Comics : Cataclysm: Spider-Man #1

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This review was first published on: Nov 2013.

Background...

Previously in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Vol. 2), Miles Morales teamed-up with Spider-Woman, Bombshell, Cloak, and Dagger to take down the evil corporation, Roxxon. Every one of them were given powers by genetic experiments inflicted by Roxxon.

In Age of Ultron #10, the Avengers abused the space-time continuum, resulting in an universal rip. Galactus was transported to the Ultimate Universe. Galactus is hungry...and he will eat Earth!

In Detail...

Cataclysm: Spider-Man #1
Jan 2014 : SM Title
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Woman star
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  David Marquez
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor, Paul Mounts
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Review

On the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Spider-Woman walks into a room occupied by the Ultimates and Director Chang, asking if she’s fired for her attack on Roxxon. They all begin to discuss the matter and everybody seems to approve of that Spider-Woman overthrew Roxxon but Chang. Things become awkward when Spider-Woman tells Captain America that she was built from Peter Parker’s genetic codes. Chang is annoyed because that was classified information and Tony Stark is fascinated.

Director Chang decides that she will discuss if Spider-Woman’s fired later and Cap inquires why. She explains that S.H.I.E.L.D. has defense contracts with Roxxon and Spider-Woman complicated matters. This infuriates Thor, who declares, “Who you choose as your allies is as important as—as who you are?” Spider-Woman declares that they need to launch an investigation against Roxxon and she will lead it.

Chang is irritated by this and Spider-Woman explains that she’s going to do it whether she fires her on not. Cap is proud of her and Stark agrees that Roxxon should be held fully accountable for his actions. Cap and Stark are also interested that Spider-Woman teamed up with Spider-Man since he had given up being a hero for a year.

In History, Miles Morales has fallen asleep in the middle of the lesson. Miles’ teacher wakes him and asks what Order 11110 was. Surprisingly, Miles drowsily gives her the correct definition. His teacher explains that he has saved himself this time but she’ll call his dad if it happens again. (Gee… I wonder where I’ve seen this before… Wait! A scene very similar happened in Ultimate Spider-Man #22. Hmmm…)

In a police station, Lana Baumgartner AKA Bombshell is being yelled at by an officer for violating her parole. She explains that she was following Spider-Woman, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The officer retorts that she isn’t supposed to use her powers if she doesn’t want to be imprisoned. Lana states that she wants to be a superhero and the officer doesn’t see how “breaking into an office tower in midtown Manhattan and beating up people is helping people.”

When Lana decides to leave, the officer picks up the phone to call the authorities. She blows his phone up and he yells, “You are going to rot in prison just like your mother!!” She dashes down the hall and stops, remembering when she followed her mom in a crime spree. Lana is obviously discontented about her past.

Later, Spider-Man is relishing his powers by running on a wall when he spots a dispute on the street. He jumps down and the culprits flee. In a nearby restaurant, a bunch of people throw chairs and glass bottles at Spider-Man until he webs the window of the diner. A few police cars arrive on the scene. Spider-Man expects that they will attack him but, instead, an officer hugs him, joyous to see him back in the threads. He explains that he makes their jobs easier and leaves.

Elsewhere, Cloak and Dagger stand on a rooftop, peering at the city. Tandy convinces Cloak to teleport her to see her parents, even though they sold her to Roxxon. When they arrive on her street, Dagger is mortified to find that he parents have left her old house. Cloak quickly teleports her away and she asks what they should do now. He suggests that they become superheroes and fight alongside Spider-Man.

In the middle of their conversation, Cloak and Dagger stare at the sky to find the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and multiple jets soaring towards a Galactus-shaped image in the sky.

In General...

I have a very complex opinion of Brian Michael Bendis’ writing. The man is brilliant when he wants to be brilliant. For instance, his run on Ultimate Spider-Man is my favorite run of all time and the majority of his Avengers run is great. But, at the same time, he can write terrible when he’s forced to do tie-ins or excess books. I call this Bendis crap. (Creative, huh?) Bendis crap is when Bendis wastes page space with a bunch of talking heads and procrastination instead of any actual content. Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 is Bendis crap.

This book is divided up into five scenes. Firstly is Spider-Woman’s talk with the Ultimates. While this segment of the comic has some entertaining dialogue, it takes up lots of space and, in the long run, nothing really happens. Then, Miles’ sequence in class is totally unoriginal. As I mentioned in the review, this scene was practically copied from Ultimate Spider-Man #22, showing it was only meant to fill space. Following that is Lana’s discussion with the police, which builds well towards Lana’s character, but is overall unnecessary. Next, Spider-Man’s scene with the police is entertaining but really doesn’t really contribute to the story either. Lastly, Cloak and Dagger’s sequence is fantastically painful and adds to their characters well.

One thing you may notice about this comic is that it has nearly nothing to do with the Cataclysm event that it’s tying into. Mainly, it’s all fallout from the last Ultimate Spider-Man arc. Personally, I think this three-issue miniseries should have just continued in the main Ultimate Comics Spider-Man title. I would have definitely been less critical if it was labeled as an epilogue to Spider-Man’s battle against Roxxon and a prelude to Cataclysm. But it isn’t. This mini is created to tie into Cataclysm and it does so very poorly.

This issue, although it is somewhat unnecessary, has a few interesting character moments. Firstly, Miles’ meeting with the police was good for his character, showing he was missed as Spider-Man. Second, Bombshell’s meeting with the police also calls for a cool character moment when she says that she wants to be a hero. Everybody loves a redemption story. Third, Cloak and Dagger’s realization that their parents are no longer supporting them is both heart-breaking and provides some emotion in the book. I suspect that these four heroes will unite with Spider-Woman once again and fight Galactus.

Lastly, David Marquez’s art is delightful. I have always enjoyed his neat and somewhat simplistic style because it fits this book well. Simplistic is the modern style and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is the book that is supposed to have the modern Spider-Man. The art also captures emotion well and the flow is amazing. Ponsor’s colors look fantastic in the art, adding some extra detail, but Mounts’ doesn’t quite work.

Overall Rating...

I'm being a bit generous with this issue. It ties into Cataclysm poorly and is overall unnecessary. But...there are some nice character moments and great art.