It looks like Cataclysm really is that sequel to Spider-Men we all wanted, and I could not be happier about it, as this issue sets up Miles Morales (and a surprise partner) going the other way and heading to the 616 Universe to stop Galactus. Because really, that’s the only way the Ultimates can stop him.
In this issue, Iron Man realizes that every time they fire at Galactus, he just absorbs it, and makes himself stronger, so what can they do? Miles Morales certainly doesn’t know what to do, as this sort of thing is so incredibly out of his league, which made it all the more heroic when he just leapt into action. Hitching a ride on the back of a Helicopter and landing on Galactus’ helmet, which is just a great, iconic Spider-Man moment, regardless of which Spider-Man it is, true heroism right there. Just as Galactus notices the tiny Spider, and is about to grab him, Thor flies in to save the day, and the Ultimates and Spider-Man get to work saving people on the ground.
It’s here that Iron Man realizes that they can’t just attack him, and also that Galactus is not from this universe. In fact, he recognizes that he has the same energy signature around him that the Marvel Universe Peter Parker did when he came to the Ultimate Universe, and so they are from the same place. Luckily, the 616 Mysterio is still a prisoner of the Ultimates, and they go to interrogate him, and even though he’s zonked out on drugs, he recognizes Galactus, and remembers that it took Reed Richards to save his universe. The problem here is that, the Ultimate Reed is a maniacal villain, and none of the heroes trust him. Everyone heads to the weird, purple portal that leads to the Marvel Universe, but just when Iron Man is about to go through, Ultimate Amadeus Cho shows up and tells him he can’t go through, that if it goes wrong, they can’t afford to lose his genius.
Here, Miles gets his second big heroic moment of the series, when he volunteers to go, and it does make sense. He travelled through the portal before, and he knows their version of Peter Parker. But then… someone else volunteers, and it’s none other than evil Reed Richards! Boo! Hiss! Thor smashes him, which is satisfying, but Reed manages a convincing explanation about why he should go, that he’s super-smart, and that, if the 616 Reed is not there (which, as readers of Fantastic Four know, he isn’t), then he has the same DNA and fingerprints and can access his labs and find out how to beat Galactus. I loved this scene, and it’s cool to see Reed somewhat redeem himself, as the end of the world is big enough to bring him back around. He’s still a villain though, and I will always love that change Bendis made, it’s one of the coolest things about the Ultimate Universe I think.
So, Miles and Reed are off to the Marvel Universe, whilst Galactus is still busy making his doomsday machine. The issue ends with the Ultimate X-Men watching all of this on TV and deciding to go get involved. I have no idea what’s going on with the Ultimate X-Men these days (they have a Utopia now?) but I’m excited to see them come into this story and make this truly a universe-spanning event.
This was an improvement over #1, as stuff actually happened, and even better, that stuff was a tie-in from one of my favourite comics of 2012, Spider-Men, the fact that Bendis is picking up those threads is making me very excited, and I can’t wait to see what Miles and Reed get up to in the Marvel Universe. Will we see 616 Miles Morales? Will the Superior Spider-Man recognize Miles? What will Ant-Man and the FF make of evil young Reed? So many cool possibilities, and there’s still tons of crazy shit to happen in the Ultimate Universe, especially now with the X-Men. Bagley’s art was typical Bagley quality, he especially nailed the contrast in size between Spider-Man and Galactus, and it’s just great to have him back in the Universe he defined.