Issue ten in Marvel's exciting new series featuring a young Peter Parker. Last issue, in an attempt to clean up organised crime in New York, Spider-Man infiltrated the office tower of Wilson Fisk a.k.a. the Kingpin of Crime!
|Writer:||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Cover Art:||Mark Bagley|
Spider-Man has been creeping around in the dark offices of the Kingpin, looking for something linking him to his criminal activities. He's feeling the weird tingling in his head again, and finally figures out that this is his "Spider-Sense" warning him of imminent danger! The Kingpin is right behind him!
Spidey takes a wild swing and bounces right off the Kingpin's huge chest. Uh Oh! Fisk manages to clamp a huge fist around Spidey's forearm, crushing his web shooter in the process. Spidey starts making with the witty banter, kicking, ducking, weaving, but it's having no effect on the Kingpin, who hasn't even broken a sweat. Suddenly one of the Kingpin's goons starts glowing, then shooting bolts of lightning from his arms! This is Electro!
After a brief battle in which Spidey is severley hampered by the confines of Fisk's office, Electro manages to score a direct hit on Spidey, knocking him dazed to the floor.Fisk orders his mask removed, and they realise Spider-Man is just a youth. They toss him from the window, many stories above the pavement that our dazed hero is now hurtling towards! Spidey manages to rouse himself in time to apply his sticky palms to the window on the way down, slowing his descent. Phew!
Later that night, Peter is walking home, reliving his spectacular failure to achieve anything against the Kingpin. He's realising how much he underestimated the Kingpin's organisation, and is just generally down on himself for going off half-cocked like that. He arrives home to find Aunt May watching TV. They have a deep and meaningful conversation in which they reaffirm their love for one another and that they really miss Uncle Ben.
Next morning, Mary Jane rings up to talk. Peter is still feeling really down, and asks to reschedule their date. MJ naturally thinks Peter doesn't want to spend time with her. Ah, classic "Peter Parker unlucky in love" stuff!
Cut to the Kingpin's offices, and he's gathered his goons, Electro, Mr. Big and the Enforcers together for a meeting. He's brandishing Spider-Man's mask, and looking for a fight. There is a showdown between Mr. Big and the Kingpin, and Fisk places Spidey's mask on Mr. Big and proceeds to crush his head with his bare hands! This confrontation has left no doubt in anyone's mind that Wilson Fisk means to run the world of organized crime in New York! The next morning, Mr. Big's dead body is found floating in the East River with the Spider-Man mask on, and Spidey is naturally implicated in the murder!
Monday morning at Midtown High, Peter's class is discussing Nixon's paranoia in recording everthing he does, which triggers Peter's memory of seeing a high tech video camera in Fisk's office tower. Peter's mind starts to race, thinking of how he can use this to clear his name from the murder of Mr. Big.
We're covering a lot of ground here, compared to the original Amazing Spider-Man issues. Originally, the Kingpin didn't make an appearance until issue #50, and here he is in #9 and #10 of this series! We're seeing the Kingpin still building and consolidating his empire, which is fun. I also like the update for Electro, who had always been one of the cheesier looking villains in Spidey's gallery. Electro's burn scars and lack of ears really makes him look like a freak.
I also want to point out the strong influence the upcoming Spider-Man feature film is having on this series. Look at the cover of this issue; Spidey is sitting in virtually the same pose he is shown in the press release photo for the movie. He's even got the mirror finish eye lenses and raised shiny silver weblines on his costume now instead of the old silk screened black lines. I think this alignment with the movie image of Spidey is appropriate for this "Ultimate" title, and if it brings more fans onboard then all the better!
It's always going to be a fine balance for Bendis with this series. He has to offer long-time fans something new and interesting, while establishing Spidey's cast of characters and rogue's gallery for the new readers. I think he is doing a good job of combining the two facets, condensing characters and storylines from all over the first 5 years of Spidey's original continuity to make a fairly well paced and interesting story. I'll be looking for something totally original very soon though.
This issue was enjoyable, we're seeing Peter mature rapidly and start using his considerable mental capacity to help his crime-fighting antics. I give this a solid 3 and a half webs.