Spoiling the end of both Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs New Ultimates 3 and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 157 would be easy. And considering they both have the same ending, as both story arc combine together, it is impossible to read one without spoiling the ending of the other.
The only way to do it, is to read one page of one comic, then read the corresponding page of the other comic. Actually not even that will work. Here’s a recommended reading order… Ultimates pages 1-14, Spider-Man 1-18, Ultimate pages 15-19, Spider-Man 19, Ultimates 20 Spider-Man 20, 21, Ultimates 21 -23.
I know, shocking. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is $3.99 for only 21 pages. But Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs New Ultimates makes up for it. Even if it is still a stupid title.
So what separates the two? Probably what always has.
Ultimates is spiky, Millar’s constant attempt to surprise or rankle the audience, giving us gags about Nick Fury’s resemblance to Samuel Jackson, the realities of bodies transformed by super powers, Prime Minister David Cameron compared to Tony Blair with the realties of international politics, drunken superheroes, and pawns on a chessboard being matched against each other until someone throws a new, unexpected pawn in from another game.
Leinil Yu’s art is freneti and action packed, you feel the impacts on the page. And there are plenty of impacts as each of the Avengers and the Ultimates go up against each other mano a mano. And yes, that includes Cap and Nick Fury.
Ultimate Spider-Man has always been of a different tone. Bendis has always focussed this book around family and friends, every action, every fight, every battle hving consequences seen so visibly in the eyes and lives of others. Where the narrative of Ultimates brushes away consequence, allowing for large widescreen plot twists, Ultimate Spider-Man keeps it close and personal. Even when Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin are kicking several swatches of faeces out of each other. People hold each other close, because this is the last time they may see each other. That has always felt real in this book, and now with this overarching arc, Death Of Spider-Man, we’re closer than ever. Bringing back Mark Bagley probably helps too, snapping the reader back to those earlier issues.
And despite the arc’ name, there is another death here that won’t get reported, that won’t get a death polybag, that won’t make a New York Daily News headline. But it foreshadows, it underlines the seriousness and it shows a chnge in the political makeup of the book.
No mentions of David Cameron though.
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.