Well they finally did it. After many months and many books subtitled "Death of Spider-Man," Peter Parker officially bit the big one. Oh....uh...spoiler alert. And oh yeah, I started a blog! But anyway...
By reuniting artist Mark Bagley and writer Brian Bendis for the arc, Marvel might as well have set up an automatic withdrawal from my checking account, so I was damn pleased when this story delivered.
When the all of the ultimate baddies in Spidey's life team up with a shared knowledge of his secret identity courtesy of a supposed-to-be-dead Norman Osborne/Green Goblin you know things aren't going to be good, but usually in the funny books, the villains usually decide to hold it over the hero's head or something equally silly and status-quo-preserving. Here, Bendis takes it to a simple, but much more realistic place. Gobby and his gang mobilize to Pete's Queens home to murder his family and friends to draw him in and to murder him too. Simple. Realistic. Impactful.
You fear for the lives of Peter's supporting cast as he does, and then, when Peter shows up ready to enter the fray of an unwinnable fight ,with a bullet through his stomach (courtesy of Ultimate Frank Castle), your concern immediately turns to him. I mean, he's just a kid here. Sure he's Spider-Man, but he's what? 16? And here is a group of twisted grown adults murdering him in front of his family, friends and neighbors. Really, Bendis doesn't kill Spider-Man, the lovable cartoon character, he kills Peter Parker, the lovable teenager. That's how this becomes such an emotional story.
The follow-up to all this is shaping up to be just as interesting as this story. It starts in this week's Ultimate Fallout #1 (dare you not to cry) and will continue in a sort-of relaunch for the Ultimate line: All-New Spider-Man ('cause we need some Spidey in our lives, even if it ain't Pete), X-Men, Ultimates (i.e. the Avengers) and Hawkeye. I'll be reviewing those in the coming weeks.
The first printing of "Death of Spider-Man" is all but gone now, but you should still be able to track it down. If anything, buy the complete trade when it's published, sit down and read it in one sitting.
Just don't let anybody catch you crying over a cartoon character.