Ultimate Spider-Man #55

Background

Aunt May's away for the week, which means the timing is perfect for Peter and Gwen to throw a wild teenage party. Except that Gwen and Peter are pretty antisocial. And that Peter's so responsible that he spends much of his time fighting evil with no reward as Spider-Man. And that Peter's entire social life, his girlfriend, has been grounded. And that Gwen isn't quite over the violent death of her father, for which she blames Spider-Man.

What's more, Spider-Man: The Movie is filming in downtown New York, and Peter won't see a dime. However, neither will Doctor Octopus, a prospect which gets the deranged superhuman scientist mad enough to bust out of prison!

Story Details

Otto Octavius, sans mechanical arms, shows up at the door of a Tudor-style home he likes. He distracts the owner long enough for the arms to sneak in and kill the owner.

"Look up in the sky, it's Spider-Man!" This is the line that Kong will recite in a bit part for the Spider-Man movie. After announcing the news to his friends at school, Gwen loses it, screaming if there's a part in the script where Spider-Man kills her dad. She runs off, crying, and Peter and MJ follow to talk her down. Peter tries to clear up that it was just an imposter that killed her dad, but Gwen "doesn't care which lunatic guy in what costume" killed her dad. She expresses outrage that a costumed man killed her father and now they're making a movie about him. Once Gwen walks off, Peter confides in MJ, saying he could really use a villan to beat the living crap out of.

Otto lounges around in his new house, talking to his arms about what their next course of action will be. Since the feds know that Otto knows that Peter is Spider-Man, he opts not to go after the wall-crawler, nor after his ex-wife, Roselita, who sold her story to the movie people. Suddenly, the mechanical arms turn on the TV to find an interview where Roselita insults Otto indirectly. The arms demolish the television, Otto still pondering his next move.

Gwen walks home, but notices an unusual number of black vans in the area. While on the phone with Aunt May, she also notices some suspicious looking characters doing a poor job of blending into the scenery.

The next page shows Mysterio boasting about his genius. We see that it's all part of the movie, complete with Kong delivering his line. Producer Avi Arad gets a call, noting that Spider-Man is watching them from a distance. He and Director Sam Raimi discuss their next course of action, when one of the staff informs the pair of Doctor Octopus' escape from jail, which still hasn't made news due to government interference. Raimi and Arad are skeptical until Doc Ock arrives on the scene. Ock trashes a production van and advances on his ex-wife, when Spider-Man arrives on the scene, ready to use Ock as a punching bag to work out his aggression.

General Comments

Why even bother with an Ultimate Universe? As the regular reviewer for this title, it's a question I hear all the time. And, if the book were mediocre or bad, I'd be asking that question too. Fortunately, Ultimate Spider-Man is a great book, and this is shaping up to be a great arc.

Otto talks to his arms. Yeah, I know, this has the potential to seem slanted and hackneyed. But Bendis pulls it off, specifically because he writes Otto as one part contemplative, one part methodical, one part deranged. He has as much reason to be outraged as Peter. The difference between the two, though, is that Ock is more than willing to hurt others to achieve his goals.

Also, we see the Gwen sublots rise to the forefront again, as she reveals that she hasn't at all forgotten her father's death. It's hard to get over the loss of a loved one in any circumstance. When her father's killer is an anonymous masked man, it's impossible. I appreciate this realistic reaction to loss in a world where a man can swing from webs.

Plus, only two issues into this arc and the fight has already been set up! Bendis has picked up his pacing!

Overall Rating

Week in, week out, this book impresses me, from the story to the art to the Peter Parker side of things to the Spider-Man side. The fight has been built up, and I'm eagerly anticipating it.

Spidey's quote of the issue is: "You know what I could use right now? I could use a big, crazy villain to beat the living crap out of."