Tag Archives: spider-man

Review: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26

SquirrelGirlCoverUnbeatable Squirrel Girl takes a little break in issue 26 for a special in-universe zine comic written and drawn by various heroes, villains, and denizens of the Marvel Universe. In real life, they are all written by Ryan North with Erica Henderson switching roles with her Jughead collaborator Chip Zdarsky to pen a surprisingly sultry Howard the Duck story. It’s a fun sampler that mostly hit and very little miss from the much vaunted series of three panel Galactus gag strips by Garfield‘s Jim Davis to Anders Nilsen and Soren Iverson’s poignant story of Wolverine befriending a Sentinel and shotgunning a beer with his adamantium claws. The series Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has a lot of fantastic action, jokes, and the occasional superhero parody, but it’s a book where Doreen listens to both her opponents and allies and tries to work things out with eating nuts and kicking butts. S

So, it’s fitting, we get this comic that is written by a wacky range of POVs beginning with Squirrel Girl herself who stutters through the intro about his being a fundraiser zine. We get to listen to Kraven, hear Spider-Man’s retort, and see the world through Tippytoe’s eyes, which is drawn and colored in an adorable manner  Madeline McGrane’s art and colors make this frame story definitely look like a zine you might pick up at the local coffee shop or one of those fancy schmancy zine stores in bigger stories. It’s followed up by Chip Zdarsky going the closest he’ll ever get to his work on Sex Criminals in a mainstream comic with Erica Henderson doubling as a film noir director, but more awkward. They use close-ups and small panels of Howard the Duck and his femme fatale/client like they’re egging Marvel editorial to linger on this scene more while adding a funny caption. Zdarsky doing Big Two interiors is a big treat, and he barely holds back.

Tom Fowler’s Brain Drain story is a nice showcase of the underrated Unbeatable Squirrel Girl supporting character and hews the closest to Henderson’s usual style on the book. His take on Brain Drain is philosophical, adorable, and structured like the computer science programs that the character loves. It’s oddly motivational too and worth a reread thanks to its erudite writing style. Speaking of rereads, Carla Speed McNeil draws a Loki comic that only makes sense forwards and backwards and is a great example of how the comics medium allows for flexibility of meaning using Loki as a litmus test. It’s a wonderful double page spread, and the best Loki story since Journey into Mystery.

After this, Michael Cho draws a Kraven the Hunter comic/Spider-Man diss story, which is a pretty fun riff off “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and features dead presidents. His art has a light hearted old school vibe while having a subversive take on superhero/supervillain relationships kind of like the main Unbeatable Squirrel Girl title, but from the bad guy’s perspective. It’s followed up by a one page retort from Spider-Man with some gorgeous, yet still funny digital painting work from Rahzzah, who teams up later in the book to do Nancy Whitehead’s photo collage comic with the help of North, who channels Dinosaur Comics in the strip. It’s a well-designed remix story that will make the non-artists reading this comic smile and the kind of mash-up that you would find in a real zine.

NilsonWolverine

But the heavy hitter of the bunch is Anders Nilsen and Soren Iverson’s Wolverine story that is fitting for an artist who had done a comic called Poetry is Useless. Anders Nilsen has a minimalist Euro style perfect for a comic about Wolverine getting talked out of killing a Sentinel, who challenges him to look past his shiny mutant killing exterior and team up with him to beat up some kaiju. (Sadly, this part of the story is off panel.) Wolverine gets a big epiphany moment when he realizes that he’s “hating and fearing” the Sentinel just like the X-Men have been treated for most of their career. This story is proof that more Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly guys should draw superhero comics.

Following this weighty, yet fun story is a couple of candy confections. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl colorist Rico Renzi draws an adorable and faux edgy Batman parody starring the one and only Tippytoe. It pokes fun at Batman’s angsty backstory as well as the fact that Tippytoe always plays second banana. Renzi’s art style is similar to the cartoon The Amazing World of Gumball with lush digital backgrounds and colors. Finally, Jim Davis, whose work I was familiar with eons before I ever opened a Marvel comic, transposes the classic Garfield and Jon relationship to Galactus and the Silver Surfer. It’s the same dad-ish, three panel punchline jokes, but told in a more cosmic key, and Davis has a lot of fun showing Galactus doing his planet devouring, face stuffing thing. His literal eye popping Silver Surfer has a similar manic energy to Robin Williams’ Genie in Disney’s Aladdin.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 is a real treat as independent cartoonists, the creator of Garfield, and even the book’s colorist get to take a stab at some of the more familiar faces in the Marvel Universe while also giving Squirrel Girl’s supporting cast a moment in the sun. It’s sometimes poignant and always funny.

Story: Ryan North, Erica Henderson Art: Madeline McGrane, Chip Zdarsky, Tom Fowler, Carla Speed McNeil, Michael Cho, Anders Nilsen, Rico Renzi, Jim Davis Colors: Madeline McGrane, Chip Zdarsky, Rico Renzi, Rahzzah,Soren Iverson
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall:9.2 Recommendation: Read

Review: Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Miles Morales!

Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales collects issues #15-21 by Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Oscar Bazaldua, Nico Leon, Justin Ponsor, Jason Keith, and Rain Beredo.

Get your copy in comic shops today and bookstores on November 21. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow. What are you all looking forward to? What has you excited? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Daily UW – Engaging conflict at the 2017 International Comics Arts Forum conference – Sounds loke a great conference.

 

Reviews

The Beat – Cartoon Clouds

Niner Times – Deadly Class

Atomic Junk Shop – Decelerate Blue

Newsarama – The Jetsons #1

Comic Attack – Spider-Man #234

Blind Box Plush: Marvel – Spider-Man in January

This January Funko launches Mystery Minis in an exciting new way – now soft, cuddly, and even more adorable! Introducing Mystery Mini Plushies!

Blind Box Plush: Marvel – Spider-Man is one of the two initial series to launch.

Unwrap each blind bag and collect them all this Winter! You’ll find the Green Goblin, Spider Gwen, Anti-Venom, Venom, Mile Morales, and several variations of Spider-Man!

Sideshow Announces a Mark Brooks Artist Series Statue Collection

Sideshow has announced a new line, the “Mark Brooks Artist Series Statue Collection.”

The new line of statues features characters from the Spider-verse including Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Spider-Man, which will the first statues for this new Marvel Spider-Man line.

The 1:5 scale figures will be shown for the first time at New York Comic Con.

You can sign up now to get a notification for Sideshow’s announcements and also visit them at booth #1912 at NYCC.

Diamond, Beast Kingdom’s Spider-Man Homecoming Previews Exclusive Figure

Spider-Man swings into your local comic shop with the release of two new Diamond Comics and Beast Kingdom Spider-Man Homecoming PREVIEWS Exclusive (PX) Figures.

The Spider-Man Homecoming diorama figure is a stunning new 12 1/2” tall, featuring Peter Parker in his homemade suit.

With careful attention to detail, the figure also includes character specific details such as a newspaper and Spidey’s backpack. The action figure is a stunning take on Peter wearing the Spider-Man suit gifted to him by Tony Stark. Standing 6” tall, the figure features raised spider web detailing on the suit, 8 interchangeable hands, and over 30 points of articulation to create the perfect Peter pose.

These PREVIEWS Exclusive items are featured in the September issue of Diamond’s PREVIEWS catalog. They will carry suggested retail prices of $126.00 and $80.00 respectively., and will be available in stores late March 2018.

  • SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING EA-029 SPIDER-MAN PX STATUE, $126.00 (SEP172831)
  • SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING EAA-051 SPIDER-MAN PX AF, $80.00 (SEP172832)

Diamond Select Coming in 2018: DC, Marvel, Kingdom Hearts, Cthulhu + More!

While kids across the country are getting ready to crack open their textbooks, comic retailers across the country are getting ready to crack open the new Previews catalog, which is chock-full of the latest items from Diamond Select Toys! Scheduled to ship in late 2017 and early 2018, DST’s offerings include items from Thor: Ragnarok, Kingdom Hearts, Black Panther, DC Comics, Joseph Michael Linsner, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel Comics and the world of H.P. Lovecraft!

Cthulhu Vinimates Vinyl Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s 2017, and Cthulhu has a new look for a new year! “Old god” and literary superstar Cthulhu is the latest 4-inch figure to join the Vinimates vinyl figure line. With an articulated neck, he can cast his gaze at the faithful and unfaithful alike, summoning all to join his shambling host! Packaged in a full-color window box, Cthulhu is the perfect addition to your Vinimates or Cthulhu collection and will tower over your Minimates mini-figures! Sculpted by Eli Livingston! (Item #AUG172648, SRP: $9.99)

DC Vinimates DC Comics Vinyl Figures Series 2

A Diamond Select Toys release! The heroes and villains of the DC Universe are back in the second series of comic-based DC Vinimates! Three new 4” vinyl figures – Superman, Joker and Wonder Woman – are sculpted in the block-figure style, each striking an iconic pose straight from the comics. Each Vinimate comes packaged in a full-color window box.

Superman Vinimate (Item #SEP172467, SRP: $9.99)

Joker Vinimate (Item #SEP172468, SRP: $9.99)

Wonder Woman Vinimate (Item #SEP172469, SRP: $9.99)

DC Vinimates Flash TV Vinyl Figures

A Diamond Select Toys release! The DC Vinimates line is off to a racing start as it barrels full-speed into the world of DC TV shows! This assortment of Flash characters is based on the hit CW TV show and includes 4-inch versions of Flash, Reverse Flash and Captain Cold! Sculpted in the block-figure style, each pre-posed vinyl figure comes packaged in a full-color window box.

Flash Vinyl Figure (Item # AUG172649, SRP: $9.99)

Reverse Flash Vinyl Figure (Item # AUG172650, SRP: $9.99)

Captain Cold Vinyl Figure (Item # AUG172651, SRP: $9.99)

DC Gallery Batman Beyond Batman PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! How big is your gallery? For the next entry in the hit DC Gallery PVC Diorama series, DST is leaping into the distant future of Gotham City, to capture the high-tech hero – Batman Beyond! Terry McGinnis hovers above a cloud of smoke with his wings extended and his boot-jets firing in this approximately 10” PVC sculpture. Packaged in a full-color window box, the figure and base feature detailed sculpt and paint work. Dynamically sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #SEP172471, SRP: $45.00)

DC Gallery Batman The Animated Series Robin PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Boy Wonder is joining the DC Gallery PVC line, as Batman’s first sidekick, Dick Grayson, steps to the fore in his classic red yellow and green outfit! With his bolo spinning, Robin can stand on his own or pair with the previously released Batman PVC to form a larger diorama! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, this PVC sculpture features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is in scale to all other Gallery and Femme Fatales figures. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item # AUG172647,  SRP: $45.00)

Femme Fatales Gallery Sinful Suzi PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Femme Fatales are back! The Gallery PVC line returns to its pinup roots with this PVC Diorama of one of Joseph Linsner’s sexiest creations – Sinful Suzi! Holding her pitchfork, this devilish diva measures approximately 9 inches tall atop a black pedestal base. Packaged in a full-color window box, this seductive sculpture features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Sculpted by Sam Greenwell! Coming soon: Dawn! (Item #SEP172472, SRP: $45.00)

Kingdom Hearts Vinimates Vinyl Figures

A Diamond Select Toys release! Kingdom Hearts is back! With the 15th anniversary in progress, and a third game on the horizon, the video-game world of Kingdom Hearts is as magical as ever! These four block-based figures take the main characters of the franchise — Sora, Donald, Mickey and Goofy — and transport them into the world of Vinimates, where each 4-inch vinyl figure has an articulated head for additional posing options! Each figure comes packaged in a full-color window box.

Sora Vinyl Figure (Item # APR178984, SRP: $9.99)

Donald Vinyl Figure (Item # APR178987, SRP: $9.99)

Mickey Vinyl Figure (Item # APR178985, SRP: $9.99)

Goofy Vinyl Figure (Item # APR178986, SRP: $9.99)

Marvel Gallery Thor: Ragnarok Movie Thor PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Let’s get ready to thunder! The God of Thunder is ready to cut loose in his newest outing, Thor; Ragnarok, and DST has captured the Odinson at his most heroic, in the newest Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama! Standing atop a rocky outcropping, this battle-ready Thor wields Mjolnir, ready to face the hordes of Hela herself. Standing approximately 10 inches tall, this PVC sculpture features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Rocco Tartamella! (Item # SEP172483, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Gallery Thor: Ragnarok Movie Hulk PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The highly anticipated Thor: Ragnarok movie is bringing us one of the most exciting Hulk looks ever, and this Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama captures him at his most enraged! Measuring approximately 12 inches tall, this sculpture of a fully armored Hulk wielding twin weapons is the must-have collectable from Thor: Ragnarok. Featuring detailed sculpting and paint applications, this 9-inch scale diorama comes packaged in a full-color window box and is in scale to all other Gallery and Femme Fatales figures. Sculpted by Rocco Tartamella! (Item # AUG172642, SRP: $50.00)

Marvel Gallery Thor: Ragnarok Movie Valkyrie PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Out of the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe film comes the newest big-screen Marvel character, Valkyrie! Based on her appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, this 9-inch scale PVC diorama depicts actress Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, standing on part of the Grandmaster’s planet. . Featuring detailed sculpting and paint applications, this 9-inch scale diorama comes packaged in a full-color window box and is in scale to all other Gallery and Femme Fatales figures. Sculpted by Rocco Tartamella! PRODUCT NOT FINAL. (Item # AUG172643, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Gallery NOW! Captain America PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! How big is your Gallery? Expand your hall of heroes with the first-ever Marvel Gallery PVC of Captain America! Depicting the star-spangled Avenger in his Marvel NOW! outfit, this PVC diorama of Steve Rogers shows him charging an opponent (or an army of them) as bullets ricochet off of his vibranium shield. Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this PVC figure features detailed sculpting and paint work, and is in scale to all Femme Fatales and Gallery releases. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item # AUG172640, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Gallery Silk PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of the Marvel Universe’s newest Spider-people is now one of the newest Marvel Gallery PVCs! Cindy Moon, the second victim of the spider that made Peter Parker Spider-Man, leaps into action as a 9-inch-scale PVC Diorama, and spinning a web on a spider-symbol base. Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this PVC sculpture features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is in scale to all other Gallery and Femme Fatales figures. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Alejandro Pereira! (Item # AUG172646, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Gallery Spider-Man: Homecoming PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The first Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-film is here, and we couldn’t be happier! To celebrate, we’ve created a Marvel Gallery PVC figure of Spidey in his new duds, clinging to the side of a building in typical Spider-Man fashion. Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, this diorama features detailed sculpting and paint and is in scale to all other Gallery and Femme Fatales figures. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! (Item # AUG172644, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Minimates Series 74 Greatest Stories 2-Pack Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! The record-setting 74th series of Marvel Minimates is one for the ages, and it’s only available at comic shops and specialty stores! Spanning four different storylines from Marvel’s history, this assortment of four two-packs captures four of the greatest Avengers in four of their most epic battles, with four new outfits and four never-before-made opponents! From the “Surtur Saga,” Ages of Thunder Thor takes on the first-ever Surtur Minimate! From “Planet Hulk,” King Hulk takes on the first-ever Red King! From “Old Man Logan,” Logan takes on the never-made Ashley Barton Spider-Girl! And from “Secret Empire,” Agent of Hydra Captain America takes on the all-new Ironheart! Each 2” Minimates mini-figure features up to 14 points of articulation, as well as fully interchangeable parts! Each 2-pack comes packaged in a full-color window box. (Item # AUG172641, SRP: $9.99/ea.)

Marvel Minimates Black Panther Movie Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! It came from Wakanda! The highly anticipated Marvel Studios film Marvel’s Black Panther joins the Marvel Minimates Universe with this exclusive box set! Featuring Black Panther, M’Baku, Killmonger and Shuri, this set of four 2-inch Minimates mini-figures features 14 points of articulation on each figure, as well as fully interchangeable parts. Packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #SEP172485, SRP: $24.99)

Marvel Premier Collection Moon Knight Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! By the blessings of Khonshu, the Moon Knight walks again! The white knight of the Marvel Universe returns in this new, approximately 12” Marvel Premier Collection statue! Depicting the Fist of Khonshu slightly battle-damaged and perched on a rooftop with Egyptian architectural details, this resin statue is limited to only 3,000 pieces, and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #SEP172484, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Premier Collection Spider-Man Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! The ultimate Spider-Man collectible is here! This large-scale resin statue of Spider-Man depicts a classically styled wall-crawler vaulting over brickwork as his webline whips around him! Dynamically hand-sculpted by the legendary Clayburn Moore, this high-end, 12-inch-scale collectible is a must-have item for any Spider-fan! Limited to only 3,000 pieces, this statue features a hand-numbered base and comes packaged in a full-color, hand-numbered box with a certificate of authenticity. (Item # AUG172645, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Premier Collection Spider-Man Homecoming Movie Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! Hey, you aren’t the Avengers! Relive the scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming when Spidey takes on a bank-robbing gang of Avengers impersonators with this approximately 12-inch statue based on the film! Featuring a screen-accurate Spider-Man standing atop an ATM and surrounded by discarded alien weaponry and superhero masks, this resin statue is limited to only 3,000 pieces, and comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Gentle Giant! (Item # SEP172487, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Select Black Panther Movie Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! The king of Wakanda joins the Marvel Select action figure line! The first Marvel Studios film of 2018 takes us deeper into the world of the Black Panther, and now you can recreate the action of the movie with this 7-inch scale action figure of T’Challa! Packaged with a diorama of the movie’s Warrior Falls, this figure comes packaged in the famous Select action figure packaging, with side-panel artwork for easy shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant! (Item #SEP172486, SRP: $24.99)

Superman Animated Darkseid Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Who’s the next resin bust in the Superman series? DARKSEID IS! The legendary ruler of Apokolips arrives in his animated form in advance of his Justice League film appearance, with this bust based on his appearance in classic Superman: The Animated Series episodes. Posed in an intimidating fashion atop a Metropolis architectural pedestal, this approximately 6-inch Resin bust is the perfect addition to your DC Animated Universe bust collection. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #SEP172470, SRP: $59.99)

Back to School: Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25

USM25CoverBack to School is a weekly issue by issue look at the beloved superhero teen comic Ultimate Spider-ManIn this week’s installment, I will be covering Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25  (2002) written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, and colored by Digital Transparency

Ultimate Spider-Man #24 kicks off with Ultimate Nick Fury (Aka the one who looks like Samuel L. Jackson.) slowly dematerializing in the counselor’s office at Peter Parker’s school. Things are very serious with the Green Goblin, and Fury says that he will get Spider-Man to try to assassinate him or Mary Jane and Aunt May will die. Peter freaks out about Fury and SHIELD knowing about his secret identity and learns some crucial backstory about Norman Osborn like that he lost a super soldier serum contract with SHIELD, which is why he tested the Oz drug on himself. Unfortunately, SHIELD can’t help Spider-Man out unless he actually threatens a civilian thanks to the rules of engagement and a prohibition on spying on Americans on American soil. Later, Norman Osborn’s limo is about to pick up Aunt May and Peter for dinner at his house, but Peter dissuades her and says he’s a creepy, bad man. Peter wants to keep her safe so he swings around as Spider-Man hoping to put an end to the Green Goblin once and for all. Unfortunately, he runs into his nemesis, who has kidnapped Mary Jane, who is Harry Osborn’s dinner guest.

After a gripping double page spread of Spider-Man and Harry’s surprise at Mary Jane being kidnapped, Ultimate Spider-Man #25 flashes back to Harry’s hypnotherapy sessions. His therapist, Dr. Warren, is a little hesitant about planting subliminal suggestions, but Norman waves him off, and then we get to see his transformation into the Green Goblin from his POV as he grabs Mary Jane and leaps into action to fight Spider-Man and a SHIELD helicopter. It’s super trippy, and he sees Spider-Man as an actual spider. They fight for a while until Green Goblin drops Mary Jane off the Queensboro Bridge, which is when the SHIELD sniper in the helicopter finally starts firing at him. In an homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”, Spider-Man catches Mary Jane with his web just as she’s about to go splat, and her fate remains ambiguous as the issue ends.

GoblinTrippy

Other than a badass extended and logical to the overall plot Nick Fury cameo, the big highlight of Ultimate Spider-Man #25 is getting to see the world from the skewed scientific, religious, and very drug addled perspective of Norman Osborn. Oz truly fucks you up. Artists Mark Bagley and Art Thibert also channel their Clone Saga days and have Norman see Spider-Man as more spider than man with all kind of weird appendages and extra arms. The colorists at Digital Transparency add to the hallucinations with cloudy little goblin babies whispering the chemical formula for Oz with the help of eerie lettering from Richard Starkings.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis leaves the usual banter, quips, or villainous speeches and instead of makes the subconscious of Norman Osborn conscious with all kind of character defining buzz words. Lines like “He’s your son” for his relationship with Peter to “Fire eyes” about his abilities help flesh out Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin persona and the added angle of him as a failed military contractor and scientist makes him a more interesting foe than the non-verbal Hulk-lite of the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man. It also more than makes up for the multiple reused panels during Harry’s hypnotherapy session although that could have been a storytelling choice to show how impassive, compliant, and basically buzzed out on lithium he is.

NoTheyDidnt

No they didn’t…

The Green Goblin shares blood with Spider-Man, and Peter Parker used to look up to Norman Osborn and is friends with his son. This deep connection makes him an excellent arch-nemesis, and adding SHIELD and a glimpse at the larger Marvel Universe is like having an ice cream after dinner. However, in the endgame of these middle issues, Bendis and Bagley go for the typical damsel in distress deal with Mary Jane instead of letting Peter and her have a genuine conversation about their relationship. Then, they do an homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” (Except trading Gwen for MJ, and the George Washington Bridge for Queensboro.) with a similar angle and sidelines all of these relationship complications plus some fun banter with Harry at his house into a typical Peter saves MJ situation a la the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy .

Even though the nod to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” was a little too on the fanservice-y side and using a female character to just further a male character’s arc is a big problem with superhero comics, it makes story sense for Bendis and Bagley Green Goblin to come after MJ and raise “Legacy’s” tension level as an arc. The Green Goblin knows Spider-Man’s secret identity as Spider-Man and has clearly threatened Aunt May and MJ with death if he puts the costume on again. So, when he sees Spidey in action, the Green Goblin instantly grabs Mary Jane, who is a guest at his house. The constantly inviting Aunt May and Mary Jane to dinner is just a cover to basically hold them hostage and blackmail Spider-Man. Norman Osborn is pretty clever when he isn’t injecting untested Oz formula directly into his veins multiple times every day. Also, Mary Jane getting kidnapped and Aunt May being threatened cause Spider-Man to have second thoughts about being a hero, and the usual happy web swinging double page spread is having a total existential crisis about the cost his double life has on his loved ones. And Mary Jane’s kidnapping and possible death definitely throw gasoline on the current garbage fire that is his superhero life.

CalmDownHotshot

So, Nick Fury shows up in Ultimate Spider-Man #24, and it’s pretty cool once Peter Parker stops jumping around and saying super goofy stuff like “I would like to see some form of identification.” Fury’s presence is an ice cold dose of reality in young Peter’s face and a reminder that he doesn’t do his superhero thing in a vacuum. Even though he’s defeated the Kingpin, Doc Ock, and Kraven the Hunter plus numerous small fry baddies, Spidey has gone about in a sloppy way so it’s been easy for them to keep tabs on him. The appearance of Fury and his little history lesson about the super soldier serum and Norman Osborn make Spider-Man seem small and insignificant in the big picture of the Marvel Universe. However, he’s also kind of a scientific miracle, which is why Fury and SHIELD would be experimenting on him if he wasn’t a minor. For once, Peter’s youth and inexperience do him some good.

Nick Fury’s big plot point in Ultimate Spider-Man #24 is that he and SHIELD can’t take down the Green Goblin unless he has physically attacked a civilian aka MJ or Aunt May. This is because SHIELD aka the NSA with ray guns isn’t allowed to spy on Americans on American soil. This made me laugh darkly because, in 2002, President George W Bush signed an order to allow the NSA to monitor telephone calls and emails of American citizens. Bendis and Bagley do some spot on political satire in the middle of a Spider-Man and Green Goblin story and continue to write Spidey and Peter as a pure example of heroism in a profession dominated by backstabbers, liars, and sociopaths like the cast of Mark Millar’s Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men. Bagley gives Peter some very angry expressions on his face when Fury keeps telling him that SHIELD isn’t allowed to attack Norman Osborn or bring him in. He’s the ordinary human who is hemmed in by a slimy web of deceit and political machinery in cahoots with corporations for mutual benefit so the slap he delivers to Fury when he lectures about “optimism” is well-earned.

ResponsibilityWTF.JPG

However, Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 aren’t all about politics, and Bendis fits in Fury and SHIELD’s presence in the story like a well-placed in a superpowered jigsaw puzzle. They don’t wear out their welcome. It makes a lot of sense that a Hulk-level threat would be on their radar. Above all, “Legacy” is a crucial, personal part of Spider-Man’s heroic journey, and the hallucinations in Ultimate Spider-Man #25 plus his repeated use of the word “responsibility”  confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt my theory that Norman Osborn is the dark mirror of Uncle Ben. Spider-Man’s powers came from the Oscorp spider and Osborn’s failed experiments, but his heart and devotion to using abilities responsibly to protect society come from Uncle Ben’s words to him in the first story arc. The only responsibility that Osborn knows is to further his power and rebuild his corporate empire by any means necessary, including kidnapping his son’s friend, hypnotizing his own son, and causing general mayhem. And, in his eyes, Spider-Man is just a means to enforce his will and also physical proof that, hey, maybe this Oz thing actually worked. He thinks Spider-Man owes something while Ben loved Peter selflessly even when his nephew acted like a jerk to him. *Pause for feelings here*

The homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” in Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 is pretty obvious, and I’ve mentioned it a few times. However, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley also riff off another classic Spider-Man story, the infamous Harry Osborn is a junkie story in Amazing Spider-Man #98 that Stan Lee and Gil Kane published without the Comic Code’s seal of approval. But this time, Norman Osborn is a drug addict, and Bendis and Bagley don’t tell the typical “drugs are bad” PSA and tell the tale of a one percenter whose corporation is flagging so he turns to substance. Except instead of fine grade cocaine, his drug of choice makes him a hulked out psychopath kind of like Jose Canseco with a Marvel twist and no baseball ability. There’s this whole interplay between drugs, power, and corruption that turns the Green Goblin into Tony Montana with horns and is a more interesting, or at the very least, entertaining look at a drug addiction story in a superhero context. Sorry, Stan and Gil.

Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 are solid middle chapters of the “Legacy” arc as Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley show the world from the Green Goblin’s POV for a few pages and add some political satire and big picture stuff in a Nick Fury guest appearance. The ending of issue 25 is very “Women in Refrigerators” as Bendis goes from developing MJ’s character to victimizing her although luckily there are two issues left to possibly improve on this…

« Older Entries