Home > Ultimate Comics > Ultimate Spider-Man #64

Ultimate Spider-Man #64

August 20, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Carnage Part 5

Confronted with the creature that killed Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker must fight for his own life.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: J.D. Smith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Cover Art: Mark Bagley & Richard Isanove
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Is this the end of this story arc? In five issues? It certainly seems like the end… and as far as endings go, at least for this series, it’s slightly disappointing.

Gwen Stacy is dead and the creature that killed her – a mixture of DNA from Spider-Man, Curt Conners and the experimental cancer dip that Richard Parker was developing – is confronting the wall-crawler at his home in Queens. An enraged Peter sends Conners to safety and faces the monster himself.

Bendis chooses an unusual sequence for this issue – the first half of the book is the first half of the fight, then he jumps ahead in time and we see the conclusion of the fight in flashback. Is this for dramatic effect? Is it to call Peter’s recollection of events into question? It’s not confusing from a storytelling standpoint but it is sort of confusing as to why it was structured this way.

The book does end logically, but it doesn’t tie up any loose ends. Far from it – nearly every page of this issue screams of dangling plot threads that are being left flapping in the breeze to allow a return to this storyline in the future – which would be fine if it wasn’t quite so obvious. The ending of this issue is, at this point, something of a cliché — the sort of thing that again makes logical sense, but has been done so many times (particularly in the Spider-Man titles) as to have lost all meaning. Kind of like killing off Jean Gray in an X-Men comic.

Mark Bagley’s artwork is a saving grace this issue. He does an excellent fight scene, with great poses and facial expressions and some really dynamic angles. None of this is made easier by the fact that our hero is not in costume for the battle and that the villain is really an amorphous blob that just chooses to take humanoid form when it’s convenient.

Based solely on his origin, I actually find this incarnation of Carnage far more interesting than his mainstream Marvel Universe counterpart, and I feel confident that much more will be done with him (it?) in the future. For his debut storyline, though, I feel like more could have been done. Most of this storyline, as pained as I was to read it, was really well done, so it’s a shame that this conclusion is kind of a letdown.

Rating: 7/10

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