Peter Parker and his girlfriend Mary Jane Watson are at a good point in their relationship and have decided to spend their combined allowance on a dinner at an exclusive Manhattan restaurant located in Central Park...
Tavern On The Green, Peter is all dressed up and gets a "Bravo!" from MJ, who looks absolutely stunning herself. When they look at the menu, they decide to have the soup and lots of bread. MJ then asks Peter what happened to him; it had something to do with a magician. Reluctantly, Peter starts.
Peter doesn't know exactly where it started, but class is a good place. He loved to go to class, but that was before, before he became Spider-Man. And the empty desk of Gwen, well, he just had to leave. So, he put on his costume and took off. Not knowing what to do, he decides to go to the Daily Bugle. On his way there, he helps the Ultimates take out a half-robot, half-zombie (named Luther Manning). But they aren't too friendly about it.
Over at the Bugle, he thinks it over. It's adults, every adult Peter talks to is so angry about whatever nightmare they created out of their life, all the things they didn't do. Peter is so sick of everyone being so angry that it makes him angry. Then JJJ calls him. He wants Peter to go with Ben to visit Dr. Strange for a story. Ben isn't too happy about it, he's writing a piece on Victor van Damme. But Strange is the new L. Ron Hubbard so JJJ makes them go.
Back at the restaurant, MJ asks what the problem is--the visit sounds cool. Peter says he thinks he met this Doctor Strange. He has this creepy feeling, but he can't remember. What do you know about Dr. Strange, asks MJ. Peter says, well, we saw that biography on him. And we cut to Patsy Walker who is presenting a show called "Doctor Strange: The Men Behind The Magic".
In short, brilliant brain surgeon Stephen Strange was involved in a car crash. His wife and unborn child died and his hands got damaged. He went to Tibet and learned the ancient mystic arts. Clea Strange, former student and former wife tells that 20 years ago, he suddenly wasn't there anymore. But the name Doctor Strange returned, when Stephen Jr. discovered the secrets of the father he never knew. He became the "go-to" man for the elite looking for their own personal salvation.
Cut to Ben and Peter, at the doorstep of the home of Dr. Strange. A bald guy, Wong, opens the door and says now is not a good time and closes the door. Ben and Peter go their separate ways. Peter puts on his costume and climbs up to the roof. He sees Dr. Strange on the floor and Wong performing some mystical spell. He drops down the window and all goes black.
Over at the restaurant, MJ asks, what happened next? Peter thinks he beat up the bald guy, saved the day, and came to the restaurant, he guesses. Then MJ's eyes turn from green to red. Several hands grab Peter from behind. It's Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy. MJ, now with white eyes, is saying "You're having a nightmare, sweetie, and you're never going to wake up."
I really hate those pages where you have some images and a large box of text to the side to advance the story. It feels like cheating to me, as if it's too hard to tell the story the usual way. And about the history of Doctor Strange, why not refer to Ultimate Marvel Team-Up issues 12 and 13? Could have saved a couple of pages and thus create room to stay away from the side bar with lots of text.
Other than that, it's nothing more than a very lengthy intro to the cliffhanger of this issue. My guess is, all is a dream and both Peter and MJ will never actually go to that restaurant. And MJ will not (at least not in the near future) look as stunning as she's looking right now. It's all a mind trick.... real shame though....
Since this could very well be a mind trick, did Spider-Man actually meet the Ultimates? I have just started reading Ultimates 2 (only 1 issue out so far) but the Ultimates scene felt very non-Ultimates. If you've read the Ultimates, you'll know what I'm talking about. And along that line, is the half-robot, half-zombie for real? His name is Luther Manning and we all know him to be Deathlok in the regular Marvel Universe. I'd love to see more of him; he looked really cool.
Finally, MJ is looking like a fox, but that's not real which I think is a very good reason to deduct points. Other than that, I felt the story went nowhere. Lots of information, that's true, but why the use of the side bar? I hate that, and since it's me reviewing the issue, I'm deducting points for that as well. On the plus side, seeing the wedding gown of MJ again, this time being worn by Aunt May (on the final page), well, that earns points. Final score 2.5 webs.