Review: Ultimate Spider-Man #160

Published on June 28th, 2011

Did you manage to get a copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #160? If you haven’t yet, don’t worry because I saw that there are still some copies on the shelves at a few different stores. You might want to go pick up a copy before you read this because I guarantee there will be a few spoilers in this review. After all, this storyline is called Death of Spider-Man.

ultimatespiderman160So this is it, the very last issue to feature a living Peter Parker in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Peter’s been shot and is slowly bleeding out while he’s facing off with his greatest enemy, Norman Osborn, who’s all raged up in his Green Goblin form. Most people would be a little more concerned about their own well-being, but not Peter. The only person he’s concerned about is his Aunt May, who in the last issue showed up to save his ass, but I don’t think a small hand gun is going to be enough to take out the Goblin.

Honestly, I really don’t know what to think about with this book. As far as the death of a character goes, I think this was pretty decent. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read and normally, I would probably expect better from Brian Michael Bendis’ writing for an event this big. I will say that Mark Bagley’s art was amazing in this issue. Definitely wouldn’t mind having a few of these original pages hanging on my wall.

After giving this issue a couple of reads, I think there’s a really good dynamic going on between the action and fighting with the emotion of knowing that this is Peter’s last stand. What really made this worth reading was seeing Mary Jane steal a truck and drive into the Green Goblin with it. Bendis takes a brief moment to explain how amazing it is for a teenage girl to steal a big rig to try and save her boyfriend and then the next thing we see is Spider-Man lifting the truck to drop it onto Norman’s head. I’d say that sequence is the best five pages of the comic.

The problem with this whole thing is that it’s hard to care. We were told months ago that Peter Parker will die. Yeah, we can spend that time lying to ourselves or just not believing that they would kill off Peter Parker, but we knew the whole time that this was coming. There’s just no impact when we know the shocking ending months before it happens. And the absolute worst thing about it is the stupid bag it comes in. What’s the point? Why are they trying to hide an ending that they already told us? Take Fear Itself and what happened to Bucky in the last issue. I’m far more emotionally invested in that story because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m hoping for the sake of hope that Bucky makes it out alive, but we don’t know and they never gave us a clue that something may or may not happen. Plus, this story is in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, it’s not like they killed the Spider-Man that everyone’s been reading since the 60’s.

I will say that this was better than the death of Johnny Storm because at least in this, we saw him die. I think Bendis really did what he could to make this something important and meaningful to fans. He’s been writing this character for ten years and you don’t work on something for that long without becoming attached to it. I just feel bad for Aunt May.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com