Ultimate Spider-Man #116

Background

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are falling from a penthouse battle. Once again, the old Peter Parker luck has reared its ugly head. Spider-Man is out of web fluid! S.H.I.E.L.D forces and Peter's ex-girlfriend, Kitty Pryde, look on, powerless to do anything.

Story Details

  Ultimate Spider-Man #116
Arc: Part 5 of 'Death Of A Goblin' (1-2-3-4-5-6)

Peter's inner monologue says it all. Back in Ultimate Spider-Man #115, Carol Danvers playfully used up all of his webbing during their first meeting about Norman Osborn. All Spider-Man can think about is the concept of gravity as he and Norman fall to the earth. Kitty leaps into action to save Peter. S.H.I.E.L.D agents converge on the scene, intent on capturing Norman. Kitty almost manages to grab onto to Spider-Man's outstretched arm. Norman's powers impact the streets violently. Cars and debris fly everywhere. But where are Spider-Man and the Green Goblin? Well, it turns out Kitty and Peter ended up in the sewers beneath the street. Spider-Man and Kitty are greeted by hostile S.H.I.E.L.D forces. Carol Danvers's anger is palpable over losing the Green Goblin. He is nowhere to be seen.

Spider-Man is just as puzzled over Norman's quick exit. His spider-sense is not going off. S.H.I.E.L.D can not track him either because Norman has chosen not to use his powers. Peter is angry and wants to go home to catch up on sleep before he and Kitty have to go to school. Peter and Kitty have a heart to heart about their recent break-up. Peter regrets how he he handled the entire situation. Kitty thanks him for his honesty. She offers to let Peter crash at her house. Peter declines because not even Mary Jane is that good of a girlfriend. Kitty remarks that she wants to start dating Kenny Kong from school. Peter answers that Kong is a good guy but he's let's people boss him around.

Peter arrives home and prepares to go to bed. However, he sees that S.H.I.E.L.D is monitoring his home from a hippie van outside on the curbside. He brings out snacks to the two S.H.I.E.L.D agents. It turns out that the two men are huge fans of Spider-Man. The trio joke around for a little while. Back inside, Peter checks his messages. One of them is his Aunt May. She is extremely worried about keeping inconspicuous. The other is from Mary Jane. She is extremely worried for her boyfriend.

Peter walks into his living room. Norman Osborn, clad in one of Aunt May's bed sheets, is waiting for him on the sofa. Osborn wants the life he had back and is willing to go through Nick Fury to get it. Peter replies that Fury is MIA. Norman states that Peter is the only proof of his genius. Peter angrily rebuts Norman's talking points. Nevertheless, Norman wants Peter to admit publicly that Osborn created Spider-Man. Peter rebuffs Osborn's threats. A letter slipped under the door interrupts the conversation. The letter's contents say to turn on the television. Peter and Norman listen in on an interview with Harry Osborn and Carol Danvers. Harry reveals that Norman turned his own son into a monster and killed his mom. Carol ominously stares into the camera as Harry weeps. Osborn is none too pleased.

General Comments

Bendis delivers another excellent issue. Last issue's cliffhanger is neatly resolved and provides some closure on the Kitty-Peter breakup. The super- powered pair are becoming great friends. Their back and forth banter is always a highlight. You can tell Bendis is having a ball writing Kitty. I liked how Spider-Man sort of lucked out/used his brain to escape serious injury in the free-fall. Immonen provides a spectacular splash-page to show the carnage left by the Green Goblin's exit. Sequentially, Bendis and Immonen show rapid fire observations as the Green Goblin and Spider-Man fall. This creates a cinematic feel that only comic books can replicate for a reader. Justin Ponsor's colors bleed into the panels and show off the changing scenery from free-fall to sewer spillage. This sequence to open the issue is almost worthy of your money alone.

Bendis is somewhat hampered in that he has to have a calm before the storm moment. However, he turns this situation into a boon for the reader's benefit. Peter's return to Forest Hills allows Bendis to insert some humor and provide a sequence that tells us what Aunt May and Mary Jane is doing in hiding. Readers should note I wanted such a scene last issue. Bendis leaves me pleased in this regard.

Osborn rears his ugly head soon thereafter. I've always generally been somewhat aloof of how the 616 Green Goblin has been currently portrayed. The man is clearly insane but has the ability to be a rich businessman. There is somewhat of a missing link to his character. I don't see his humanity in order to take him seriously. In the Ultimate universe, Norman is just as menacing but has fleshed out motivations and a well-rounded personality. A little touch by placing Norman in a bed sheet is not only funny but makes him human. It may be fun to Goblin out and go on evil rampages but what are you going to wear afterwards? Bendis simply gets superhero comic books.

There is a minor problem that hampers this issue. Peter remarks that Nick Fury is away. He is obviously referring to the events in Ultimate Power #9. The comment points to a lack of events cohesiveness in the Ultimate Universe. Jeph Loeb, the writer of the last three issues of Ultimate Power, clearly does not choose to communicate with Bendis. Spider-Man would know that Fury is being held prisoner in another universe. Carol Danvers would know this pertinent information as well. Yet, Spider-Man asks Danvers why Fury is missing in this story arc. I'm blaming this on poor Mr. Loeb because his return to Marvel has been less than stellar. Ultimate Power was a train wreck.

Overall Rating

With that minor continuity issue aside, Ultimate Spider-Man remains a solid read. Harry's return to the book brings up one crucial question: which Goblin will die?