by Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Marquez (Artist), Justin Ponsor (Color).

Spoiler Alert!

The Story: In the wake of Cataclysm Miles attempts to find his way as more than one familiar face returns.

The Review: Damn! after 200 issues this series continues to just run like clockwork, it’s rarely if ever less than good and the most recent volume of Ultimate Spider-man continues to deliver. In the aftermath of Galactus destroying New Jersey and attempting to consume the earth, Miles Morales is attempting to make sense of his life now that his father has abandoned him.

While his new status as an orphan is at the forefront of his mind so too is his ongoing romance with Katie Bishop, this marks an enjoyable distinction from the previous volume where the relationship was relatively underdeveloped. While it’s nice to see more of a renewed focus on the romance of this book, Katie is such an unknown factor compared to MJ, Gwen and Kitty in the Peter Parker days that it’s hard to buy that Miles is considering coming clean with her. Hopefully readers will get to learn more about Katie and who she is as a character in upcoming issues.

Miles dealing with his father’s abandonment of him is pretty interesting now that Miles has no parental figure in his life, it further separates and distinguishes Miles from Peter Parker. It can be rough for a teenager to not have the adult guidance that a parent can provide and so it’ll prove interesting to see how the character deals with this absence moving forward. As of right now Miles has a support group that consists of Ganke, Katie, MJ and Gwen but the lack of an adult presence in the book does make it feel like a critical element is missing, Spider-man is about youth but it’s hard to make that point without contrast.

The new villains in this issue are probably the most uninteresting part of the entire issue, there is so many other pre-existing elements that demand the readers attention and excitement that it does a bit of a disservice to these new characters who don’t get enough time or development devoted to them to make them stand out. It probably would have been better to introduce them in the second issue and allow the character work along with the two character returns do the heavy lifting in this issue.

Speaking of the two returns; Holy crap Peter Parker and Norman Osborn are back! Well, so it appears anyway. It never really seemed as though Norman was dead to be fair, he appeared to die at the end of almost every story he appeared in over the course of 200 issues so it would seem inevitable that he would eventually return to plague Miles. It seems the mystery character at the end of issue #200 was indeed Peter Parker, I use the word ‘seems’ as I’m hoping that Peter is either a clone or an illusion. There are so many ways out of the situation and personally I don’t see the plus of having Peter back after spending two and a half years developing Miles.

Still, the returns do serve to build anticipation and excitement for future issues which hopefully will continue to build the world around Miles and deepen his relationships (I’m looking at you Katie).

Grade: B

Stray Thoughts: If the Oz formula brings Norman back again and again then it stands to reason that it can bring back Peter and even Miles but this creates the ‘Wolverine Problem’ in that it does remove a lot of the jeopardy for the characters. I really do hope that it’s not the case.

-Liam Kelleher