This issue opens on an image with no words that says more than any caption ever could. We see Aunt May on her late nephew’s bed and holding his Spider-Man costume to her chest. These silent panels depict a mother in grief in a way that only comics can, and Bendis and Bagley masterfully capture Aunt May’s sorrow.
We then see that there is a media circus outside of the Parker home, and I thought that this was a very clever conceit. Bendis is absolutely right to say that this is the way people would react to the death of Spider-Man. Aunt May can’t leave the house because of the absurd amount of people that have gathered on her lawn, and I thought that this was really a strong statement for Bendis to make about the kind of impact this death would have, both on society and Peter Parker’s immediate family.
Bendis transitions from these silent panels into a conversation between Aunt May and Gwen Stacy. Here, we see what Bendis does best: dialog. The dialog here is extremely believable and natural. You could almost believe that these are real people discussing the passing of their famous loved one. The two of them discuss what they’re going to do next and ultimately they call Tony Stark and accept his offer to relocate. It seemed a little easy to just whisk these characters away to one of Tony Stark’s palatial villas, but it makes a certain amount of sense. Aunt May and Gwen Stacy are now infamous for being the closest people to the late Spider-Man, and Bendis has a point in suggesting that the media would never let them live it down.
The issue closes with a scene written by Jonathan Hickman that features Nick Fury as he confronts Mary Jane. Nick Fury’s sadness radiates off the comic page, and I thought that his confession to Mary Jane that he blames himself for Peter’s death stole the show. Nick Fury admits that he wanted to groom the kid, and we see that he was almost like a son to the commander of SHIELD. Instead of being played as a tough secret agent like usual, here is a Nick Fury who is emotionally vulnerable and bereaved by the realization that he allowed this death to happen.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Ultimate Fallout. What I expected to be a cash-in on a superhero snuff story turned out to be a poignant and touching tale. While I don’t like the idea of killing off Ultimate Peter Parker, I have to concede that his passing was handled extremely well.