Wednesday is my favorite day of the week, because that is the day new comic books hit the shelves. Back when I was a super busy person, whenever possible I made Wednesday my day off, and spent the afternoon drinking coffee and reading comics. Now, even with my life is in its holding pattern, and ample free time on my hands, I still treat Wednesday as a sort of respite from the rest of my life and hunker down with the new issues.
caveat: This blog contains spoilers regarding issues 159 and 160 of Ultimate Spider-Man.
Quick crash course in comics for non-fans: There are two Spider-Mans… Spider-Men? Anyway. The first debuted in 1962, the second, known as Ultimate Spider-Man, in 2000. They are part of separate comic “universes,” and their stories are in no way related. What happens to one in no way affects the other. Lucky for Spider-Man ’62, because today Ultimate Spider-Man died.
Before anyone chimes in that comic book characters seldom stay dead for long, let me point out that unlike in the main continuity, death in the Ultimate line of comic books is final. Many major characters have been killed, including Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops, Professor X, Daredevil, and Wasp, and none have returned from the dead as characters often do in other comic books. So if Peter Parker is dead, he’s probably staying dead.
Opinions differ, but in my mind Ultimate Spider-Man is not only vastly superior to the longer-running original series, it is hands down my favorite comic book series of all time. The characters seem far more believable than those of any other comic book, and the interactions and stories are as gripping those found in any “real” literature. The Ultimate characters talk and act the way I imagine such people would in real life, and very little seems gratuitous or contrived. And they make hilarious jokes.
As for the story arc and death, as with most of the rest of the series, it was epic and awesome and some other adjectives, too. Seeing Aunt May kill Electro was an unexpected moment of bad-assery, and the final moment, when Peter died knowing that though he failed to save Uncle Ben, he did save his Aunt, well– that was a clever and powerful moment, and the perfect book-ending to his tragic life.
I don’t have a deeper point to this blog. I’m pretty much just writing it because I’m sad. Even though Peter Parker is not a real person, his death affected me rather deeply. For 11 years I’ve read along as Brian Michael Bendis has unfolded his story, so it seems in some ways as if a real person has died. Apparently someone else will put on the costume and assume the identity of Spider-Man, and I hope the comic will continue to be great, but it won’t be the same without Peter Parker.