The Death of Ultimate Spider-Man has ended and with it came the end for Ultimate Peter Parker as he died in his fight against the Sinister Six. Though I had my fair share of problems with how The Death of Spider-Man went down, specifically the final page, I did enjoy the overall story. The ending seemed fitting as Peter Park went out as a true hero as he was able to defeat five of his biggest villains even while injured. With the character’s death being final now it is time to see the aftermath with all of Peter’s supporting cast and the Ultimate Universe as a whole getting a chance to react to his death. Let’s see how Ultimate Fallout #1.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andy Lannning
Colorist: Justin Ponsor and Laura Martin
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gwen Stacy looks at the Daily Bugle and sees that the front page’s headline reads “Spider-Man R.I.P: New York City’s Fallen Hero Was Queens’ High School Student Peter Parker.” She starts crying and says to herself “I’m cursed.”
At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is trying to write an editorial on Peter but every time he tries to he is unable to finish one sentence. He then just sits staring at his computer in shock.
Elsewhere, in the sky, Johnny releases powers up using his full power in anger.
Later that night, some thieves are stealing some TVs. They are quickly stopped by Kitty Pride in her Cloak costume. She shows no mercy and knocks them all out. She then takes off her hood to and we see that she is crying.
At Midtown High, Flash Thompson is sitting in his classroom alone and ask his teacher if he was the only one that did not know Peter was Spider-Man.
At the destroyed Queensboro Bridge, SHIELD is cleaning up all the destruction. In the shadows MJ is capturing footage of what SHIELD is doing. Not too long after she is spotted by some agents and is quickly detained. She yells out for help.
At that moment Nick Fury arrives on the scene. MJ sees Nick and accuse him for being the one that caused Peter to die and that she is going to prove it. Nick tells his agents to take MJ’s camera and let her go. MJ runs off.
The next day Tony Stark takes Aunt May and Gwen to Peter’s funeral in one of his limos. Tony tells May she does not have to worry about the bills for the funeral as he will be taking care of it. Though May says she does not want a big thing for Peter’s funeral Tony informs her it is not her choice. They arrive at the funeral and see that most of the city has gathered for Peter’s funeral.
May can’t believe it as she wanted to keep it small. Tony says that while they can have a small ceremony later the city needs to mourn the death of their greatest hero together.
May agrees and as she walks into the church she is stopped by small kid. She asks May if she was Peter’s mother but May says she isn’t. The little girl then asks if she cooked him breakfast like a mother. May says yes. The child then informs May that Spider-Man once saved her from a fire. This causes May to tear up. The little girl ask May if she needs a hug and they hug as the crowd watches.
In the church, May and the others find their seat. As they do Steve Rogers (Captain America) comes up to May. He kneels down and tells May that it was his fault Peter died. May is shocked. End of issue.
The Good: When it comes to deaths in comics it has become easy as a fan to not care anymore about them as we know they will be back in a couple years, if not sooner. It may be morbid to say but I have tuned out most deaths in comics since they lack the punch that they had on me as a kid reading comics.
That was until Ultimate Fallout #1. Though this issue did not change my attitude on comic book deaths, it sure left an impact on me that brought me closer to tears than any comic book that I have read in recent years.
I have done my fair share of Bendis bashing over the course of my amateur reviewer career, but Ultimate Fallout #1 is the type of issue that really shows why Bendis has the status he has in comics. This is not surprising because from the very first issue of Ultimate Spider-Man a decade ago Brian Bendis has made a career out of giving this series an emotional core that resonates with the reader. Throughout his run, Bendis reminded us why in a Spider-Man comic book Peter’s life with his supporting cast is just as interesting as his Spider-Man adventures, if not more.
Through his 160 issues, Bendis has built a supporting cast that, as a reader, I want to see them react to what Peter does both in and outside the costume more than any other title. Bendis did a great job throughout this legendary run to make sure they were emphasized just as much as Peter was so that the emotional scenes could leave a punch.
Thanks to this build up it made Ultimate Fallout #1 even more impactful. A big reason for this is because, as mentioned above, I wanted to see the fallout of the death of Peter Parker. After reading Ultimate Spider-Man #160, I wanted the series to continue and explore how every character from Peter’s supporting cast to the entire character base that exist in the Ultimate Universe reacts to his death.
Scenes such as MJ interacting with Nick Fury and blaming Nick for Peter’s death really showed that more so than his 616 counterpart Ultimate Peter was at the core of this universes heroes. He was the hero that was built up to be the best even in the shadows of Ultimate Captain America and Iron Man. Seeing MJ yell at Nick was a great reminder of this and showed how his death affects more than just his supporting cast.
The scene also did a great job reminding the reader that Nick Fury did play a key role in Peter’s development early on. He was a character that was almost a mentor to Peter in growing up in a world of vicious villains looking to kill him. Bendis did the right thing in having MJ be the one to tell Nick off and it has me looking forward to how this sub-plot of MJ looking for evidence to prove to everyone that Nick was responsible for Peter’s death.
I also enjoyed how Bendis gave each character in Peter’s supporting cast, sans Bobby, a chance to show a reaction to Peter’s death. Seeing images of Gwen saying she is cursed after having just come back to see her best friend leave was nice and poignant. As was Johnny releasing the full force of his anger above the cities sky scrapers. It was a fantastic image provided by Mark Bagley.
Then there was JJJ silent scene where we saw him unable to write even a single sentence about Peter Parker. It was one of those times Bendis held back and just allowed the images within these two pages to speak for themselves. It went over better than I thought it would and leaves a mark on me as reader seeing someone like JJJ, who typically can’t stop talking or shouting, just sit there in silence.
I will say that, at first, I was a bit surprised with how Bendis decided to show Kitty Pride’s emotions over Peter’s death. After thinking about it, the whole scene made sense because she was the one character in Spider-Man’s Amazing Friends that was not in the battle. Having remembered this it becomes understandable that Kitty would let out her aggression over not being able to be on the scene to save her ex and best friend when he needed her most.
Though all of these scenes where great what really stole the show in this issue were the final seven pages involving Aunt May. Out of all the characters in Spider-Man’s cast I was most looking forward to seeing Aunt May’s reaction. And, wow, did Bendis deliver. Not only were these set of scenes emotional but something that I will remember for a long time.
While Aunt May in the 616 Universe has acted more like a grandmother type to Peter the Ultimate Aunt May has been built to be much more like a mother to Ultimate Peter. Throughout the series we have seen her act as the strong and tough mother to Peter so getting her reaction to his death was something that was important for me to see as a fan.
Seeing Aunt May tear up when the little girl asked her if she was Spider-Man’s mom and how she was the one to cook him breakfast was fantastic. The scene was even further elevated when the little girl revealed that Spider-Man save her life from a fire and we saw the real tears come out as Aunt May realized how important Peter was not just to her but the whole city. The scene as a whole was just perfect as it allowed Aunt May to finally put down her wall and let her emotions out.
Now the issue could have easily ended their but it did not as Bendis gave us one hell of a final page as Steve Rogers, Captain America, reveals to May that it was his fault Peter that is dead. Unlike Ultimate Spider-Man #160, this final page gave us an ending that actually has me looking forward to getting more character reactions. It was just the proper beat to leave off on.
For his part, Mark Bagley delivered some of his best work since leaving Ultimate Spider-Man the first time. Bagley clearly worked on making sure he captured every little detail on the characters faces for this issue that was all about character reactions and interactions. As I said before, the scene involving Johnny was a fantastic visual as the characters anger came bursting from the pages. The same goes for each character reaction we got in this issue. And the final pages involving Aunt May and the little girl were fantastic visuals.
The Bad: The only problem I had with this issue, and what kept it from being a perfect 10, was the exclusion of Bobby Drake. Though only being part of the supporting cast for a short time Bendis did a lot of work to make Bobby as an important part of Peter’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends group that this title had going after the initial relaunch. So not getting at least one page of the character to allow the reader to see his reaction felt wrong, especially since Flash was given a scene even though he had not played an important role in the series since the Silver Sable arc.
Ultimate Fallout #1 is the type of comic book that reminds me why I read comics. Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley teamed up to deliver one of the most emotional comic books in recent memory. Outside of one minor hiccup, this was the perfect issue that delivered a final four pages that will leave some readers on the verge of tears. If you are an Ultimate Spider-Man fan do yourselves a favor and pick this issue up. It is an issue that you do not want to miss out on buying.