Current Reviews


Ultimate Spider-Man #77

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"Hobgoblin, Part 6"

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Scott Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Peter tries to reason with the transformed Harry, but his message is falling on deaf ears, and as the battle rages through the middle of town, it catches the attention of Nick Fury, and a special armored unit designed to take down the Hulk is brought into play. As Peter pleas that they spare Harry's life, Harry's senseless rampage leaves Nick Fury with little choice. However, Harry's defeat does little to lessen Peter's frustration level, and as the issue ends Peter's anguish impacts another area of his life.

Comments: This issue is downright depressing, and one is left to wonder if Brian Michael Bendis has gone a little too far in making Peter's life a living hell. There are no moments in this issue where I got the sense that Peter wasn't fighting a losing battle. Issue after issue of this type of story is going to make this series into a bit of a chore to read. Now I will concede that one of the more endearing elements of Spider-Man is his willingness to keep fighting the good fight when he's given very little reason to continue to do so. But there comes a point where one wants to see some sign that his efforts aren't completely pointless, and the central point that this title seems to be trying to express is that no matter how hard he struggles to keep it all together, Peter is destined to lose this fight. Still, even though the mood is downright sombre, the issue is never boring, as Peter's struggle to keep Harry alive when the S.H.I.E.L.D. squad arrives is a lovely bit of drama and the payoff scene where Peter lashes out at Nick Fury made for a powerful little moment. The final line that Nick Fury offers up is quite ominous, and it should be interesting to see how this plays out. I don't believe this series has ever played with the ever familiar Spider-Man plot where his powers are removed and Peter attempts to live a normal life. This issue also offers up a nice scene where Peter decides to break up with Mary Jane, and this scene actually managed to pull far more emotion to the surface than I would've expected. The scene where Peter pushes MJ away after it looks like they've resolved their differences made for an extremely powerful closing moment. In the end though this title is getting a little too downbeat, and while I'm still fully invested in the material, the depressing cloud that has settled over the title is starting to sour me on the title.

It becomes a little easy to take Mark Bagley's art for granted as he's a rock steady presence on this title, but issues like this one should keep readers delighted that Bagley calls this book home. This issue is an action intensive affair, and Mark Bagley is a very good artist when it comes to the delivery of high intensity action. There's a great bit in this issue where Spider-Man works to halt his upward flight as he slides up the side of a building. The desperation of Peter when Harry is taken out by the S.H.I.E.L.D. unit also made for a solid bit of action, and the art also did an amazing job of the scene where Peter lashes out at Nick Fury. However, the strongest sequence in the issue would have to be the final two pages where the art conveys the impact of the Peter/MJ break-up. MJ's face perfectly sells the roller-coaster of emotions on this ever important scene. I also rather enjoyed the cover image, as Spider-Man's plight is well presented in this single image.

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