Ultimate Spider-Man # 115
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
At the start of this issue we see Spider-Man captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. since he went after Norman Osborn and was intercepted by Electro. This is Part 4 of Death of a Goblin, which has a focus on Spider-Man’s relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s with the superhero population.
Nick Fury is away, so Carol Danvers runs S.H.E.I.L.D. and uses Spidey as bait for the escaped Green Goblin. Kitty Pride, Spider-Man’s ex, gets involved and wackiness ensues. We continue on until a big fight leaves us with a minor cliffhanger ending. This is standard superheroics done well, so no real complaints here, except maybe that Danvers should have more important objectives than chit chatting with Spidey. It’s also a bit silly how easy it is to get into the Triskellion, a super villain prison.
The real point of the issue is Parker’s characterization. He naturally quips, but here uses it to hide his uncertainty about his life. He’s trying to grow up, a difficult enough endeavor without his secret identity constantly screwing everything up. This is dramatized well, but obviously unresolved. The comparison drawn is the Green Goblin attacking innocents, so while Peter’s life is messed up by the secret identity, that same secret identity protects those he loves and other innocents. This is a perfect illustration of why Spider-Man does what he does and far more effective than Peter’s stock â€œso I can sleep at nightâ€ answer.
The art is fine, but the colors make everything look strange, particularly the lighting which seems to change a few times, particularly at the finish of the issue. I’m also wildly sick of government bases being lit in blue.
This is fairly stock superheroics, but it dramatizes why Spider-Man does what he does and why he is who he is quite well. The contrast of the Goblin and who he and other villains choose to go after makes the point even more poignant. Anytime a middle issue in an arc can advance the plot properly and still manage to get across important thematic points, that issue is worth a read.