Comics : Cataclysm: Spider-Man #3

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This review was first published on: Feb 2014.

Background...

Galactus is in the Ultimate universe, destroying everything and such. Last issue, Miles Morales revealed he is Spider-Man to his father. That's all you really need. It's a simple plot.

In Detail...

Cataclysm: Spider-Man #3
Mar 2014 : SM Title
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Woman stars
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  David Marquez
Cover Art:  David Marquez
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Cover Colorist:  Rain Beredo
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
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Review

Our story begins with a scene of a plane from Great Britain Airlines trying to communicate with Newark tower. Suddenly, two jets of the United States Air Force fly beside the British plane. Over the radio, the jets tell the British pilots to leave because the area is restricted airspace. The British attempt to communicate with Newark tower but the American jets inform them that it is no longer. When they ask what they mean, the two American jets turn around, explaining they’ve gotten too close. The British pilots are unfortunate enough to fly directly into the epicenter of chaos, where Galactus is building his world-eating machine. The giant lifts his hand, which flashes and sends the plane hurtling away.

In Brooklyn, we travel to the scene we were left with at the end of last issue. Jefferson is in shock over his son’s revelation and backs away in horror. Miles explains that they need to leave, but Jefferson says, “You killed my brother.” Miles rejects his father’s statement which leads to Jefferson accusing him of killing his wife. This makes Miles silent. After a moment, Miles tells his father that he can apologize for the horrible things he’s said once they leave the city. But Jefferson hits his son with his cane in anger.

Miles and Jefferson both become silent until they spot the British plane from earlier hurtling towards them. The plane smashes into the side of a building and Miles saves his father from falling debris. Miles instructs him to stay in the house while he rescues some civilians from the broken wing of the plane. When Jefferson watches Miles swing off, he falls to his knees and cries.

Meanwhile, Miles jumps to where the plane landed. He stands there, reflecting, until Spider-Woman tells him to put on his mask. He asks why it matters with the world coming to an end and she says it helps with the smoke. Spider-Woman tears the plane door off and Spider-Man looks in to find it mostly empty. Miles finds one man who introduces himself as J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle. Miles recognizes and pulls him out of the plane before it explodes. Jonah attempts to tell Spidey something but he rushes off to help the others.

In the ruins of the plane, Spider-Man is relieved to spot Spider-Woman saving some kids. Miles asks if they can call the Ultimates and she explains everybody’s busy. He decides that they need to get the civilians out of the area. Luckily, Cloak and Dagger appear and Cloak explains he’ll teleport the people out of the area. He exclaims that he will send the civilians to a hospital in Pittsburgh, but the citizens are reluctant. Dagger guides the kids into Cloak’s cape and they are successfully teleported out of the chaos. When Dagger asks who wants to go next, everybody wants to go.

Suddenly, the airplane explodes again and a piece of the side hurtles toward Spider-Man and Jonah. Luckily, Bombshell suddenly appears and destroys it before it hits the ground. The heroes decide to quickly guide everybody into Cloak’s cape. Before he enters the portal, Jonah tells Miles that he’s going to change his life but our hero ignores him.

Later, Miles enters his apartment to find that his dad left. He ponders what to do next until he gets a call from Captain America. Cap instructs him to stay where he is until they pick him up. Spidey asks what is so urgent and Cap explains that they have a way to stop Galactus and they need his help.

To be continued in Cataclysm: the Ultimates Last Stand

In General...

Unlike the last two issues of this miniseries, something interesting occurs. Miles’ confrontation with his father is terrifically written and painful for the reader. While reading the scene, I was completely torn, which is probably what Bendis was aiming for. Jefferson obviously doesn’t immediately accept his son’s reveal of being Spider-Man, but he doesn’t come off as cruel. Bendis has been building up the fact that Jefferson simply wants to live a quiet, superhero-free existence, and his son’s identity as Spider-Man is about as deterring to that lifestyle as I can imagine. In a way, the reader must understand his reaction to the reveal, but identify with Miles at the same time. Bendis plays to these emotions perfectly during the scene. When Miles returns at the end to find his father has left him, it’s depressing but understandable.

Otherwise, looking past the high drama of Miles’ reveal, the airplane scene is pretty interesting. It’s not necessarily anything comic book readers aren’t accustomed to, but the conflict itself is heightened by the fact that Bombshell, Spider-Woman, Cloak, and Dagger are also involved. It’s pretty obvious these characters will all get a team title once this whole event is over. Bendis writes the groups’ chemistry terrifically and I’ve really grown to care for them. Also, it’s interesting how Jameson kept telling Miles that he’ll change his life. It will surely be a positive change since Ultimate Jonah learned his lesson about Spidey, as seen in Ultimate Spider-Man #19. Hmmm…

I guess the only other thing to talk about is the art of the issue. David Marquez takes over and blows me away. Again. I think Marquez is probably one of the only artists currently at Marvel who’s capable of delivering high-quality artwork every month. His clean style and vivid expressions give the book a unique, modern look. He draws the page with the airplane crashing with great awe. I must give credit to colorist Justin Ponsor for the amazingly expressive colors he adds to Marquez’s lines.

Overall Rating...

This was a great, dramatic issue with terrific team dynamic.