Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Aunt May, brought in to the 103rd Precinct, is harshly interrogated by two NYPD detectives on alleged information that her nephew is secretly Spider-Man. Then, the precinct experiences a complete blackout. May’s instructed not to leave the interrogation room as they go to check it out, but May does so anyway when calamity and panic ensues. The entire building is deserted, save for one wannabe superheroine crying that it’s all gone. May heads outside and finds the entire city block leveled by a freighter vessel that was washed in by the massive tidal wave that rocked Manhattan Island.
Meanwhile, across town, Spider-Man, confused and shaken, tries his utmost to save those who managed to survive the devastation. Suddenly, he gets telepathic instruction and mental imagery from Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men, who claims that Magneto is behind this. While he’s doing this, Spider-Man manages to snag a taxi cab in a massive web, but the female passenger, telling him the driver’s bleeding, tries getting out and falls into the waters below. Spidey dives in after her, scurries back up the building and leaves her with the other survivors on the roof. However, when he gets back to the cab, he finds the driver dead, leaving Peter discouraged and overwhelmed.
Back at the elevated train in Battery Park, Kitty Pryde has to battle the prejudice and discord from the other passengers to convince them to let her help them off the train, either lying about no mutant having a part of this, or not having recieved Xavier’s call for help.
In Queens, May tries to help the injured away from the ship when an underground explosion rocks the neighborhood again. She recovers and sees the female detective suffering from a broken leg. A telephone pole, meanwhile, almost falls on the both of them when Spider-Woman unexpectedly shows and props it back in place. However, she makes the mistake of recognizing and calling out “Aunt May?” The detective suspiciously looks at her and asks if this is another one of hers.
Back in Battery Park, Kitty, along with Kenny and MJ, have managed to get everyone off the train and onto ground level. Gwen’s in panic mode and MJ tries to console her. MJ is hopeful Peter survived…while simultaneously he’s confronted by the Incredible Hulk with a car above his head.
- Aunt May interrogated
- The interweaving of events in ULTIMATUM
- Cloverfield-like calamity; realistic reactions
- Catch-22 for Spidey
- Spider-Woman’s surprise save
- The question of gravity in relation to Kitty’s phasing ability.
Okay before we get to the nitty gritty of this review, let me send out a belated happy birthday to USM’s inker Wade von Grawbadger. Hope you had a good one buddy. Okay now on to business! Brian Michael Bendis has taken a major risk – again – in how he answered the question “how would the eyes of the law look on a woman whose teenager was a super-powered vigilante, and knew about it?” Now it’s unclear at this point at just how much evidence they have to support the principal’s claims, but it’s treated as a very serious matter. Every time Peter puts on his mask and goes out there, he’s taking the law into his own hands, regardless of the necessity of that action. And since May is aware of his identity, and refuses to report it, that makes her an accessory to vigilantism. I like how the detectives are bringing up May’s hippie past and treating this as her potentially influencing Peter to break the law. However, one thing I’m kind of on the fence on is the idea of WIPING OUT THE ENTIRE PRECINCT THAT KNOWS THE TRUTH!!! Well, save one, anyway. I think this is Brian’s attempt to avoid repeating the events of Civil War. And hey, nothing breaks up an interrogation than a massive tidal wave causing a freighter (or is that a ferry?) crashing into a Queens block, right? Real subtle. Then, just when May has a chance to disuade the detective of her connection to Spider-Man, his female counterpart happens to come swinging in to save the day and call her “aunt” to boot. Whether that’s whincing of pain or skepticism on that detective’s face, I’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. May’s already had to deal with a clone of a girl who died on her lawn; how will she handle a female version of her nephew?
As for Peter himself, his reaction to this carnage is very realistic. He’s still very green as a superhero; he has zero training for this kind of crisis, and he’s learning as he goes. And the catch-22 with the cab was well done and PURE Spider-Man; stay with the cab and save the driver, or leave the cab and dive in after the woman? Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. The lack of dialogue from Brian is unneeded in light of how Stuart captured that moment of hollowed victory. Kitty Pryde, meanwhile, seems very much in control of the situation because she’s probably engaged in these kinds of scenarios in the Danger Room. She’s got to fight against the passengers’ distrust of her that erupts at the sight of her power. And the idea of her going Sarah Connor (or is it Kyle Reese?) with that Terminator line was priceless. However, I’m unclear as to how she can control her ability because that elevated train is two stories above street level and she looks like she’s floating them down one at a time. I don’t know; I’ll have to research her phasing ability and gravity’s role in it to be sure, but something didn’t look right.
One thing I noted in the Likes was the Cloverfield-like atmosphere. Everything is in utter chaos and everyone is in a state of panic, even its heroes. It’s like (and I hope I don’t offend anyone for saying so) a second 9-11 has torn through Manhattan and no one could have predicted or prevented it. And finally, we have a brilliant foreshadowing of next issue; the Hulk in silhouette holding a car above his head. It leaves the reader curious as to whether he’s helping or ready to smash. He was caught in the wave as well, so as to whether he sees Spidey as a threat or not is a coin toss. And if you guys have read ULTIMATE ORIGINS, and know the Parker-Banner connection, you’ll be eager to see where this goes.
All in all, bros, EXCELLENT JOB and I can’t wait for the next issue!
Ratings: 5 out of 5 Webs
Kitty Pryde: COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!
Cover: 5 out of 5 Webs
While you don’t see this happening in the story, the viewer gets the conveyed sense that this is truly a life-threatening situation that Spider-Man’s found himself in. His clawing upwards for air brilliantly captures the impact of ULTIMATUM and makes you wonder “Is he going to make it?” Great work, Stuart!