Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #156 Review

Posted by Spiderfan001 07 April 2011

The return of Mark Bagley! Oh, and something about the death of Spider-Man...

The Story

At the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Carol Danvers interrogates a newly resurrected Norman Osborn. How Norman survived getting his brains blown out is something neither of them seems to know.

While having lunch with Mary Jane, Peter Parker gets a call from Captain America. Cap tells Peter to suit up and meet him at the First Calvary Forest Hills Cemetery for superhero training.

Back at the Triskelion, Norman transforms into his Goblin form and breaks out of his cell. He then breaks out his fellow inmates; Electro, Kraven, Sandman, Doctor Octopus and the Vulture. Together, they hijack a helicopter and escape.

At the cemetery, Cap gives Spider-Man a lecture on life and death, telling him that he doesn't fight smart, as though his life was on the line. Before the lesson can go any farther, Cap gets a call from Carol Danvers. She informs Cap that Nick Fury's black ops team has gone rogue and that he is needed (this all happening in the still Spider-Manless Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates miniseries). Cap leaves, telling Spider-Man that he can't come with him. Eager to prove himself, Spidey follows him anyway.

Upon reaching New York, the Six ditch the helicopter and take refuge in a penthouse. They hear on the news about a giant superhero battle that is currently occupying S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention. Norman sees this as the perfect opportunity to kill Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is witnessing the carnage of the superhero battle from a nearby building. He then gets a call from MJ, who warns him that Norman Osborn and his other enemies have escaped.


No offense to the artists who have been on the book since, but I've really missed Bagley on this title. He was born to draw Ultimate Spider-Man, and having him back on the book is a real treat.

Norman Osborn's return was a surprise, as his death in the Death of a Goblin storyline seemed pretty definitive. I'm glad my favourite Spider-Man villain's Ultimate counterpart is back, but I hope an explanation is eventually provided. The suddenness of his return suggests that Brian Michael Bendis needed a villain with a personal tie to Peter for this story, realized Norman fit the bill perfectly, and haphazardly brought him back. And if Norman could survive a gun shot to the head, then it is also possible that Harry Osborn (the Ultimate Hobgoblin), last seen beaten to death by his own father, is also alive.

I liked the relationship between Spidey and Cap in this issue. Cap's frustration with Spider-Man's immaturity was a refreshing change from the mutual respect they have for one another in the Marvel Universe. I've always preferred Spider-Man having a more uneasy relationship with his fellow heroes.

A gripping story where our hero is in genuine peril combined with the return of the great Mark Bagley means that the Death of Spider-Man is off to a strong start. It's also pretty new reader friendly, so if you've been curious about Ultimate Spider-Man in the past, this is a good place to start.

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