Review by Frank Plowright
After the tragedy of Carnage, Ultimate Spider-Man needs something lighter, and Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley provide that with a story of Peter Parker and Wolverine waking up in each other’s bodies. Want to see Wolverine having to maintain Parker’s identity by attending school? Or Peter slicing a finger off when he moves his hand (not as gruesome as it sounds, given Wolverine’s healing power)? Well the full dose of mismatched fun is provided as Bendis stretches out the mystery of how it occurred in the first place.
That light relief is just the start of a collection in which the Human Torch, the Ultimates and Doctor Strange also put in an appearance. The Human Torch guest slot starts as a refry of an old Spider-Man story of Johnny Storm turning up at Peter’s high school, but then takes a completely different direction. What makes this as much fun as the Wolverine story is how both characters are integrated into Peter’s world rather than Spider-Man’s, so they’re interacting with Mary Jane and Flash Thompson. From the very start Bendis and Bagley have ensured Peter’s day to day life doesn’t take second place to Spider-Man, and the pay-off here is charming, like Archie with superheroes. Bagley’s very strong on giving personality to ordinary people, and that shines through the Wolverine story where has to draw Peter Parker, but with Wolverine’s mannerisms and reactions. Without ruining the surprise revelation of the final story, it requires differentiating several different realms and lives, for which Bagley alters his style. He’s used the 3D style without black outlines before, and that’s not his best approach, but it’s interesting to see him mix that with linework in the same panel, and the abstractions toward the end are really effective.
This is another solidly entertaining collection, lighter than Carnage, with which it’s paired in hardcover as Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 6, and in bulkier paperback as Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection Vol. 6. Hobgoblin is next.