Comics : Ultimate Fallout #4

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This review was first published on: Oct 2011.

Background...

With Spider-Man’s death his friends and family, along with the people of New York, must come to terms with his passing. Some people, motivated by anger, are taking action, in Mary Jane’s case, to expose Nick Fury for his involvement in Peter’s death. Others like Kitty Pryde, Johnny Storm, and Bobby Drake are giving up being superheroes so that they don’t end up like their friend.

In Detail...

Ultimate Fallout #4
Oct 2011 : SM Guest
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man Appears
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer
Artist:  Clayton Crain, Salvador Larroca, Sara Pichelli
Lettering:  VC's Clayton Cowles, VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Frank D'Armata, Justin Ponsor
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Senior Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Outside of a bar in New York City a man comes crashing out of a glass door into the street. Another individual, who happens to be the Kangaroo, follows him outside asking about the money that is owed to him as he starts kicking the downed man. A shadow falls over them both telling the Kangaroo that he isn’t being very nice at all. Standing there on top of the roof of a car is a Spider-Man, whose costume is a little different and who has knee and elbow pads on, asks for an apology.

The Kangaroo tells Spider-Man that he thought he was dead and even the bloodied guy on the ground says that dressing up like that is in poor taste. The Kangaroo and Spider-Man start fighting in the street and while at least one eye witness is recording this on their cell phone, the Kangaroo mentions that the last they met he told Spider-Man that he’d kill him. Spider-Man starts to say he has him mistaken for someone else when the Kangaroo tosses him through a window into a pizzeria.

After a little more fighting a few more pedestrians comment on how it is in bad taste wearing a Spider-Man outfit after the real one has just recently died. Also this Spider-Man mentions his spider sense buzzing and his tone sort of implies that he doesn’t really know what it is. The Kangaroo lefts a car up over his head to smash Spidey 2.0 but a quick jab to the throat and a kick to the gut causes the Kangaroo to drop the car on his head, knocking himself out in the process. After asking if anyone has called the police Spider-Man jumps onto the side of a building and runs up it as a bunch of questioning New Yorkers look on wondering what the deal is with Spider-Man.

Up on the roof top a visibly exhausted Spider-Man pulls off his mask to reveal someone who is definitely not Peter Parker, but instead a young boy of black descent. With sweat pouring down his face he starts questioning whether the costume was in fact in bad taste.

Elsewhere, in the Negative Zone, a scarred Reed Richards is trapped apparently by the Ultimate Universe Heroes, who defeated him after he went crazy. It appears that Reed is trying to find a way home and just as it looks like he might be able to, his computer monitor informs him that the targeting system is offline. Reed slams his fists down and issues an apology to his friend, Ben.

After a few minutes and a couple of words of encouragement to himself Reed somehow manages to get the targeting system online and make it so that the computer now has enough processing power for it. The computer informs him that it is ready to go with a message “>>>READY TO JUMP.” With a flash of energy Reed is now standing in a small, shallow crater in a forest where he thinks to himself that he is going to solve everything.

We now find Reed in a huge, white, clinical environment wearing a black jumpsuit and what appears to be a virtual reality helmet covering his eyes. Standing in front of a large dome he is addressing a large number of people all wearing white jump suits that they are about to be trained and that many of them are not going to make it.

In Washington D.C. Valerie Cooper, who is the Special Advisor to the president on Superhuman and Mutant Affairs, is sitting at a little bistro with another woman named Brett who is a foreign affairs correspondent. Brett starts telling Val that she’s sitting on a pretty big mutant story. She was up in Vancouver interviewing a man with terminal cancer who apparently is a mutant and was incarcerated by the US government in some research facility. The spin here is that this appears to be the earliest instance of mutant testing that she has ever found.

Conveniently the man’s mutant power is sort of a psychic memory sharing ability and using this power was able to take Brett back with him into his memories so that she could see first hand what he saw. Val starts telling her that things for mutants were bad back then but now there’s no way they would be able to do anything remotely questionable again. That doesn’t really matter to Brett because during one of her memory trips she happened to see a map with the location of the facility on it. Then, back in the present time, she did a public record search on it and to her luck she found a whole file on it, which happens to be waiting for her back at her office.

Val makes a stupid excuse about being allergic to the ice cream she’s been eating and leaves. On her cellphone she starts barking pretty drastic commands saying that if they don’t step up and do something in a couple of hours there’s going to be riots and chaos in the streets, because by that time the world is going to find out that the United States government is responsible for creating mutants. Da Da Daaaaaaa.

In General...

This issue, like the previous issues in this series, is broken up into three separate stories. The second story is extremely confusing, having to do with Reed Richards who apparently went a little crazy and had to be dealt with by the Ultimate Universe heroes. What’s really confusing is at first he’s in the Negative Zone, then using his computers he teleports himself out of the Negative Zone and into some forest but then immediately afterwards it appears that it was all some strange virtual reality simulator or something. Not sure what’s going on here, but seeing as how I’m really only interested in the Spider-Man section, I’m not going to worry about it.

The third section involves an investigative reporter having a meeting with Valerie Cooper and happens to inform her that she has stumbled upon the location of the earliest case of mutant research by the US government. She also tells Val that there is an entire file on the facility waiting for her to read through back at her office. Val takes off as quickly as she can because this reporter has just stumbled on evidence that proves that the US government is responsible for creating mutants. If this information gets out there’s going to be hell in the streets.

Now onto the first story in this comic and the one everyone is really interested in. Here we are introduced to the new Ultimate Spider-Man who saves the life of one man from the Kangaroo and also happens to piss off a number of people because of his costume looking really similar to the late Spider-Man’s. We get to see that this new Spider-Man is really new at this because in fighting with the Kangaroo he actually gets hit a few times and it appears that he doesn’t know what the buzzing in his head (his spider sense) is about. After dealing with the Kangaroo Spider-Man takes off to the roof tops and unmasks and we see the true identity of this new Spider-Man and low and behold, he’s not white.

Overall Rating...

This has been a big issue, appearing in newspapers and on TV reports because it’s the first appearance of the new Ultimate Spider-Man and he’s is not white but a mix of African American and Latino. This one little fact has garnered so much attention to the book that only having a new Spider-Man who is not Peter Parker wouldn’t have come close to, and some people think it’s nothing but a marketing ploy; that Marvel is just doing it for the publicity. And maybe they are but really, who cares. I don’t.

One of the things I love about the Ultimate Spider-Man series was that Bendis could do whatever he wanted to do with the characters and the stories without worrying about messing up with the Spider-Man icon. Killing off Peter Parker and replacing him with a half black, half latino character is great. There are so few Marvel superheroes who are an ethnicity other than white, that by replacing the identity of one of the most popular superheroes in their catalog with someone who is not white is innovative. I will admit it’s not as big of a deal because this is only the Ultimate version of Spider-Man and that the identity of the one true Amazing Spider-Man is still intact, but it’s still a step forward with the series. They could have replaced Peter with any of of his supporting cast who are already established in the comic, but instead they chose someone who is completely unknown, opening up the door to new stories that are unexpected, unpredictable. I, for one, am looking forward to the new direction the Ultimate Spider-Man comic is going.

That being said the new Spider-Man story was just one of three that made up this comic. The brief exchange with Valerie Cooper and a reporter that revealed to us that the US government is responsible for mutants is intriguing, but the story involving Reed Richards really brought this comic down as a whole. I had no clue what that story was all about. First Reed is stuck in the Negative Zone and then almost instantaneously he is able to fix the computer problem that had him stuck there in the first place. He gets out only to land in a forest somewhere but then a second later he’s in a completely new location that is completely white where everyone is wearing strange jumpsuits and Reed informs everyone there that he’s going to train them and that their training is going to be so rough that they are not all going to make it. What the hell? This poorly written mess of a storyline brought this book down to only 3.5 webs. If it wasn’t here and we only had blank pages or ads in its place, I would have rated the book at least a 4 or even a 4.5.