Ultimate Comics Spider-Man V2 #1 Review

Posted by Spiderfan001 20 September 2011

The new Ultimate Spider-Man is here!  Can Miles Morales fill the gigantic shoes that Peter Parker left behind?  Let's find out!


The Story

Eleven months ago: Norman Osborn enlists the help of a scientist called Doctor Markus to try and recreate the genetically altered spider that bit Peter Parker.  Norman reveals to Markus that he created Spider-Man and threatens to kill him if he tells anybody.  Markus is so shaken by this that he doesn't notice that one his specimens, spider no. 42, climbs out of its containment and escapes.

A thief (who looks a lot like the Prowler) breaks into Osborn Industries.  As he's stealing money, spider no. 42 crawls into his bag.

Thirteen year old Miles Morales goes with his parents to Brooklyn Visions Academy, a prestigious high school that decides who gets in through a lottery due to the large number of applicants.  Miles' name is the last one called.  Although his parents are thrilled, Miles feels guilty that he got in at the expense of others.

Miles goes to visit his Uncle Aaron who, unbeknownst to Miles, was the thief that broke into Osborn Industries.  As Aaron goes to get Miles a popsicle, the spider crawls out of Aaron's bag and bites Miles.  Miles starts to foam at the mouth and then passes out.  Miles wakes up a short time later to find his dad and his uncle arguing (Miles' parents didn't know he was there).  Sick of the fighting, Miles runs out of the apartment with his father in pursuit.  Miles' father loses him in a crowd, and begins to shout his name.  Miles tries to get his father's attention, but finds that he can't as he starts to turn invisible...

Thoughts

It's still too early to say whether Mr. Morales will make a worthy successor to Peter Parker, although I like what I see so far.  Even though we spend a lot of time with Miles, we don't find out too much about him, except that he seems to have the same guilt complex that Peter had.  I enjoyed how Brian Michael Bendis began the issue the same way he began the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man.  It got me right in the mood to begin Miles' story.

By far the highlight of this issue for me was Sara Pichelli's artwork.  She delivers the best Spider-Man work of her career here, once again making Ultimate Spider-Man one of the best looking books on the stands.

As long as you don't mind Bendis' decompressed storytelling, the new Ultimate Spider-Man is definitely worth a look.  Bendis and Pichelli are delivering a unique take on the Spider-Man story that should intrigue old and new fans alike.

        




Spidey Speculation Scorecard for Spider-Island: Part 4

Posted by Mike McNulty, a.k.a. Stillanerd


With last week’s release of Amazing Spider-Man #669, we’re now at the halfway point with “Part 3” (even though it’s really part 4) of the big Spider-Man crossover, “Spider-Island.” Which means, once again, we get see just how well I did (or rather didn’t do) with my series of predictions for this storyline. As things stand now, my score could go either up or down, so let’s see which way the pendulum swings, shall we?

PETER AND CARLIE HAVE A TEAM-UP: TRUE. HOWEVER…

In hindsight, I should’ve counted this last time since their team-up actually began in Amazing Spider-Man #668. But I do believe I said their team-up would lead to potential problems in their relationship. However, I thought this would center mostly around their mutual desire to protect one another (Peter because of his need to take on the burden of responsibility himself in knowing Carlie is out of her league in handling the kinds of things he has to deal with, and Carlie, thinking that because she’s a cop and not knowing Peter is Spider-Man, that she’s far more qualified than Peter in handling criminals). Only it really had more to do with Peter continuing to keep secret from Carlie he’s Spider-Man--big mistake considering how it’s, you know, Carlie’s JOB to spot things out of the ordinary and whose pet peeve is dishonesty from those she cares about.

Thanks to Peter having to use his “Way of the Spider” fighting-style taught to him by Shang-Chi to save her from the spider-powered trio of Chance, Scorcher, and the White Rabbit, Carlie now knows Peter has still been keeping secrets from her even after she thought he told her everything when he claimed he merely designed Spider-Man’s tech. Not only that, she almost figures out that Peter is Spider-Man, and probably would have if not for the psychic blindspot (and Peter, as Spidey, quickly eating a sandwich before she could analyze the bite marks). In any case, Carlie’s not happy with him. Whether or not this leads to Peter finally deciding to tell Carlie the truth remains to be seen, it’s certainly going to lead to an awkward conversation between the two of them and perhaps a possible break-up.

But first, Peter has to deal with Carlie’s other little problem (which, given I'm not exactly a Carlie fan, also happens to be my favorite scene from the issue):

Which also means…

THE INFECTED START MUTATING INTO GIANT SPIDERS: TRUE.

Besides, the Jackal said last issue this was going to happen, right? And did it ever! First we learn see the Shocker not only sprouted four extra-arms as seen on the cover for the issue, but to his and Spidey’s mutual horror, it was also revealed he had fangs and four extra eyes. Then, as shown in the above panel, Carlie began to undergo what appeared to be an even more vicious metamorphosis. And if this is what “stage two” looks like, then ’ol J. Jonah Jameson is about to be next.

But there’s one particular exception: Mary Jane Watson. Both last issue and this one single out the fact that MJ seems to be the only one who does NOT have spider-powers (with even the recap page flat-out saying this), even though, thanks to a few teaser images, she looks like she will. Is it simply a case where she’s about to get infected? Or is she already infected and doesn’t know it? But if she’s already is one of the infected, then why isn’t she mutating like the rest? I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think that what Reed Richard said about those who already have powers being immune to the infection may also apply to her. If that’s the case, how and when did she get her powers? And why doesn’t she know she has them? Maybe my crazy theory from awhile back about MJ's possible spider-powers perhaps being tied to "One Moment in Time" and the Extremis nanovirus may not be so crazy after all. Who knows? She might even hold the key to curing the “spider-flu.”


PETER USES HIS SPIDER-SENSE JAMMERS AS A CURE: FALSE. HOWEVER…

Peter’s spider-sense jammers (the one’s he created back in Amazing Spider-Man #654 during the “Revenge of the Spider-Slayers” arc) were about to be used, just not in the way I thought they would be. Rather, they were going to be used to act as a “psychic barrier” in order to prevent any of the infected from breaking quarantine. Doubtful, however, it will come up again and be instrumental in curing those of the “spider-flu.” The same goes with Reed Richard’s rather logical, but goofy, inoculation method by giving the non-infected the minor superpower to detect magnetic north, since, as the virus being revealed to be airborne and Jonah already being infected imply, it may be already too late to administer that “vaccine.”

However, if my hunch is right about how Mary Jane may have acquired spider-powers and that she will be instrumental in curing those infected (and not just having a spider-powered team-up with Peter), then perhaps the solution lies in administering Tony Stark’s Extremis Nan virus once again. After all, if it can re-write a person’s DNA to give them super powers, then it’s possible that it can also re-write a mutated person’s DNA to make them normal. Of course, since Extremis is technological and not biological in nature, it may need to be administered by technological means. Maybe the broadcast antenna on top of the Empire State building should do the trick?

THE QUEEN IS THE MASTERMIND: TRUE. HOWEVER…

She wasn’t revealed to now look like Gwen Stacy like I thought. I guess after both the Gwen Stacy clone and the proto-Gwen Stacy clone were both killed off in the Jackal story for the Spider-Island: Deadly Foes one-shot, having another “Gwen” may have been one too many. And as mentioned in previous articles, the Queen as the mastermind makes a whole lot of sense given what we’ve seen of the female mastermind’s abilities, her motivations for mutating people into spiders, and even the true identity of the Spider-King.

Unfortunately, her being revealed as the mastermind may not have had the impact it could have, especially for those who were not familiar with the "Avengers: Disassembled" tie-in Paul Jenkins wrote for Spectacular Spider-Man back in 2004. So why then did Dan Slott choose to keep her identity secret? Maybe it was because the Queen, as a character, was believed to be dead and also a character readers didn’t think would be returning, but the downside is that she, like or not, is a pretty obscure villain.

Also, I think the odds the Queen will be “the life [Spider-Man] will have to take” as foretold by Julia Carpenter has just gone up tremendously. After all, the Queen is the one who can telepathically control this ever growing cluster of spider-people, and a colony cannot thrive without it’s Queen. If that’s the case, it means Peter will have violated his own vow that “no one dies on his watch,” including the bad guys. And having forced to go against his vow and take a life, it may lead to Peter wondering whether or not he should even continue to be Spider-Man, maybe to leave New York for a little awhile to think things over, perhaps visit his Aunt May and Jay Jameson in their new home in Boston for a story arc or two.

EDDIE BROCK, A.K.A. ANTI-VENOM, WILL DIE: FALSE. HOWEVER…

It looks like he may not be Anti-Venom anymore after this event. Thanks to a Newsarama interview from Venom writer, Rick Remender, and one of Marvel’s “It’s Lethal” teasers for Venom #7, it looks like not only will Eddie Brock still be around, but may have a "reunion" with his long lost pal, the symbiote. Does this mean Eddie Brock will become Venom again? Or is Flash going to stay as Venom while Brock becomes symbiote free? Or maybe there will be TWO Venoms? Either way, it looks like Brock’s career as Anti-Venom is about to come to an end.

This also means that the “long time member of Spidey’s cast” forced to make the “ultimate sacrifice” in Amazing Spider-Man #670 may wind up being Mary Jane after all, especially if it means trying to save her ex from the onslaught of ravenous, newly mutated spider-people. But since she’s apparently appearing in later issues, this also means that the “ultimate sacrifice” will also be a fake-out, and maybe used to set-up the issue ending cliffhanger to revealing MJ's powers.

RESULTS

So, thanks to all the back-and-forth with getting things right or wrong with certain caveats, the end result--thanks to the story officially showing the infected mutating into literal spiders, and the news of Eddie Brock will still be alive with his fate yet undetermined--my score now stands at:

0

Okay, rather it STILL stands at 0. Oh well...until next time, as I leave you with my second favorite scene from Amazing Spider-Man #669:

(Because I am a J. Jonah Jameson fan and his rants never get old.)

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