The good news is that Spider-Man managed to beat Doctor Octopus, who abducted him.
The bad news is that this victory took place in Brazil and Spidey had to race against the clock to make it back to Queens before Aunt May did. While this was no easy task, Peter managed to make it home, only to find a gun pointed as his face!
|Writer:||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Cover Art:||Mark Bagley|
Gwen's teary eyes and her father's gun are both fixed on Peter Parker, the unmasked Spider-Man. Aunt May's entrance upstairs distracts Gwen long enough for Peter to grab the gun out of her hand and cover her mouth. Aunt May calls out to Peter and Gwen while Peter explains that, since he was with Gwen the entire day when her father was murdered miles away, that he couldn't have murdered Gwen's father. Gwen bursts out of the house from the cellar.
Peter greets Aunt May out of costume. May is shocked to find Peter's cheek all swollen. Peter makes up a lie to excuse it (really, it was pulled out by Doc Ock back on the plane). Aunt May makes him miss school to get it treated, as it's likely infected.
After school, Mary Jane visits to check in on Peter. Apparently, Spider-Man's international battle with Doctor Octopus is all over the news. When they turn it on, the find out that the bigshots making the Spider-Man movie (without Spidey's blessing, of course) are using the footage. Peter then says they have to find Gwen, who ran out after finding Peter's secret identity. Apparently, MJ is partially responsible for Gwen piecing it together, since she panicked upon seeing the battle on TV.
The couple finds Gwen at the door of Peter's room. Gwen says she needed to sort some things out, and then, in consideration of how nice May and Peter have been to her, promises never to betray Peter. After accepting her apology, the three pontificate on being the only three in on Peter's secret.
That night, at Stark Industries, Nick Fury confronts the apprehended Doctor Octopus. Fury orders the arms to be melted down in front of Otto's eyes. Otto howls madly as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents drag his harness away.
Four months later, the Spider-Man movie is a box-office juggernaut, due largely to the fact that it included real-life footage from the Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus fight. The ladies flock to Kong, who was an extra in the film. Peter and MJ haven't seen it yet. Peter doesn't even have enough money to buy a ticket.
Gwen comes to her senses!
Part of what I love about Spider-Man is how stuff going on in the background, like Gwen's hatred of Spider-Man can emerge in the main story after months of build. It's a device in Spider-Man stories that dates back to Stan Lee's run on Amazing Spider-Man. It's also something Bendis has a firm handle on. Peter's handling of the Gwen situation speaks to his relationship with Gwen as a whole. Usually, when someone finds out a hero's secret identity, it's a disaster. It's good to see that Gwen's discovery isn't a subtext to turn her character against Peter. But is there room in Peter's life for TWO girls who know his secret?
As expected, the Spider-Man movie is a success and the Parker luck dictates that, despite being in it, Spidey can't afford to see it. It's another time-honored devise in Spider-Man, one I'm glad to see is alive and well in "Ultimate."
Art is great overall, although I'm wondering how much time has passed in the last 20 issues. It seems MJ cut her hair, but now she's got a long ponytail (extensions, perhaps?). In lieu of another magnificent cover (which I see is digitally painted by Richard Isanove), I can forgive it.
A strong finish makes for a great review. Despite my misgivings about this whole arc being an issue too long, this chapter marks a strong denoument for a strong story. Let's hope "Carnage" builds on this arc's momentum.
Mary Jane's Quote of the issue is: "Dressing up like a woman now? Is there anything you want to tell me?"