Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3
By Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez
One of the most impressive elements of Brian Michael Bendis’ writing is his ability to capture and portray human emotion through his characters and their interactions. As Galactus has arrived in the Ultimate Universe, and there is a possibility for the world to end, Bendis writes this title from a more intimate perspective. Despite the fact that buildings are falling around them, the issue centers on Miles, standing unmasked in front of his father. The final issue of this arc, and maybe the series, Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 has a lot of ground to cover.
Sometimes, amidst all of the devastation and destruction, readers can lose connection with the gravity of the events taking place. Galactus’ appearance in the Ultimate Universe has been shown in over a dozen books by now, but the exchange at the start of this issue, featuring a large commercial plane suddenly facing the world-eater, manages to remind readers just how great in size and threat this being truly is. Helped by a magnificent two-page spread by David Marquez, this opening is quite powerful. And as hard as that hits, the story returns to Miles and his father for something even more impacting.
Here, the issue finds its emotional core. Even as effective as it is to show the scale of Galactus, the weight of the exchange between Jefferson and Miles is all the more difficult to experience. Bendis and Marquez combine to communicate so much in just a few panels. It is a fantastic sequence in the issue and one of the better written exchanges in this era of the title. There is a real sense of history and loss that readers will feel between these two. There is real tragedy on display in this exchange, but soon the effects of Galactus find them. Miles is forced to act, and as he runs to help others, the reader may find him or herself wondering when this kid got to be so incredibly strong.
Unfortunately, it is at this point that the issue starts to really lose momentum. Miles reunites with his costumed friends that he’d previously teamed up with in an attempt to save people in the city. The rescue effort takes up several pages but lacks any real urgency or purpose. Simultaneously, as this is slated as the last issue of the title, at least for now, far too much is left up in the air. It looks as those some of these loose ends may find resolution in the main event title. But for such a long running series, it is disappointing to have such a lack of closure within the pages of this title. Regular readers will have to seek out the other books connected to the event to find out if closure will even occur or what the future may hold for the characters they have followed for so long. Surely this can’t be the last of the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, can it? If so, it is not the ending the title deserves.