By the time any reader that paid cover price for the series has finished “Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man” #3, they will have spent twelve dollars on a story that, once upon a time, would have been delivered in the span of a single issue of a comic book or less. Once upon a time, however, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Dave Marquez wouldn’t have been able to do their very best to give readers an emotional story that has room to tug on the readers’ heartstrings.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe is on the verge of extinction, with Galactus assembling his machinery and consuming portions of Earth. New Jersey has ceased to exist, a fact that sparks Miles Morales into action, despite his need to explain himself to his father. Miles has learned that with great power comes great responsibility and his actions in this issue prove that as he rushes in for the greater good, trying to help those in need.
While twelve bucks is a hefty price to plunk down for three comic books, if those three books carry artwork from Dave Marquez, the pricetag doesn’t quite sting as much. Marquez showcases the scope and power of Galactus as an errant Great Britain Air flight attempts to find non-existent Newark Airport. Marquez isn’t on hand simply for grandeur and scope. The artist brings a masterful range of expressions to the story. That comes in handy as words fail to find their way to a painful confrontation between Miles Morales and his father. Lashing out against Spider-Man, the elder Morales has no choice but to let his boy go do what needs to be done. Marquez also draws a fantastic Cloak and Dagger, updating them just enough to make them contemporary. Colorist Justin Ponsor layers in snazzy coloring and bombastic effects to make this comic a wonderful visual spectacle.
With news beginning to break of the future of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, the conclusion of “Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man” #3 is rather anti-climatic. Apart from some rescuing and a confrontation with his dad, this series didn’t really do much. Sure, it provided scope from an everyman’s point of view regarding Galactus, but the impact of Galactus on this corner of the Ultimate Marvel Universe could have been handled in the span of a few pages. This story was extrapolated as a crossover without bearing the weight or reward of truly crossing over. Yes, it adds a little more background and depth to the “Cataclysm” saga, but the real reward is primarily for Spider-Man readers. This story is a “Cataclysm” detour, but an “Ultimate Spider-Man” treasure.