Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ultimate Spider-Man #160

As a matter of policy we try not to spoil the ending of stories, but it's going to be tough to avoid with this issue of Ultimate Spider-Man.

After all, the last six (or so) issues have been labeled "The Death of Spider-Man," and Marvel went to the national media yesterday talking about how Spider-Man gets killed in this issue.

So there's that.

It's been a slow build to this final issue, as Spidey was seriously wounded and then had to confront the Sinister Six, including the Green Goblin, Sandman, Kraven, Electro, the Vulture and Doctor Octopus.

Spread over several issues, it's been the fight of Peter Parker's life - and it's the fight that (apparently) ends his life. (Nah, I don't really believe it, either.)

Still, it's a brutal, emotional roller-coaster ride that keeps you on edge right up to the end. Any reader who's been following the story will definitely find those final pages heart-rending.

It's great work by writer Brian Bendis, who is thankfully reunited on this story with artist Mark Bagley, who manages to balance the raw emotional scenes with the hoo-hah, over-the-top action sequences.

It's tricky to kill a hero - his end must be honest, it must require a heroic effort (and a sacrifice) and allow him some meaningful final words. Check, check, check and check.

Simply an outstanding end to a terrific series.

Let's bow our heads and pay honor to the Ultimate Spider-Man - practically since it started a decade ago, it's consistently been the best Spider-Man comic. Let's hope that run doesn't end here with an untimely death.

That would be too cruel.

Grade: A


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