[Comic Publication Date: 4/2/14]
Call it an egregious omission, but I haven’t read most of the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man series with Peter Parker under the titular mantle. It was when new character Miles Morales was introduced as Spider-Man that I began reading and only then did I retroactively read a handful of issues from the old series to understand what happened to Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe, then I never looked back again. I’m confessing this not to atone for past mistakes but to help form a basis for how I feel after reading Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #200, which I enjoyed only in small doses. For the most part, this oversized and overpriced issue acts as a retrospective on the past and only toward the end does it transition into a primer for the future. Featuring Miles prominently certainly compelled someone like me to continuing reading, but the issue nevertheless felt like being invited to a friend’s house and watching him interact with all of his old friends.
Commemorating the second anniversary of Peter Parker’s untimely death, this issue brings back many of Peter’s old friends to commiserate at Aunt May’s house and share stories of what they each believe Peter would have been liked had he lived a full life. It’s a simple premise that leads to a few chuckle-inducing “What If?” scenarios (mainly involving Ice Man and the Human Torch) but the material is not as substantial as it needs to be to justify the $4.99 price tag. Had I been a reader that was entirely invested in the Ultimate Spider-Man series under Peter Parker, perhaps seeing the awkward exchanges between Kitty Pryde and her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth or the quips traded between Human Torch, Ice Man, and Firestar would have drummed up some delightful nostalgia. There’s something to be said for creating warm memories within readers, but since this issue also serves to jump into the new Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man series beginning soon, it’s more or less a reminder that times have changed in the Ultimate Spider-Man universe.
Dave Marquez is no stranger when it comes to this title, so the fact that he provides most of the art on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #200 is welcoming. He’s aged these characters appropriately without drastically changing them to be unrecognizable, so there’s definitely a familiarity that both past and present readers of this title will notice. An entire stable of artists provide two-page spreads for the sequences in which characters envision their life with Peter in the future and there’s little to squabble about in such short contributions to this issue. David Lafuente’s Kitty Pryde sequence is the standout, telling a rich and complex narrative in a jumble of images as the character herself refuses to tell the story. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll go back and see what the Peter Parker/Kitty Pryde relationship was all about.
GNN Rating for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #200: [usr 3]
Ultimate Spider-Man #200 serves as a reflection of the series past, present, and future, but it’s hard to justify spending the extra money for just a stroll down memory lane. I imagine those picking up the forthcoming Ultimate Spider-Man series will not be missing out having not read this, so this issue is really for those that want to relive what the series has been in the past and catch up with some old friends.