The weekly “Ultimate Fallout” series hasn’t exactly flown under the radar given the extensive media exposure to the fourth issue where the new Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales debuted, but it also hasn’t garnered much attention aside from that portion of the fourth issue. It’s been an odd hodgepodge of a comic, pulling in two directions as it provides an epilogue/coda to Peter Parker’s life and looks to the relaunch of the Ultimate line beginning with next week’s “Ultimates” #1. More an anthology series featuring shorts that looked to the past or the future (rarely the present) than anything else, it’s left many baffled about its point and purpose.
The final issue isn’t much different than previous issues, with bookended shorts by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, and Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman popping up in between for minor contributions. The Bendis/Bagley portions follow up on elements the two set up in the first two issues of the title: Aunt May and Gwen Stacey struggle with the attention that’s come from Peter’s death and consider an offer from Tony Stark to relocate them anywhere in the world, while Mary Jane and Nick Fury discuss her quest to tell the truth about who killed Peter, at least in her mind. Both are somewhat suitable epilogues to the duo’s work on “Ultimate Spider-Man,” though the Fury presented here doesn’t quite match other interpretations we’ve seen to date.
The problem with these scenes and the other work done by Bendis and Bagley at the beginning of the series is that their involvement in this title is an odd choice. Why not simply publish a one-shot that shows the reaction to Peter’s death? The rest of the series, when written by Spencer and Hickman, has been short teasers for upcoming elements in their Ultimate books and that, too, seems like a strange thing to base a six-issue weekly mini-series. Will the new titles address the information revealed in this series? If so, why bother with this book at all? If not, why put such essential information in anthology comic that was incredibly hit or miss issue to issue?
The two parts that Spencer and Hickman contribute here look great with art from Eric Nguyen and Mitch Breitweiser, and offer details that readers of “Ultimate X-Men” and “The Ultimates” will need. They don’t, however, do much beyond looking good and providing a piece of necessary information each. They’re little throwaway shorts that will be made redundant when the titles they’re leading into launch. The Hickman tidbit is a particularly important revelation that is delivered in such an understated fashion that I almost admire them for doing it this way.
Looking back on the series as a whole, it remains a puzzling offering from Marvel, so inconsistent in quality and content that, unless you were already sold on the new Ultimate books and wanted to get a taste of what’s to come, you weren’t buying this. For those looking for closure to “Ultimate Spider-Man” before the Miles Morales era begins, “Ultimate Fallout” #6 offers some of that. It doesn’t do a whole lot else.