Ultimate Spider-Man #30

Background

Someone's out there impersonating Spider-Man, robbing banks, terrorizing tellers, and engaging in very un-Spider-Man-like behavior. Since Ben Urich was witness, he's able to give his paper (and Peter's workplace) the exclusive story, except that he's not convinced that the robber was really Spider-Man. Nevertheless, Peter is taking the subway home, which is a fairly rare thing for superheroes to do.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, it turns out Gwen Stacy, everybody's favorite troubled teen, will be spending a weekend with May and Peter. This is at the request of Gwen's father, Police Captain George Stacy, who may or may not be taking a shine to Peter's dear auntie. Peter's girlfriend and perpetual comic paramour Mary is none too thrilled about this, hurt by recent events in her life (like getting thrown off bridges by crazed, mutated industrialists), and clearly jealous of Gwen.

While studying, Peter hears on the news that the impostor is involved in a standoff with the cops. As Spider-Man, Peter goes to investigate, only to get shot in the shoulder by the cops.

The final page shows a fallen Spider-Man, surrounded by cops, in a growing pool of his own blood.

Story 'Emergency'

Spider-Man is handcuffed by the police, a painful thing for him since he's just been shot in the shoulder. Before they can unmask him, Spider-Man, still handcuffed, escapes by running up a building as the cops shoot at him some more. Despite the pain, he is able to break free of the handcuffs, only to find a police helicopter waiting for him. Spider-Man dodges the bullets and escapes into the night, hiding in a dumpster.

Meanwhile, Mary is in bed, making a diary entry about "The Bridge Incident." Peter's Aunt calls her and Mary covers up for Peter's absence. She gets another call, a plea for help from Peter. The next thing we know, Mary's exiting a cab and entering a dark alley, where she finds Peter, unmasked but still in costume, and still losing blood. Clearly, a hospital's not exactly an option, and telling May after having lost Ben to a gunshot isn't either. Mary comes up with a sort of third option.

Peter, out of costume, stumbles into an Emergency Ward, still bleeding. Mary has taken him that far, but avoids any association with him once inside and being treated. He came in with no ID, which is smart, since, as he recovers, a police officer is questioning the doctors that treated him. As the officer crosses the curtain covering Peter's bed, he's escaped without a trave. The cops call for a lockdown of the whole Ward, but Mary manages to slip out.

On a roof, Mary reflects on what a rush this was, but then, once everything's settled, she grabs hold of him and expresses her relief. Later on, May Parker has fallen asleep on the couch waiting for Peter to come home. She wakes up during some late night talk show and walks upstars to check on her nephew, only to find Peter asleep. Once she exits his room, Peter stops pretending. In pain, he turns on the TV to find one Sergeant Bullit making a statement that the NYPD will no longer be tolerating the presence of vigilanties, and that Spider-Man will be brought to justice.

Peter sums up his frustration with the appropriate interjection: "Ow...", though from the angry look on his face, it's not entirely from his shoulder.

General Comments

And another unwritten rule in writing Spider-Man, or any superhero for that matter, bites the dust. A teenager, a kid, really, shot in the shoulder. He knows it has to be treated, but can't risk outing himself, especially not now that the cops are after him. It's not so much him getting shot but Peter having to deal with the consequences of it. He's powerful, but certainly not invincble. And who's there to help him in his greatest hour of need? It's not Earth's Mightiest Heroes or any other of the costumed set (as DeFalco is found of having Spider-Girl say), but a fifteen year old girl. And this particular fifteen year old girl is herself wrestling with the consequences that come with having been in on Peter's secret.

But Mary does come through for Peter. She leaves the safety of her bed, the security of her diary, at the blink of an eye to walk into a very dangerous situation, all to help Peter who, for once, is helpless. Only once she knows he's safe does she let the emotions take over. I always say character development is the strong suit of this book, and we just got a huge window into who Ultimate Mary Jane Watson is. And I like Mary, and the fact that she got to be the hero in this issue.

The art works equally well in expressing the urgent tone of the aptly titled "Emergency". The blood is not gratuitous, but it is constantly there. Bagley's great at drawing emotive faces, although, like the public at large, we don't see any of it when Peter is masked. Also. when Mary is lying to cover Peter, we can see the pain it's causing her. Clearly, she doesn't like all the lying that comes with the job of confidant. Oh, and mad props for the panel where Spider-Man, handcuffed, is running up the side of a building. Absolut Bagley.

Overall Rating

Everything I look for I a comic: action, suspense, romance, good writing and good pencils. But we can't go handing out five webs left and right can we?

Can we?