Ultimate Spider-Man #126 Review
Ultimate Spider-Man #126 Review by Donna Jackson
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
Had enough Venom in your comic book intake? If you answered yes, then you may want to skip this arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, where the symbiote takes a starring role as it seems to be doing in all Spidey books these days. Granted, in an issue where Venom is the main focus, there's little Brock to be seen. Instead, it's Peter Parker as the host of the hungry, hungry symbiote, with Nick Fury and the Ultimates possibly giving the series a new M.O., which may both thrill and scare loyal fans of the series.
Long time readers will remember that in the Ultimate universe, the symbiote did not come from outer space; it was developed by Eddie and Peter's late fathers, in an attempt to create a cure for cancer, using both their son's genetic structure. The power of the suit is no less addictive to Brock, and he's soon captured by the Silver Sable and taken to Trask Industries, run by an old friend of Parker and Brock's fathers, to try to separate Eddie from the monster inside him. Brock escapes in search of Spider-Man, soon finding the symbiote attaching itself to Parker, turning him into Venom.
Trying to redeem themselves from their own horrid book, the Ultimates make an appearance to try to subdue Peter as Venom takes over him. A note in the story recap reminds us that this story takes place before the Ultimates arc currently wrapping up, as if Bendis is trying to tell us to not judge their appearance here by their own series. Not to worry. Cap, Thor, Iron Man, and the rest return to their glory thanks to Bendis. You won't find the horrible, over-the-top, dialogue that plagues the otherwise talented Jeph Loeb's Ultimates 3, and Nick Fury is still the definition of comic book cool. He has played a big part in previous Ultimate Spider-Man arcs, and by the conclusion of this issue, it looks like he's set to do so again. Without spoiling too much, it feels as if the book is going into a more 'global' direction with its storyline. This may ultimately (no pun intended) prove to be bad for the series.
The brawl between the Ultimates, Silver Sable, and Venom Parker is written well, (and looks great thanks to Stuart Immonen) but every fan of Ultimate Spider-Man knows that the book is always best when it focuses on Peter Parker and his screwed-up life. Brian Bendis keeps this tradition going with some great, “OMG, is this really happening to me?!“ innocence that I love about this book. The sparse dialogue narration as Venom, witnessing himself tear through heroes like Thor and Iron Man, stands out in the midst of the action sequence. Why was there a need to de-mature the Peter Parker in regular continuity, and try to make him more relatable to kids, when we still have a 16-year old in the Ultimate Universe who perfectly characterizes the young superhero? Peter Parker is no more an awkward loser here than any other teenager juggling his life and that makes him more likeable than a jobless thirty-year old living with his elderly aunt, superhero or not.
The cliffhanger of this issue could be an ominous sign that the book may soon be one of the few to carry on the Ultimate name. Maybe this would be good; at its best, Ultimate is the best Spider book today. Though this issue and this arc don't showcase that level of quality, it's an intriguing read nonetheless.