Ultimate Spider-Man #72

Background

Norman Osborn, the father of Peter's best friend Harry, was developing a wonder drug called Oz. Testing the mystery drug created the genetically altered spider that accidentally created Spider-Man. In an attempt to repeat the process on himself, Osborn destroyed his life. He mutated himself. Harry has been witness to all of his father's shocking and violent Goblin outbursts. When Osborn escaped from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Harry was used as a decoy. Norman was violently defeated and Harry witnessed the whole thing. Peter tried to comfort his old friend. The only words Harry could mutter were: "I'll kill you all." That was the last time Peter, or anyone, saw Harry.

Story Details

  Ultimate Spider-Man #72
Arc: Part 1 of 'Ultimate Hobgoblin' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Art: Mark Bagley

Nine months ago. Pete is bitten by a genetically altered spider. The whole class is concerned, and he gets to sit next to Mary Jane on the way home. Back home, MJ is sitting on the stairs; Harry comes by. It turns out Peter went with his aunt to the E.R.. Harry teases MJ about Peter being her boyfriend. They talk a bit, about MJ wearing glasses and looking hot without them. Then they kiss.

Today. Some bad guy seems to have defeated Spider-Man, and demands access to a vault where adamantium is kept. He says he'll kill Spider-Man if they don't open it. Spidey then regains his strength, knocks out the attacker, and webs him up. He then leaves and thinks about how the people at Oscorp and Hammer Industries have created all those bad guys. And now over at Roxxon, things are fishy too.

His thoughts go on: after Gwen died, he did say he wasn't going to be Spider-Man anymore. But he still is putting on the costume. He couldn't save Uncle Ben. He couldn't save Gwen Stacy. They were both killed in his own house. He needs a sign... And there he is, Harry Osborn has returned!

It's the end of the lunch break. MJ and Peter are having a little conversation. Peter is kinda upset that Harry has returned; he wants MJ to stay away from Harry. They argue, then MJ says "I didn't kill Gwen Stacy" and runs away, crying.

Back home, Aunt May is packing. The Parkers are moving. Tomorrow is moving day. Peter goes to his basement and puts his costume in a trunk. He can't stop thinking about Harry and what he said the last time they saw each other. And there he is--Harry is in the basement, too. He asks about the move. Peter says too many ghosts here, Aunt May wants not to be there anymore. Peter asks where Harry's been...does he remember what happened?

Then, Harry picks up the Spider-Man costume from the trunk. He is trying to put things in perspective. Peter gets super powers, Harry's life as he knew it ends. Peter becomes Spider-Man, Harry's father kills his wife. Every time his father goes nuts, there's Spider-Man. And when Harry returns to Queens, who's dating his girlfriend? What? is all Peter can say. Harry is holding the Spider- Man mask and looks bitter.

General Comments

OK, the end of the Ultimate Six limited series left some plot lines dangling. So, in a way, it's great Harry's back. But why make him MJ's boyfriend? Is this the ultimate version of "Sins Past"? Hope not, for I can do without. Besides, we need 30 years of history first before we can destroy it.

Then there's the time line thingy. The story starts with "nine months ago". Yeah, sure, all 72 issues happened in 9 months. Yeah, right. I wish I had time to go over all those issues one by one, including the limited series, and create a decent time line. Perhaps I should, but my guess is, if I actually do that, there will have passed more time than those 9 months.

FINALLY the not being Spider-Man thingy gets resolved. Or, it starts to get resolved. Remember a few reviews back, I was wondering about this. Did I miss it? Did I misread those books? Nope, I did not, and that makes me feel great. But not great enough to forget about Harry and MJ being a couple. The Ultimate Spider-Man series started out great. MJ was just the girl next door; she evolved during the series. And now it turns out she had a boyfriend. Nah, the MJ we met in this series would have told Peter about it. The only way to fix this is to have MJ tell Harry that the kiss meant nothing, and that Harry is mistaken. Yeah, as if.

Overall Rating

Yep, only 3 webs. After the Wolverine / Human Torch / Dr. Strange team-ups, finally a normal Spider-Man story. Finally some decent plot lines, and finally I'm really looking forward to the next issue. Of course, I need to see where this story goes first. It's called "Hobgoblin", but I haven't seen one yet.