review Kevin.

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