Recently, Spider-Man encountered Eddie Brock who had not been seen in a long time. With the re-emergence of Gwen Stacy, Eddie was able to absorb the Carnage symbiote into his own, thereby freeing Gwen of her torment. With everything back to normal, Peter and his friends set out to relax and take a well earned break in the city.
We begin with Johnny Storm on a date with a clueless pop singer. Johnny's patience runs thin and he decides to call his friend Peter. Peter and Mary Jane are amused at Johnny's predicament but eventually agree to help him abandon his date. Peter mentions that Aunt May is trying to help Gwen re- enroll at Midtown High School.
Gwen sits outside the vice principal's office while May presents a note from S.H.I.E.L.D. describing the complicating circumstances surrounding the teen's revival. May also presents the vice principal with a note from Tony Stark. However, the vice principal is an unbelieving sort and tries to dismiss May. He reveals that the school board wants to close Midtown High due to the unusually high number of superhuman incidents that have taken place there. May pleads to him that Gwen deserves a second chance at a normal life.
Peter comes through for Johnny and calls him away, the pop star believing it to be important Fantastic Four business. Johnny "flames on" and during his flight path encounters the Vulture trying to escape detection from an apparent robbery. The Human Torch and Vulture engage in a heated sky level battle. Spider-Woman, the female clone of Peter Parker, swings on by and assists Johnny in bringing the Vulture down. Predictably, Johnny is smitten with Spider-Woman.
The next day, Peter goes out to Manhattan with his friends: Kitty Pryde, her boyfriend Kong, Gwen, and Mary Jane. Right after they leave, the NYPD arrives and arrests May due to her relationship with Spider-Man. They take a shocked May out in cuffs.
...And so begins crossover mania over here in USM. Marvel decided it would be a good idea to shake up their Ultimate line of books and put all their characters in a major crossover event "cleverly" dubbed Ultimatum. I am going to reserve judgement on the event as there are only currently two issues out. That said, Spider-Man seems to only be involved peripherally at this point. This does not bode well for USM tagged Ultimatum issues as any story can only advance the character so much. We'll see down the line what happens but I am a skeptic at this point in the game.
Bendis has done such a remarkable jon with this book. He has weathered what could have been the death knell of this book i.e. the departure of Mark Bagley and has continued to do on the whole a solid job. Bendis writes a good Spider- Man supporting cast and the hint of them going into Manhattan at least bodes well for next issue.
Also welcome is the return of Spider-Woman to the book. The ultimate line is all about re-invention and I like the nod to the original 616 Clone Saga and the legacy aspect Ultimate Jessica Drew represents in relation to Peter Parker. I liked her interactions with Johnny Storm and it was nice to see frequent punching bag the Vulture make an appearance as well.
There's plenty to enjoy about this issue, especially coming off a rather lukewarm conclusion to "War of the Symbiotes." Immonen is back on track and we once again focus on Peter's supporting cast. Gwen being back in Peter's life can only be a good thing.
I really enjoyed this issue as a transition piece even with the dreaded "Ultimatum" tag.