With the Ultimate Universe thankfully sticking around, Brian Michael Bendis takes a breather before jumping right back into Miles Morales’ adventures to celebrate 200 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man and remember the much-missed Ultimate Peter Parker. As much as I like Miles, I still miss Peter and get sad when I think about his death, so this was a bitter-sweet emotional issue for how it looked to the past, but also to futures we could have had, but never did.
It’s the 2-year Anniversary of Peter’s death, so Aunt May has invited everyone to a special memorial celebration at her house. Bendis begins with a few short scenes of everyone arriving. Miles and Ganke have taken the bus, and are both feeling kind of awkward about attending this ceremony for someone they didn’t know. Well, Miles is feeling that, Ganke is just nervous about the Lego gift he’s made for Gwen Stacy. Miles thinks this is a bad idea, but it turns out not to be, as Gwen loves the gift and even kisses Ganke. It’s not made clear what he made for her, but it was a nice moment, and great for Ganke to get a win.
MJ decides to go to the party alone, without her new boyfriend, which makes sense, and we also see Spider-Woman having trouble getting Bombshell to agree to come. I think my favourite was Iceman, Firestar and Human Torch flying to the house, where the close proximity of two fire-people caused Iceman’s slide to melt. I will never tire of Bendis’ depiction of idiotic Iceman, it’s so funny.
Once at the party, we get the aforementioned Lego-inspired kiss between Ganke and Gwen, and Tony Stark sends over way too much food to make up for not being there. Kitty Pryde arrives, and we also get a surprise appearance by Kong! We haven’t see Kenny for a long time, and it was never really explained where he and Kitty went together, so it was great to have him back, and to reunite with everyone. He’s been a part of this book since #1 after all. I wonder why Flash Thompson didn’t come to the party? Also not attending is J. Jonah Jameson, who sits outside in his Limo but can’t bring himself to go inside.
The party mainly involves everyone sitting around and talking about what kind of future they imagined for Peter if he hadn’t died. These were great not because they brought back previous USM artists like David LaFuente, Sara Pichelli, Mark Brooks and of course Mark Bagley, but because they all (except for Iceman’s, but then he seems to have just invented the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon) seem like plausible ways Bendis could have gone with the book. It seemed like he was setting up a lot of stuff for Ultimate Peter, like his growing involvement in The Ultimates, before he just up and died. All of these would have been interesting comics, but I do think that what we actually have is for the best.
It was awesome to have all of those artists return (although I was surprised that there was no Immonen pages, he drew some of this book’s best stories), and Dave Marquez once again was excellent on the main story, his facial expressions got across some high emotions wonderfully.
Gwen then says she feels like they should do something good to someone who needs it to honour Peter’s memory, and Miles comes up with just the right thing. They go to the Queen’s homeless mission, and donate all of the leftover food to the people there. These wordless few pages were just great, and actually made me almost well up. I didn’t cry like I did when Peter actually died, or his Funeral issue, but still, to see that he didn’t die for nothing was just great. Miles is a true successor, and just as good a Spider-Man, and not just because of his powers, but because of who he is as a human being.
The issue ends with everyone leaving the party, but there’s a surprising twist, as we see a shadowy figure with a very familiar hairstyle watching on. We are obviously meant to think this is somehow Peter Parker back to life, but I don’t think it is. I imagine it’s one of the remaining Peter Parker clones from the Clone Saga, perhaps The Scorpion or Kaine. Did either of those die? I can’t remember. But yeah, having Miles go up against a clone of Peter will be very interesting indeed.
This was just a wonderful, emotional way to mark 200 issues of this series, I hope we get 200 more!