Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 Review


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:
David Lafuente
Colorist:
John Rauch
Letterer:
VC’s Cory Petit
Cover:
Mark Brooks and Richard Isanove

LAST NIGHT. Peter and Mary Jane hang out in her room. She says to him that she loves him and they’ve been through a lot and she wants to know if he’d be interested in taking their relationship to the next level. Peter doesn’t have an answer.
The next morning, Mary Jane sees Peter then runs off in embarrassment. Kitty and Kenny question what happened and he bolts. Conflicted and confused, he decides to go on patrol as Spider-Man and stumbles across a getaway car involved in a robbery driving through the streets,,,but with no driver. He manages to (disastrously) stop the car, which immediately catches the attention of Mary Jane’s school paper’s reporter, Jessica Jones. She wants to run an expose on Spider-Man. Paranoid, MJ tells Peter (who’s still in confused as to her behavior today) about Jessica and wants to know what happened this morning. He revealed
to her that a) NYPD Captain Frank Quaid brought him into the investigation, b) there’s a video (provided by a forensics technician named Maggie) that reveals the robbery took place AFTER the getaway, and c) it’s the fourth such robbery by a perpetrator known around the prescinct as Mysterio. MJ volunteers to solve this case despite Peter’s protests.
Elsewhere, at a Greenwich Village warehouse, Maggie races to warn Mysterio of Spider-Man’s involvement in the case…just as Spidey himself and the NYPD raid the warehouse. A fight and explosions ensue, but Mysterio disappears, promising to get into this when he’s good and ready. Maggie is taken into custody.
Peter shows up at MJ’s house later that night to admit she was right about the inside job…and to talk about what she proposed the night before. He deduces that she suggested this because of Flash breaking up with Liz because she wouldn’t consent. Peter admits his love for MJ is on the level of marriage, but he’s fine with waiting. They kiss and close the distance between them.
Mysterio returns to his destroyed warehouse hideout, swears vengeance on Spider-Man, and vanishes again.

LIKES:

  • Teenage sex = subject never covered in Spider-Man Mythos EVER!
  • Ultimate Mysterio teaser
  • Ultimate Jessica Jones
  • Great dialogue as always

DISLIKES:

  • David Lafuente’s design of Spider-Man

RATING: 4 ouf of 5 Webs

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Back in the mid-sixties, Stan Lee challenged the Comics Code by publishing the Spider-Man drug issue. Back then that was extreme, but what they never covered during Peter’s high school career has been the issue of teenage sex. The issue of sex in general was covered fifteen years ago via Spider-Man #26 but it involved Peter and MJ’s discussion about the possibility of children. Bendis has finally stepped up to the plate and delivered a sensitive issue into Peter Parker’s already complicated life. His girlfriend wants to have sex, and he doesn’t know how to tell her he’s not ready without her thinking either he doesn’t love her as much as she does him, or make herself seem not as wholesome. I think everyone have had that problem in high school, when our significant other wants more from the relationship and we’re questioning whether or not we’re ready for that next step. That was the backbone of this story, further proving Joe Quesada right in assuming that the Spidey mythos is about the man (or kid in this case) behind the mask rather than the mask itself. Peter’s problems balance Spider-Man’s latest battles when written the right way and Brian never falters in that. This truly read like a standalone issue, but knowing Brian he’ll make it part of the ongoing story once the Venom stuff is over. Obviously he’ll have to now that Mysterio’s been thrown into the mix.
As to the artwork, I’m glad David didn’t go with the original bubble-headed design of Mysterio. His appearance complimented Brian’s crafting him as a techno-wizard and not so much obsessed with show business-type special effects. However, David’s weakness in this issue was Spidey himself. I don’t know what’s with some of these artists because although he wears a mask it’s not like the ENTIRE SHAPE OF HIS HEAD is altered. He’s not Iron Man; it’s not a solid helmet he puts on. You have to at least give him a nose when there’s a side shot of him. He’s human under those large eyes. The designs of Peter and MJ meanwhile were good. It reminds me of Spider-Man Manga a little, and it worked. It was a good contradiction: a cartoonish visual style in front of the backdrop of a delicate issue in society today. The splash of MJ and Peter kissing was the money shot for me. Now true the pull away of their making out with MJ in her pink undies was a little suggestive that MAYBE they went all the way, but then again Bagley did that in the second issue of the Latverian Mutant story.
So, in summation, great story, bad looking Spidey, great looking Mysterio, good fun had by all (with protection).

COVER: 5 out of 5 Webs
This was a cover that REALLY stood out because a) Spider-Man was not in the forefront, and b) it focused on the TRUE subject matter of the book: Peter and Mary Jane. The fact that Peter’s taken aback by MJ’s confidence says that she’s got something on her mind. The coloring is great; I always found redheads look good in green. However, I find the faces look a little too mature. These kids are technically fifteen so less lines okay, Mark? Other than that, great job!

Liked it? Take a second to support the Crawlspace on Patreon!