Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: The Death of Spider-Man

With the popularity of the 2002 Spider-man movie series starring Tobey Maguire, and now the recent The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield, the story of this Marvel favorite is more well-known than ever. However, as comic book fans know, there are many different versions of the same character's story. In this graphic novel, we see the "Ultimate Comics" version, which differs from the original Spider-man comic series.

This particular graphic novel chronicles, as the title suggests, the Death of Spider-Man. The story shows Spider-Man working with members of the Avengers team, such as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. The story goes south, however, when there is an explosion on the Queensborough Bridge that requires S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention. While they are preoccupied, Norman Osborn (as the Green Goblin), along with a group of other notorious Spider-Man nemeses, decides it is the opportune time to kill Spider-Man.

Beyond the main plot, Peter Parker's demise, we are shown smaller events that remind us of Peter's "normal" identity as a high school boy. In the midst of all the fighting and saving the city, Peter is fired from his fast food job because of frequent absences (due to his secret identity), and he celebrates his sixteenth birthday with friends and his girlfriend, MJ. These everyday activities just serve to make the ending, and Peter's death, even more tragic, because we're reminded that he's just a kid.

I thought the graphic novel was well-written and well illustrated. It definitely kept my attention. I think it would be a strong choice for students who are more visual learners, but I don't think I would ever make it a required reading for all students for multiple reasons. Specifically because comic books happen in a series, like a TV show, and this one in particular has us coming in at the end of the series. I enjoyed the book because I have some background on Spider-Man's story, but a student who doesn't would be very confused by what was happening and who some of the characters are in relation to Spider-Man, like the Black Cat and Kitty Pryde. I would most likely have the graphic novel available in my classroom for activities like Sustained Silent Reading, where students can choose their own books to read.


Henry Buckner said...

I'm a huge fan of the Spider-Man comic series as well and I liked the way you described this particular one because it portrays his human side. In a sense it emphasizes the fact that normal kids can be heroes too. I agree that if you come into this graphic novel without prior knowledge of Spider-Man and his adventures then, as a reader, you might be lost. This is the type of story that will easily appeal to students. Overall, great job.

Anonymous said...

I never was into Spider Man like that although the movies are awesome. I did like your post and how you made it seem so real. I went and got my nephew a spider man comic and he made everything up as if he was his own spider man, yet he was still a hero. So no matter what Spider man will always be a hero. Although I think this will never be a requirement for the classroom, I think that students will still enjoy reading this if they are really into Spider man and other comics

baboonfan said...

Nick Petersen: I think the Spider Man genre has kind of been done to death, no pun intended. So many movies, sequels, books, re-imaginings, I'm just done with it. Maybe to a younger audience it would be fresher. You can catch the attention of some comic book buffs and pump up the excitement in a classroom. I just know that I couldn't do it. I'm too much of a contrarian. Even now I'm just hoping and praying that the Twilight series will finally die down and be forgotten, unfortunately to be replaced with a new novel by the same author.

Sean Andrew said...

Spider-Man being one of my favorite superheroes, these ending of their story lines saddens me. I completely agree that comics help with visual learners. They can go back after they are finished reading and look over exactly what they read using not only the words, but the pictures. I agree that using this comic in particular would benefit the students because it is the end of the title.

Jchacon said...

It is always a interesting read when a hero that seems indestructible dies. Reading your review reminded me of the death of Superman series. It seems more likely that Spiderman could die but I was so surprised when I read the the invincible Superman died (I'm aware that Superman is DC and Spiderman is Marvel which makes them kind of difficult to compare). I think I'll pick this up or look for this full series at the comic store. It is more believable to me that a character like Peter Parker could die, and at the same time the fact that such a powerful hero dies gives the characters and the comic worlds themselves seem more real.