The Kingpin of Crime has returned.
With the help of his attorney and $3 million in bribe money, Wilson Fisk managed to be acquitted of the murder charges he faced---despite the fact that the murder was recorded, and despite the fact that Spider-Man risked life and limb to break into Fisk Towers and steal that recording.
What's more, Peter's sleazy boss and the publisher of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson, is backing Sam Bullit, a candidate for district attorney running on an anti-Spider-Man campaign. When Peter asks why Jonah is supporting this candidate while ignoring the fact that a murderer is free, Jonah flips and fires Peter on the spot.
|Brian Michael Bendis
While Peter is packing his things at work, Jonah comments that it wasn't what Peter said, but how he said it. Peter snaps back, basically calling Jonah a liar. "I asked you a question and you fired me." Jonah threatens to call security, so Peter leaves. This infuriates Robbie, who tells Jonah that they both know Peter is right before leaving himself.
Frustrated at being fired and targeted in a political campaign while his enemy sips champagne in Fisk Towers, Spider-Man decides to act like the monster he's painted out to be by paying Fisk a visit. He tries to swing through the glass, but he bounces right off the glass. Barely managing to catch the ledge, he looks up at Fisk, who, for the moment is untouchable.
In class, Peter readily accepts his teacher's invitation to talk about current events. When he asks what kind of justice system would release a proven murderer, she throws him a line about the bigger picture. Peter yells that he's sick of all the compromise and wonders when his teacher gave up on justice. The teacher tells Peter to leaves the class and Peter storms out.
We find out in May's cubicle that Peter has been suspended from school for "threatening" a teacher. Again, Peter angrily brings up Fisk's acquittal. May believes that all this anger goes back to Uncle Ben's murder, and she reminds her nephew that the man who killed Ben is going to stay in jail. Peter agrees to apologize to his teacher. May then calls up Jonah and tells him off for firing Peter.
A simple interview turns into a threat when Ben Urich asks candidate Sam Bullit about his parnter, Walter Dini's link to Wilson Fisk. Bullit, the candidate who's apparently using Spider-Man as a metaphor to get people to take back the streets, then smashes Urich's recorder and essentially threatens the reporter.
Back at the Bugle, Urich reveals that he had a hidden recorder in his jacket, an old trick that Robbie taught him. Jonah accuses Urich of provoking Bullit, but Urich basically says that Bullit is a scumbag in the pocket of organized crime. Robbie reiterates that he doesn't know what Jonah's hangup on Spider-Man is. Jonah gets his call from Aunt May
The issue ends with Jonah listening to May yell at him while looking at a Sam Bullit anti-Spider-Man promotional poster.
Peter Parker really is a teenager. When he sees something that's wrong, he refuses to compromise or "look at the bigger picture." In an Ultimate Universe where The Ultimate (Avengers) and the X-Men are on the dime of the U.S. Government, it makes Spider-Man all that more of an iconoclast. Of course, he pays for standing out and standing for what's right. He's vilified in the name of a mob puppet's campaign. Only a teenager would continue to speak his mind regardless of the consequences. That's part of the book's charm.
The Kingpin seems untouchable, but Peter seems at least dedicated to the task of getting him off the streets. The "how" is very much in question, but the intent is very much there. I'm interested in issue 49 (the big 5-0 seems right around the corner) and just what Peter is going to...what Peter could possibly...do.
And, after 2 issues of setting up the story, I am itching for a little action, whether it comes from Spider-Man or good reporters like Joe Robertson or Ben Urich...or even Jonah?
The art is it's usual excellent, except the uneven red spots on Peter's dress shirt (they were also in the previous issue) bother me. Was it a printer's error or a fashion mistake?
The story was good, and, with one exception, so was the art. Is it fair, though, to give a slightly lower rating because I'm used to the high level of quality this book delivers week-in, week-out? Let the debates rage on across the world wide web, but until The Editor yanks me, it's my call. If this book wants extra webs, it's gonna have to work for it. But the road to 50 is growing shorter and shorter. I have a feeling I may need to dust off some extra webs.