By Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (pencils) Wade Bon Grawbadger (inks), Justin Ponsor (colors)

I was prepared to be disappointed when I saw the cover of this issue. I figured, with the X-Men on the cover, we’re going to have a big obligatory fight scene filled with lots of one-liners and so on. I even groaned a bit when I saw Magneto grace last issue’s pages. Maybe I’m just a bit tired of mutants. Whatever it is, it felt contrived.

With all that out of the way, Ultimate Spider-Man #120 is an excellent read! There are a few bits of Liz Allen acting completely stupid as she flies around talking to herself, but given the situation she’s in, I can’t blame her. However, it all could have been done off-page and there’d be no disruption to the story.

So, Liz Allen is Firestar and Magneto isn’t there to recruit her, but to take her to her father. With his identity completely unknown to her, Magento uses this as a bargaining tool to get her to come with her. And for most of the issue, her father’s identity is kept a secret, but one look at her mom should give it away – I mean, I guessed it right the first time! Anyway, in her confused state, Liz debates the possibility of going with Magneto, despite the constant pleas of Spidey and Iceman for her to do otherwise.

Eventually, the X-Men show up and tell Liz to join them. Liz won’t have it from anyone. She tells everyone to literally “go to hell”, and runs off into the arms of her best friend, Mary Jane. A lot of “good” happens from here on, with Peter making another crazy decision involving his waning secret identity. Still, this issue’s got a lot of great moments and dialog. I’m also pleased that it didn’t run another one to two issues, either. Bendis wraps the story up perfectly and Stuart Immonen delivers another fantastic issue that has something for everyone. Tender moments, action scenes, moody night shots – it’s all here! Someone please remind me to buy a page of his artwork in the near future. It’s that good. (Grade: A-)

– J. Montes