This week I am writing about the newest issue of one of my all time favorite comic books; Ultimate Spider-Man. The newest issue, out this week, is #155. It is a prelude issue to the Death of Spider-Man, which is pretty much another ploy from Marvel to get people off their asses and buy some comic books.
But I digress, back to issue #155, and like I state in all of my reviews, SPOILER ALERT! This issue starts out with Peter getting fired from his job because he was missing a lot of work when he fights crime. Peter hangs his head in shame and walks out the door only to get a call from J. Jonah Jameson telling him they need to talk. For people not keeping up with the series, Jameson has found out that Peter Parker is actually Spider-Man when Peter and him were kidnapped by the Chameleon. Jameson ended up getting shot in the head, leading readers to believe he would lose his memories of Peter’s secret identity, but Jameson and his memories survived. Since then, he has had the Daily Bugle writing stories in Spider-Mans favor instead of blasting him. The fact that Jameson calls Peter out of the blue got me pretty excited as I had almost forgotten he knew about Peter and I am now ready to see where this story goes.
The majority of the issue takes place in Jameson’s office at the Daily Bugle where he has a heart to heart with Peter. It is revealed that Jameson would have died if the bullet had been three centimeters to the right. Because of this, he feels he owes a debt to Peter. This is a new side to Jameson we have not seen before; a man searching his soul for the right thing to do. Of course, his first initial reaction was to out Peter in the Daily Bugle knowing damn well this would bring more business, but after much contemplation, he decided this would not be the wisest choice.
Jameson decides he wants to do something for the boy who saved his life and asks Peter what he would like. All Peter asks for is to get his old job back working for the Daily Bugles website, but on the condition that he can miss a day or two or three when he must be out doing his good deeds as Spider-Man. Jameson does not believe that Peter’s request is anything special and asks Peter why he wants a job when he has such powers. Peter simply states that with all he can do, it will never pay his bills and he would like to go to college someday. Hearing this, Jameson states he will pay Peter’s way through college, but that is not what Peter wants. Like a sucker, he wants to earn the money himself. Jameson really seems like he wants to help Peter so he agrees to give him his job back with a hefty pay raise and opens Peter a college scholarship. But what would a story be without a catch.
Jameson states to Peter he just wants one thing in return – the Daily Bugle gets all exclusive story rights to Spider-Man stories. With a shake of the hands Peter agrees and then leaves. As he is heading home, he comes across a fight between another costumed hero and a bunch of crooks on roller blades. Spider-Man swings in to help save the day and discovers the costumed hero is none other than Kitty Pryde, formally of the X-Men. A while back, she had been revealed as a mutant (a crime in the Ultimate universe now) and ever since has been in hiding. After the fight is won, Peter talks her in to coming home to see Booby Drake (Iceman), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch), and Gwen Stacey, whom are all living with Peter and Aunt May. Just one big happy family. Kitty Pryde decides to go home with him and they walk into a surprise birthday party for Peter (his 16th). The party is a great success. When Mary Jane gets a private moment with Peter she hands him Tony Stark’s gift, a pair of newly redesigned web shooters.
In last month’s podcast, we discussed some theories on how the ‘death’ of Spider-Man was going to go down. My own personal theory was that Marvel won’t kill off their huge money maker (even if it is only in the Ultimate universe), but that they would kill Tony Stark and have Peter Parker take over as Iron Man. Essentially, this would “kill off” Spider-Man. After reading this issue, I believe my theory is soon to be fact!
In conclusion, Brain Michael Bendis, who has written Ultimate Spider-Man since the beginning, has always been a favorite of mine. For a while there he was pumping out dozens of comics each month and I have never been disappointed. Bendis has kept Ultimate Spider-Man at the top of my reading pile for years and I’m sure it will remain there for years to come. I will admit I miss Mark Bagley’s art, the artist for the first hundred plus issues, but for me it’s more about the story nowadays. I am finding that when the art in comics is great, it is just an added bonus.
If you haven’t checked out Ultimate Spider-man, do it! I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Now let’s get off our collective asses and buy some comic books.