Last issue saw the cliffhanger where Spider-Man acquires the black Symbiote suit. Marvel points out that the story takes place before Ultimates 3. Sharp- eyed readers will doubtless already know this; the Ultimates portrayed when they were actually written competently and not as practical jokes. (sorry Mr. Loeb!)
Spider-Man is not pleased to have the Symbiote draped all over him. Our various players (Beetle, Silver Sable, Eddie Brock) look on with equal parts interest and horror. The symbiote's violent mentality begins to overtake Peter's mental defenses. Police open fire on the symbiote without much success. The Symbiote wants to feed and there seems to be no one able to stop it from doing so. Fortunately, the Ultimates along with Nick Fury did not get the memo and arrive in spectacular fashion.
Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Wasp all get their shots in. Unfortunately, the Symbiote has completely become the dominant personality over Peter and proves stronger than anticipated. Thus, Thor is called upon to defeat the gooey monstrosity known as Venom. With a well-placed KRAKOOM, Thor sends the symbiote sprawling. The rest of the Ultimates stop Silver Sable from doing anything to interfere while Eddie feels Peter is getting his just desserts. Fury feels sorry for Peter's predicament at the hands of Thor. Venom is defeated with one final lightning assault. Eddie sheds a tear over the symbiote's fate.
Peter wakes up the next morning under the capable ministrations of his Aunt May. She chastises him for waking up close to noon. Before Peter can wonder whether it was all a dream, he gets an e-mail from Fury demanding his presence at the Triskelion. Peter dons his Spider-Man costume and meets up with Fury and Tony Stark. Fury tells the events of the previous night. They have the suit and Silver Sable in custody.
Unfortunately the mysterious Beetle escaped. Eddie is also missing. Peter expresses anger over Fury's demeaning of the suit, reminding him that it was created in order to cure cancer. Fury remains resolute in his opinion, stating outright that the suit could be the cause of a future world war.
Very little advances in the plot were made in this issue. That being said, I liked it overall in the grand scheme of things. It was nice to see the Ultimates take on Peter / Venom. And it was nice to see the larger Ultimate Universe being put into play as USM maintains a usually isolationist perspective when concerned with the other books in the line.
Immonen's art remains a pleasure to look at. There's some great coloring done by Justin Ponsor when Thor blasts Venom with lightning. Immonen even manages to throw a bit of diversity into the mix ably demonstrating his ability to switch on a dime between conversational scenes and action pieces.
I did not like the rather weak cliffhanger to the issue...if you can call it that. This perhaps speaks to the inconsequential nature of the issue itself. Spider-Man gets transformed and in the course of one huge battle gets changed back. Silver Sable and the Beetle remain underdeveloped at this point and I doubt they ever will in this story arc. Eddie does get a nice bit of character when he sheds a tear for the symbiote. And Bendis writes a good Aunt May. It was nice to see her make her presence felt, albeit for a brief moment.
There's really not too much one can say at this point about the rest of the story arc. Things are basically back where they started. In some sense, Bendis is treading familiar ground with his decompressed story tendencies. But he has managed to keep my interest by providing entertaining fodder such as the Ultimates showing up and taking down Venom.
I can't fault a comic book for being entertaining. Still readers should be concerned where and how Bendis is going to take this story forward.