Ultimate Spider-Man #200 (Comics Review)

Dealing with the loss of a superhero is something that superhero comics have always touched upon, in the wake of the event itself. We’ve seen it again and again, but we haven’t seen how the characters deal with it years after the event. In 2012, Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli gave us Spider-Men, a 5-issue series that crossed the Marvel-616 Peter Parker/Spider-Man with the Ultimate Spider-Man/Miles Morales and dealt with the former character being dead in the Ultimate universe and Miles being his successor to the title. It was a very heartfelt series with some great emotional scenes.

Brian and an army of artists continue that with the landmark Ultimate Spider-Man #200, an issue that acknowledges the second anniversary of Peter’s death and brings together some of his closest teenage friends for a night of commemoration, to celebrate the kind of hero he was and what he meant to each of them. I’ve never read the arc in which Ultimate Peter died, but looking at it through the eyes of other characters here and in Spider-Men definitely makes me want to do so. Brian writes a fairly good story and the army of artists all turn in a really good-looking book, bringing together, I believe, all the pencillers who’ve worked on Ultimate Spider-Man over the years in all its incarnations.

Ultimate Spider-Man 200Ultimate Spider-Man #200 is a pretty damn important issue because it marks several things. In-universe, it commemorates Peter’s second death anniversary. In our reality, it marks the 200th issue milestone and it is also a series finale since the title is getting relaunched next month as part of an Ultimate Universe reset of all titles, with their being three headline series going forward after the events of Hunger and Cataclysm which have shaken both 616 and UU.

Going into this anniversary issue, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I only noted that big #200 on the cover and knowing that there was a relaunch next month, I thought I’d check it out. And what I got was one of the most emotionally-moving stories I’ve read in comics to date. I wasn’t sure if Spider-Men could really be topped in that respect, but Brian Michael Bendis definitely did that here. When all the characters involved start talking about Peter could have been in 10-15 years, and what he meant to all of them, you can’t help but tear up a little bit.

It is doubly moving because Peter Parker has been dead in both 616 and UU for quite a while yet. Bendis, of course, killed him off in his own second run on the Ultimate Spider-Man series. Dan Slot killed him off in the landmark The Amazing Spider-Man #700. Peter has been dead in both of Marvel’s main universes for more than a year now. Which is pretty significant. In his place, other heroes have stepped up, Miles Morales for UU and Otto Octavius as Superior Spider-Man in 616.

So there’s a lot of baggage there, you see. And the majority of this issue is exposition, and thus consequently, talking heads. We have Kitty Pryde, Jessica Drew, Gwen Stacy, Miles Morales, Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson and others coming together to talk about the one person who connected all of them together. Though I loved what they all had to say about Peter, nothing was more moving than J. Jonah Jameson making an appearance. He never steps into Peter’s childhood home, only considers it afar from his car. The reason it was so moving was that while Peter was alive, Jameson was his greatest not-nemesis-but-still-nemesis since Jameson had a deep hatred and distaste of Spider-Man. To see the character try to bridge that hatred on the anniversary of Peter’s death, to show some goddamn genuine emotion for once, that was quite heart-breaking.

On the art side, we have Dave Marquez mainlining. David Lafuente, Sarah Pichelli, Mark Brooks, Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy handle the sequences for the characters once the round-table begins. The sequences are told in two-page splashes, and they mostly featured talking heads with the centerpiece being a Peter Parker/Spider-Man of the future, as they all imagine him to be at that point. The whole talking heads thing throughout the issue was really bothersome, but it does work to a degree since there is so much emotional impact to the story. I don’t see it working otherwise. Justin Ponsor does the colours and he makes this a bright and peppy issue. There’s a sense of mourning throughout in some of the panels, but Ponsor does what this issue is meant to be through his colours: it is a celebration of the life of a hero, a friend and nephew. Each character is drawn very well and although the ladies somewhat get confusing for a good while, it was still fun altogether.

Overall, I liked this issue. It was surprisingly good and really makes me want to go back to read about Peter’s death, which is kind of morbid in a way after reading this issue.

Rating: 9/10

More Ultimate Spider-Man: (v2) #1-6#7-14.

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Posted on April 6, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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