Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ultimate Spider-Man #159

With one issue to go before we see the final chapter in the death of Ultimate Spider-Man, you have to give credit to the creative team for wringing every lost drop of excitement out of this story.

Writer Brian Bendis serves up another edge-of-your-seat battle royal between what's left of the Sinister Six and what's left of Spider-Man.

You will remember that Spider-Man was shot saving Captain America (who repaid his effort by leaving him to die alone). In this issue he makes his way home where his friends the Human Torch and Iceman were defeated by the Six, leaving a badly wounded Spidey facing impossible odds.

This issue gives us his final effort as he tries to survive a withering assault.

The art is by series originator Mark Bagley (with Andy Lanning on inks), and it's outstanding work, with one amazing action scene followed by an ever more intense scene, and so on, right to the end of the issue (and oh, that final page).

The story is so tense I'm even willing to overlook some of the more irritating story oversights. For one, where is Peter Parker's mask? He was wearing it when he was shot, but when he arrives at his home his mask is gone.

But the most irritating event is something that would pop up in the TV show 24 from time to time. Someone has to get across town, and instead of taking an hour or more, they cover the ground in minutes. That happens here in an intense (and improbable) scene - but the story's so exciting, it's easy to forgive.

With a cliffhanger ending, it's going to be tough to wait a month to see what happens next. But that's all part of the fun!

One hopes that next issue isn't really the end of the Ultimate Spider-Man. This has been consistently one of Marvel's best books, and this series is a "must read."

Grade: A



Dwayne said...

Ha! That used to bug me about 24 too! I'm not from LA, but I know enough about it that you're not getting from the Valley to Downtown in 7 minutes at 4 in the afternoon.

So funny you mention that!

Chuck said...

Dwayne, I was a big fan of "24" (and still look forward to the rumored feature film), but that was the one thing that always played hob with the "real time" conceit. They tried to get around it, but there's no way they could speed around Los Angeles that fast! But it was a great show (most of the time), so I forgive.