Now that Ultimate Spider-Man has had his heroic death, it's time for everyone to mourn. We've seen this a lot lately but this one really stands out.
At 160 issues, Brian Bendis truly created something special with his take on Spider-Man. The early issues of Amazing Spider-Man were great but never really had the same feel that Bendis has created while focusing on the fact that he was a teenager. We all groan at the mention of a story dealing with a comic book death but the Death of Spider-Man has been more than just a story about a death. It was a story showing how a young superhero really stepped up into officially becoming a true hero.
After a character dies, we usually get a period of mourning (not the case with Bucky Barnes but that's another story). If you're familiar with the supporting characters in Ultimate Spider-Man you might have an idea what to expect. But that will not prepare you for the emotion involved. I was actually (politely) cursing Bendis for making me teary even though you could see what was coming. To me, that's a sign of a great story. Bendis had me invested in his character from the beginning and seeing the fallout managed to reach me emotionally.
Of course Mark Bagley did an amazing job on the art as well. He beautifully captured the emotional expressions on everyones faces.
Does this issue get cliché at moments? Of course. It's an issue dealing with the aftermath of the death of a character. Seeing the way it affects everyone is what works. Maybe I'm getting sappy in my old age but it was a fitting after Ultimate Spider-Man #160.
You can't (or shouldn't) have a comic book death without seeing the reactions of those close to the character. I highly enjoyed the Death of Spider-Man story arc despite being tired of the numerous comic book deaths we've been seeing. Bendis simply made it work. He should us how heroic his version of Spider-Man could be and made his death matter. Because this is the Ultimate Universe, death here isn't the same as it usually is. If Ultimate Peter Parker does somehow return, he's going to do some tricky maneuvering to make his return work. Brian Bendis made me get emotionally attached. You might have an idea what type of reactions you'll see and how they play out but that doesn't lessen the impact. Combined with Bagley's depiction of the emotion on each character's face, this truly was a touching issue.