Ever since Miles Morales returned to the mantle of Spider-Man, costumed heroes have been popping up all around him, the most recent of which are the Roxxon Corporation experiments-gone-awry team of Cloak and Dagger. In Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #26, series writer Brian Michael Bendis introduces another Roxxon byproduct into the fray in the form of Lori Baumgartner aka Bombshell. Just as he did a few issues ago with Cloak and Dagger, Bendis explores the tumultuous origin of the character though interestingly enough, it’s done through Lori’s mother Lana, the original Bombshell of the Roxxon Corporation.
Bendis, with assistance from artist Dave Marquez, nails the emotional beats of Bombshell’s origin with each successive flashback. Seeing Lana in the first few panels as a willing and naïve participant drives the later panels in which she is fleeing the Roxxon Corporation in a panic over not only what they’ve done to her but to her unborn child, now an unwilling host of this experiment. In terms of art in these flashback sequences, Marquez draws his lines much rougher and emphasizes shadow a great deal, so much so that it looks like the issue has two different artists. But no, Marquez is just that talented.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #26 also benefits from the continued interactions between Spider-Man and Spider-Woman, both of whom share exceptionally witty banter while chasing the current Bombshell through the streets Queens. Jessica ribbing Miles for being out of practice as Spider-Man is not just hilarious but helps to accentuate the fact that Miles was not Spider-Man during the twelve-month jump in time that the series took on recently. It’s entirely plausible that Miles would be somewhat out of practice with his web shooters. His wit was not given the same vacation, thankfully.
I’m still not entirely sold on the Roxxon Corporation being the big threat of this “Spider-Man No More” arc, but I take some solace in the fact that Bendis introduces another villain late in this issue that is much more interesting than just a generic evil corporation. Nevertheless, Bendis has been juggling a lot of characters between the pages of his Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and has found reasons for his readers to care about all of them. It’s hard to find one character in this universe that isn’t worth the panel space each month.