The first issue of Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem was a fantastic start to a two part farewell to one of Marvel’s best titles before it re-launches as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Bendis has done a great job capturing the impact of Magneto’s actions from Ultimatum and how that has affected Spider-Man and his supporting cast.
Even though Ultimatum ended being a horribly executed event I am sure Bendis will give a proper send off to one of Marvel’s most consistent books before it is relaunched. Now let’s see what Bendis has in store for us with Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #2.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen
Inkers: Scott Hanna and Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Pete Pantazis and Justin Ponsor
Story: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with CNN and various other news stations running coverage on the wave that struck New York City. The news stations report that millions have died and that mutants are being blamed for the disaster. They also report that they have found a man in a Daredevil costume, who is later confirmed as being attorney Matt Murdock, and Doctor Strange among the casualties. The report ends with the question “What happens next?”
At the Daily Bugle J. Jonah Jameson continues writing the tribute/obituary to Spider-Man. He writes how New York has died today and how he feels loss and hopeless. He continues by saying that his wife is dead, his family and employees are all gone, and that his newspaper is on its final legs. But then he says that with all of this happening all he can think about is Spider-Man and the true hero he was.
Jonah writes about how he may have been the last one to see Spider-Man’s last act of heroism before his death. He then says that all he could do was watch in his own self-embarrassment and realize all the sins of his past along with his weakness as a man and corruption as a journalist.
As Jonah continues to write he admits that on numerous occasions he either tweaked or didn’t publish a story in order to push the blame onto Spider-Man. He then remembers one such story.
We then flashback to Midtown High school some time ago where we see MJ walk up to an exhausted Peter. MJ asks Peter why he is so tired. He answers that he has school, homework, a job, and a side job as Spider-Man. MJ says that maybe class will be more exciting.
Peter and MJ enter their next class were their teacher is talking about (Geoffrey) Chaucer. But before he can start his lecture the principle makes an announcement over the P.A. system. The principle says that all student and faculty must evacuate the school immediately as the armed forces have informed them that the neighborhood is not safe and is in danger. Everyone rushes outside of the building where they see military helicopters flying over head attacking something from a distance.
We see that what the military is attacking is in fact the Hulk. The attack does not harm the Hulk at all and all of the military forces go in for another attack.
On the roof of Midtown High School Peter puts on his Spider-Man costume and heads down into the middle of the chaos.
Spider-Man tries to stop the military from firing but is attacked from behind by the Hulk. He is able to dodge the attack only to be attacked by the military who are still trying to get to the Hulk. Spider-Man is able to get out of the way of the attack but is thrown across the town by one of Hulk’s punches.
Spider-Man ends up going through a Barrucks Coffee shop widow. As he recovers he sees the military and the Hulk still fighting. He heads back to the fight and starts fighting the Hulk one-on-one.
One of the military officers uses the fight between the two as an opportunity to order his men to fire a missile at the Hulk.
While the missile hits the Hulk it does not do any damage to him. Instead it only causes the Hulk to become even angrier and he grabs one of the military tanks and throws across town to a nearby bridge.
The tank that the Hulk through lands on a bunch of cars and causes a school bus to skid off the bridge. Spider-Man is able to reach the bridge in time and use his webs to try and pull the bus back onto the bridge before it falls into the water.
Spider-Man is unable to fully pull the bus back onto the bridge and as it looks like the he can’t hang on anymore the Hulk appears and saves the bus from falling.
Everyone on the bus is surprised by the Hulk’s appearance. Spider-Man tells everyone on the bus to get off the bus.
As all the students safely exit the bus the Hulk smashes the roof of the bus and reverts back to being Bruce Banner.
Bruce introduces himself to Spider-Man which excites Peter as he has read Bruce’s work. Bruce explains that he made a huge miscalculation that now turns him into the Hulk. Spider-Man asks Bruce why he was attacking the military.
Bruce says that the military attacked him and that they have been attacking him because they see him as a monster that they must destroy. He asks Spider-Man where he is. Spider-Man answers New York City much to Bruce’s surprise.
Spider-Man asks why the military is attacking him anyways. Bruce says because that is what we do: we attack what we do not understand.
As the two of them talk the military finds them and tells them to freeze. General Ross (?) tells Spider-Man to take off his mask as he is under arrest.
Bruce tries to tell General Ross to leave him alone. Ross starts counting and pointing his gun at Spider-Man and Bruce.
Spider-Man and Bruce try and reason with Ross. Ross counts to three and shoots at them. The bullet is going for Bruce who transforms into the Hulk before the bullet reaches and deflects of his chest.
The Hulk becomes angry at the military for continuing to fire at him and decides to escape instead of dealing with the military again.
Spider-Man tries to get some answers out of Ross who is not paying attention to him at all and tells his men to move out. Ross and the military leave a stunned Spider-Man in the middle of the destruction the Hulk and the military caused.
Jameson continues to write his story by admitting that this was one of many Spider-Man stories that he changed in order to make Spider-Man look like a bad guy. He admits that in his self-delusion as a publisher he decided this was all in the name of journalism.
Jameson admits this obituary to Spider-Man is also his confession for misrepresenting not only the Spider-Man stories but also not understanding why Spider-Man did what he did as a masked vigilante. Jonah talks about how he is actually thankful that heroes like Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man exist to stand up to villains. Jonah says that he can only imagine how these superheroes can make the choices they make and experience.
We then get two images from Ultimate Marvel Team-ups with Spider-Man alone with NYC in the background and Spider-Man in the sewers with the Lizard and Man-Thing, an image from the “Hollywood” arc of Spider-Man and Doc Ock fighting, Spider-Man chasing The Beetle from the “War of Symbyote” arc, Peter standing with the Sinister Six from the mini-series, and finally an image of Spider-Man with all of heroes from the Ultimates.
As we see these images Jameson admits that in the end Spider-Man will stand among the greatest heroes that have existed.
Jameson continues by saying for the next few days and weeks he is sure everyone will hear heart-warming stories of bravery and selflessness as the city rises to even greater glory. He ends his article by saying that better days are ahead for everyone and that everyone should live their lives as Spider-Man did.
As Jonah writes the final lines we see Captain America and Iron Man leading the military, SHIELD agents, fire fighters, and other rescue workers in helping find people in all the rubble in New York City. As they do Iron Man spots something in the rubble and points to Captain America to the spot.
As Captain America starts going through the rubble he sees someone in a Spider-Man costume. As he is able to get all the rubble out of the way we see it is Peter, sans mask. Iron Man shines a light in Peter’s eyes and we see Peter slowly opening his eyes. End of issue.
The Good: Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #2 was a solid read but did not feel like a true ending for the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man before it is relaunched as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. While this issue did not feel like a proper ending for me there were still some good things done with this.
First and foremost Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #2 was a good tribute to one of Marvel’s most consistently well written and illustrated books. Bendis does a good job using J. Jonah Jameson as a way to tell an emotional story of how he views Spider-Man as a true hero who belongs among the greatest heroes there is.
I liked how Bendis set up Jameson continuing his obituary by first doing all the different news reports showing how devastating the wave that struck New York City. Unlike Loeb’s Ultimatum, the news reports actually did an effective job showing that Magneto actually caused a huge amount of destruction and affects so many more people than just the heroes.
Now, just like the first issue of this two part story, it was a good move by Bendis to use Jameson as the character to use to tell the story. As I said in my review for the first part of this two part story, while Ultimate Jameson has the core characteristics of his 616-counterpart Bendis has done a good job making Ultimate Jameson a much more sympathetic character than his 616-counterpart.
This issue does a good job making the Ultimate version of J. Jonah Jameson come full circle as he finally admits Spider-Man is a hero. It is very telling of what makes the two versions of Jameson different from one another as from the beginning the Ultimate version of the character has always been a character that has been much approachable.
If anything, this issue reminds me of the issue back in the second Kingpin arc on Ultimate Spider-Man, not sure which issue it was, were Peter and Jameson had a talk about why Jameson hated Spider-Man. Jameson stated that he felt that people like his son, who died on a space mission, were heroes and not someone who hides behind a mask. I remember reading that issue and thinking that this was one of the first times I saw Jameson admit Spider-Man was a hero. But, the reason Jonah can’t admit it out loud to other or to himself is because Spider-Man hides behind a mask and isn’t as open as others with his identity like Captain America and Iron Man.
And remembering that issue made this two part story of Jameson writing Spider-Man’s obituary a much more emotional story. With how Bendis wrote these two issues I couldn’t think of anyone better to write Spider-Man’s obituary than Jameson.
It was very nice to read how awful Jameson feels for all the negative stories, whether they were true or not, he has published on Spider-Man who did nothing but try and save people’s lives. Along with writing about how with his wife is now gone and the city destroyed this tribute to Spider-Man makes it feel like Jameson’s character has come full circle and may be a much better/nicer person to those around him. And it is nice to move by Bendis have Jameson a very hopeful person at the end of his article as he believes the city and its people will recover from the disaster they were just hit with and that they will become stronger because of it.
This story with Jameson as the star does a great job highlighting what has made Bendis’s run on Ultimate Spider-Man so special. As I said in my previous review, unlike all the other Ultimate titles all of the characters in USM feel like they are different people from their 616-counterparts. Yet the characters still maintain the key characteristics that have made them so likable in the 616-universe.
Long-time readers will be able to tell how the characters in this title have changed and evolved since the first issue of this series. It will be interesting to see where Bendis takes this new Jameson as he will most likely be rebuilding the Daily Bugle. I am curious to see how Jonah acts when he finds out that Spider-Man is actually alive.
Even though this was mostly an emotionally packed issue, Bendis, as always, does a good job inserting some nice comedy and action with the flashback Spider-Man/Hulk story. While the story was a bit light and felt like an average Spider-Man story all the comedy and action added with the typical Bendis banter that this series has been known for, which is always good when it comes to Ultimate Spider-Man.
As with the last issue, the artwork in this issue was fantastic. Bagley and Immonen combined for some excellent artwork. As a big fan of Bagley’s artwork on USM it was again great to see more of Bagley’s artwork on this title. I really enjoyed all the artwork for the Spider-Man/Hulk story.
And for his part, Immonen also did a great job giving this issue a lot of emotional weight. Immonen did a fine job with all the facial expressions of the characters. I especially liked his artwork when Captain America and Iron Man found Peter’s body.
The Bad: Now even though Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #2 was a good ending to USM there were a few problems with this issue. The first problem is that, while I like Bagley’s art as much as the next guy, I felt the Spider-Man/Hulk story took too many pages of this issue. Unlike the Spider-Man/Iron Man story from the last issue, I felt that the flash-back story actually detracted from the story that Bendis was trying to tell with Immonen in the present. The flash-back story really did not feel like it had a real connection to the main story that Bendis was trying to tell with Jameson.
Also, what hurt the flash-back story is that it felt like a rehash of the same Spider-Man/Hulk story back in Ultimate Marvel Team-Ups. And honestly, the flash-back story read more like a filler story than anything else.
I also wish that Bendis wouldn’t have re-used some old artwork from Ultimate Marvel Team-Ups and would have let Immomen illustrate more of the issue as the old artwork detracted a bit from the emotional impact of the art.
Also, when I think of my favorite issues of Ultimate Spider-Man I think of issues like #13 were Peter revealed his identity to MJ, #28 were Peter tried to go save the day but keep getting sidetrack because of stuff going on in school, #65 with Peter, MJ, Liz, Flash, and Kong stuck in detention, the first annual with Peter and Kitty, and the third annual with Peter and MJ discussing if they should have sex.
The reason those issues are among my favorite of this series is because of the interaction between the whole cast of the series and not just being focused on one character of Spider-Man’s adventures. Compared to those issues it is hard to give this issue a strong rating especially since it is suppose to cap-off the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man.
And with this issue it doesn’t feel like it doesn’t do anything more than give closure to Jameson and the reader finding out Peter is alive. This issue would have been much better and much more emotionally powerful if we saw reactions of Peter’s supporting cast to his death. It just does not feel right that the supporting cast was left out of these two issues, especially Aunt May and MJ.
It also does not help that the last time we saw Peter’s supporting cast we only got their initial reactions to Peter’s death in the silent issue in Ultimate Spider-Man #133. Without getting to see people who knew Peter was Spider-Man, like Aunt May and MJ, it takes away from the reveal that Peter was discovered alive at the end of the issue. It actually makes the reveal not feel as great as it would have been if we saw more of how Aunt May and MJ were feeling post-Ultimatum.
This also makes the Spider-Man/Hulk story feel more like a filler and a waste of the page count for this issue. It makes this ending to Ultimate Spider-Man before it is relauched feel incomplete and disappointing as we don’t really get to see more of the strength of this series and instead get stuck with a story that feels like a cheap gimmick.
Overall: Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #2 was a good ending for Ultimate Spider-Man. Still, it feels that there was a lot of lost potential with this issue as it does not feel like the proper ending this series deserves. In any case, I am happy to see that Peter is alive and I am very interested to see what Bendis and LaFuente have in store for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.