All-New Ultimates #4

Background

In the Ultimates' first battle, they faced the Serpent Skulls, a gang of dealers selling with lethal drugs. A man named Detective Schreck was killed during the conflict, but last issue, his body left the morgue. Spider-Man and Lana, using her boyfriend, tracked down a drug dealing and destroyed the supply, arresting many criminals.

Story Details

  All-New Ultimates #4
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man Appears
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Writer: Michel Fiffe
Artist: Amilcar Pinna
Cover Art: David Nakayama
Lettering: VC's Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Designer: Idette Winecoor

Off the West Side Highway, Detective Terry Schreck, who has evolved into a green and grotesque creature, walks aimlessly. A careless driver crashes into Schreck and he falls into the sewer.

In the Coney Island Arcade, Kitty faces Lana in air hockey while Jessica ridicules Tandy playing a shooting game. Two fans approach Kitty for an autograph, but she dodges them by explaining that she isn’t who they believe she is. Disinterested, they quickly leave, and she says, “Let’s get out of here before I’m swamped by my adoring fans.” Tandy fails at the arcade game she’s playing, and the heroines depart for the beach. While purchasing drinks, they notice the police arresting a drug dealer. Tandy explains that she feels guilty taking a day off, but Lana has no such problem. Suddenly, the criminal escapes the officer, but Tandy quickly subdues him with a sneaky light dagger. They girls are a bit disappointed about the interruption, but they continue to the beach.

The girls set up towels and umbrellas and two guys hit on them. Lana acidly deters the punks, and Tandy spots them with a syringe. Kitty applies sunscreen to Jessica, explaining her back’s healing well. Jessica’s more concerned that her jacket is ruined, but she rejects Kitty’s claim to sew it up.

In the Westside Church, Cloak is channeling the dark forces or something until he hears a creak. Two dealers plan on setting up in the abandoned church until Ty kicks them out. A man holding a pipe for defense yells, “Whas going on here? Why you super-punks always gotta mess wid’ as regular people, man?” Cloak explains they were trespassing and confiscates his pipe.

Elsewhere, Spider-Man swings to the movies with Ganke on his back. He lands to reload his web-slinger. Miles asks Ganke if, by unwillingly kissing Diamondback in All-new Ultimates #2, he’s cheating on Katie. Ganke replies, “As long as you didn’t cross the line.” But he suggests that he doesn’t tell Katie because it may make her feel bad. “Was your secret identity not enough?” he asks. Miles is a bit concerned he may have enjoyed Diamondback’s kiss. As they resume to the movies, Ganke asks his friend to inform him when Tandy breaks up with Ty. Miles threatens to drop him but he says, “Then, who’s going to give you advice?”

At the beach, the heroines are drying off. When asked where Cloak is, Tandy explains he needs alone time. She loves him, though, and she’s okay that they’re “practically joined at the hip.” Kitty rejects Lana’s attempt to get into her personal life, but when she asks Jessica, she becomes a bit flabbergasted. After Kitty and Tandy say she doesn’t need to tell them, Jessica confesses that she’s a clone of Spider-man. “I’ve been coming to grips with who I am for a while. I mean…I’ve got somebody else’s memories and feelings to wade through. Am I that person or are these thoughts my own?” she wonders. She explains that, because she is a girl with a boy’s brain patterns, she’s come to the conclusion that she wants to go with what feels all right. And being attracted to other girls feels right, particularly redheads and Jewish girls.

Lana asks if she felt anything when Peter died, and Jessica explains, “That’s funny because after he died, there was a split second where it all made sense.” As the girls congratulate their friend for her bravery, Lana answers a phone call from her boyfriend. After hanging up, she tells them she must go to Poey because he sounds suicidal and she has to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.

In Poey’s apartment, he ends his call with Lana, crying. A melon is placed next to his head with a gun. The melon silences the shot and Poey is killed.

Meanwhile, a gang war commences around the city, between the Serpent Skulls and rival gangs. Sidewinder takes down the Zodiacs on the Lower East Side, as the Wolfpack is decimated by Anaconda in the Bronx. In the Meatpacking District, The Black Racer annihilates the Supreme Soviets. The Nasty Boys are terminated by Death Adder in Harlem.

Soon, Lana enters her boyfriend’s apartment and finds his corpse on the floor. Suddenly, a mist paralyzes Lana, and Diamondback enters the room with two goons. She explains that they will not be killing her. When the goons suggest raping her, Diamondback, infuriated, beats them up. Talking about her plans, she explicates, “She’ll be our little puppet. We’ll get her to lead us to wherever that youth brigade of hers hangs out. Then we’ll take good care of them.” Lana begins to cry blood.

General Comments

While this issue may be light on plot, this is quickly the best of the series so far. The girls get an off-day and Fiffe writes some astounding character development. The dialogue, which I found to be clumsy and poor the past few issues, is phenomenal this issue; it feels like Fiffe may have taken some cues from Brian Michael Bendis’ dialogue for teenagers, which is a perfectly good idea. The tone of the book switches around from serious to light quickly and strategically. The humor works here, and I’ve finally begun to like Fiffe’s depictions of Tandy and Kitty. Jessica’s new lease on life is a neat step for the character.

Of course, the biggest event in this issue is how Jessica revealed that she’s gay, so I may as well devote some time to talk about it. It’s not really surprising that Jessica is gay, considering she has a boy’s brain in her body and I’ve heard talk about it on a discussion board. After this issue, Jessica is just as interesting as she was before, and it’s nice to see a writer finally clean up her character. (I'm just saying that Jessica's costume still sucks.) It’s cool to see Marvel continuing its mission for diversity, as it's been very good at in the past few years. (I'm just going to mention my observation that every teen book seems to include a prominent gay character, while the mainstream Marvel books only have gay supporting characters. I think it makes a bit of a statement about modern society.)

Another interesting aspect of this issue is Miles’ two-page confession to Ganke. The moral dilemma he has is a very understandable one for a teenager and could lead to interesting tension is his next battle with Diamondback. Of course, this sequence could have very well been included simply to include Ganke, the lovable fan favorite character, and Miles, the only reason this title sells, and it may go nowhere. (Also, it slightly spoils Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #3, which is released a few weeks after this.)

Lastly, Amilcar Pinna’s art is as bad as I’ve come to expect. The characters are creepy-looking and the odd angles screw up everything. Every once and a while a face expression is okay, but the majority is dreadful. It seems like Pinna is the only artist at Marvel who has stayed on a newly launched title for more than three issues, and he’s probably the worst artist at Marvel right now. I think I may have bad luck...

Overall Rating

Gosh, I would really like to give this issue 4 webs, but the art is so bad...