Ultimate Spider-Man #35

Background

Peter looked up Eddie Brock, an old childhood friend. Eddie, an emerging scientist himself, then showed Peter the final project of their respective scientist fathers: a black liquid called "the suit," The Suit, which was tailored to a patient's DNA (in the case of the test sample, Peter's father), was meant to enhance the body's natural healing abilities to the point where even cancer would be eradicated.

When Trask Industries, the employers of the older Parker and Brock, found out that the suit had military applications (i.e. enhanced strength and abilities), T.I. attempted to steal the formula. Before Parker and Brock could take them to court, they died in a plane crash.

This inspired Peter to take his own sample from the E.S.U. Lab where it was kept, so that he might complete his father's work. But, in the process, the sample made contact with his skin, encasing his entire body in a black suit.

Story 'Legacy'

A fairly generic-looking pop star is taken hostage by a gang of equally generic, if literate, goons. The party is inevitably crashed by a black-costumed Spider-Man, who manages to rip up the top of the limo to get to them. When one of them shoots Spider-Man in the shoulder, the bullet suprisingly doesn't even penerate his skin and the costume heals itself. Spidey proceeds to web up the bad guys in new black webbing. When the driver is knocked out, our hero is forced to take the wheel. He manages to stop the runaway limo just in time to avoid an impact with a bus full of children, one of whom looks a lot like (and very well may be) Mary Jane Watson.

When the cops arrive on the scene, Spider-Man escapes, leaping much higher than ever before. Web-slinging, Peter notes to himself that he's faster, stronger, and shooting webbing without the aid of webshooters and at will. Admitting he should be testing this against his dad's notes, he still continues to search the city for evil- doings.

Spider-Man arrives at a scene where Shocker (who appeared in Ultimate Marvel Team up some time back) is surrounded by the cops and looking to blast his way out. Shocker blasts Spider-Man...to absolutely no effect whatsoever. Spidey knocks him out with one kick. After checking to see that all the witnesses are ok, Spider-Man leaps away yet again, leaving an on-the-air reporter to ponder whether this is another imposter, or the original back with a "bold new" attitude.

The next thing we know, an armed robber is making his way out of a Laundromat. Spider-Man arrives, seeing a man shot dead with his family left to mourn. With a tip, Spidey pursues the murderer into an abandoned warehouse. Easily disarming him, he looks at the burglar and begins to see another person, namely, the man who shot his Uncle Ben. Spider-Man dramatically changes appearance, gaining much muscle mass, large fang-like teeth and a large tongue. Shouting and clearly not sounding like himself, Spider-Man has to bring himself back from the edge to keep from killing the criminal.

Peter struggles with the suit and finds himself being quickly overwhelmed, consumed, taken over. He leaps and lands on some high- tension power wires, which zap him good and seem to burn the costume clear off of him. An uncostumed and unclothed Peter lands ominously in front of the tombstone of his father, mother, and uncle.

General Comments

So this is how it all starts to go awry?

This issue seemed a bit short, as do most of the all-action issues of Ultimate Spider-Man in particular, and Brian Bendis's books in general. Then again, it's more or less in real time, so perhaps it should. The dialogue remains as snappy and realistic as ever, where the minor characters and quickie villans steal the show a bit ("If we see any cops...the Pop princess's next album will be posthumous. Do you understand? Well--Well, look it up!!!).

We don't see any of the supporting cast, not even Eddie. This issue is all Peter. Which is a shame, because thr cast has traditionally been one of the strongest things about this title. However, we get a quick taste of this cast in a single splash page, in the background as Peter struggles with the suit This page, along with the breathtakingly well done cover, are the best pieces of art we've seen in the book to date.

But the written story suffers a bit from middle chapter syndrome, particularly due to it basically telling the ultimate audience what the mainstream Spider-fans already know: the suit (symbiote) itself enhances aggressive tendencies and eventually seeks to take over control of the wearer (host). It still gave me the creeps, though, to see Peter basically turn into Venom and almost get eaten by him.

Overall Rating

The story gets three webs since it's a pretty average middle chapter. The art gets four webs for a great cover and page hidden within average Bagley excellence. You average the two together, and use a complicated mathematical formula to account for the flimsy covers, and you have three and a half webs, if only because I'd hate to label this my least favorite issue of the series.