Written by Brian Bendis
Art by David Lafuente
Quick recap of the first issue for those that missed it - it's six months later, the Daily Bugle went under, Peter works for a burger joint and is dating Gwen, not MJ, Kong and Kitty broke up, too, and there's all kinds of new villains in town, including Mysterio, who threw Kingpin out a window, and some new guy in a red hood going by the name of the Shroud. All fascinating stuff and the first issue did a lot to restore my faith in the flagging Ultimate line.
Flashing forward to the current issue, I'm fairly disappointed with the offering. I think the biggest problem lies with the Peter x Gwen relationship and MJ being kicked to the curb. It's not just because I like MJ more (I actually preferred Kitty as his girlfriend), but the fact this isn't the Gwen that appeared in the original series. She complains about possibly being shanked in the cafeteria despite being the girl that pulled a knife on someone at school before, is kind of a ditzy blonde making cutsey talk with her boyfriend and is far from the strong, confident girl I remember. I know she's died and come back as some kind of mutant clone Carnage thingy and there's going to be differences, but it just feels like it was put in place to have change for the sake of change. It's not story driven and I can't see how it'll be explained well either.
In fact, Lafuente does some excellent work with Spider-Man and the fight sequences in this issue. It's fluid and you can feel the motion throughout the fight. On the non-Spidey side of things, he's still very expressive with his faces, although there's a few oddities in the issue, like one panel with Gwen and Peter, but, otherwise, I'm quite pleased with his addition to the title and he's a worthy follow-up to Bagley and Immonen.
Speaking of the fight scenes, I enjoyed the new villains, the Bombshells, a mother-daughter pair of villains who's bomb-like energy blasts only work when they are near each other. At first I thought it was the Ultimate Molly Hayes, of Runaways fame, but I think it's safe to say with her potty mouth that that's not the case. I think the fight may have gone on a bit too long for my tastes, especially with what appear to be joke villains, possibly the new volume's Shocker, but I still liked it nontheless.
Verdict - Check It. It's a whole different ballgame from the original Ultimate Spider-Man and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the changes, most of which I'm finding myself disliking on some level, but it's still a good comic that most will enjoy.