Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #9 Review


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David LaFuente
Ink: Wade Von Grawbadger
Color: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

The Bombshells are back in foul-mouthed business in a big way, this time robbing a turned-over armored truck when Spider-Woman intercepts and engages them in battle. The foul-mouthed mother-daughter duo gain the upper hand on the webbed wonder until the Human Torch joins in, encircling them in a wall of flame, setting them up for Jessica’s knockout punch. Spider-Woman is quick to leave but is pursued by the Torch. Though she unmasks when she thinks she lost Johnny, the Torch catches up but doesn’t see her resemblance to Peter. The Q & A/one-sided flirtation ends quickly as Jessica dodges Johnny’s advances (FYI FOR FIRST TIME READERS: this version of Spider-Woman is Peter Parker’s clone).
The next day at Midtown, Gwen leads Peter into the ladies’ room, where he is ambushed by Kitty and MJ. They are all sick of his long locks and decide to give him a haircut, remarking it makes his Spider-Man personna look like he has an egg-shaped head. A fellow classmate sees this going on and makes an anti-mutant crack at Kitty. At the end of the day, Peter shows up home with the gang sporting a buzz cut similar to Bobby’s, which May loves. Johnny comes in announcing he’s in love after having made out with Spider-Woman. For Peter that’s the last straw as he storms out of the house leaving a dumbfounded Johnny puzzled as to his reaction. Although he blows off steam as Spider-Man, the ambush makeover and Jessica’s alleged liplock are still too much for him to handle.
The next day in class, Peter continues to brood as their teacher discusses whether they’re learning for the joy of learning. The principal and government officials interrupt the class, asking Kitty Pryde to come with them. She has been expelled from school, and the officials are with the anti-mutant task force. Though shocked, Kitty takes a stand, pointing out if they draw their guns, bullets will only phase through her and end up in the student behind her (who happens to be Flash). Peter is quick to object, pointing out that this is a trap; they want Kitty to lash out so that their actions are justified. An agent pulls his gun, all the other kids are shocked. Kitty merely says she only wants to go to school like everyone else. Peter warns her twice to run.
TO BE CONTINUED…

LIKES:

  • Peter/Johnny/Jessica triangle developing
  • FINALLY THE BANGS ARE GONE!!!
  • Return of Bombshell
  • Developing Kitty Pryde situation

DISLIKES:

  • Still the Manga
  • Is the haircut too much like the Parker in regular Spidey continuity?

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Before I start, I feel I have to justify why I’ve been absent for the past few months. It seems like I ALWAYS have to do this. I’ve had an Othello essay to worry about, as well as a final exam the week after for a Shakespeare course I took to upgrade my gpa. So, I want to apologize; I love the comic, and this opportunity, and I want to prove that through my actions. Here on out, no distractions or delays. Now on to business…
One strong element in this issue was the comedy; from Spider-Woman’s encounters with Bombshell and the Torch to Peter’s ambush makeover in the ladies room of all places, there were a lot of laughs to be had. In regards to Jessica and Johnny, it was a nice touch for them to cut out on the answer to Johnny’s asking her out because it leaves the fans wondering if Johnny DID score. Both Peter and Jessica’s reactions to Johnny are understandable; this is a guy they both know and (in Peter’s case) fought beside. This is a girl with the thoughts and impulses of a boy, so that leaves the possibility open that Jessica may not be into boys at all, which makes this situation all the more problematic. Bendis handles Jessica’s identity crisis very well and doesn’t go over the top. Peter’s reaction is classic. He’s like “whaaa?!” Dude I’d be nauseous too lol. Bendis even has him express his outrage through internal dialogue. Guess the long, drawn out Lee-esque soliloquoys don’t capture the sheer power of numerous “aaaaarrrrgggh!!!”
As to the hair…this is a double edged sword. I don’t know if anyone in the bullpen have been reading my reviews but I’ve stressed numerous times my disdain for Lafuente’s design of both Peter and Spidey. His head when masked is too egg-shaped. And, coincidentally, it’s a fact that Gwen points out in the bathroom. I doubt they were influenced by my statements to change the kid’s hair, but honestly the egg-shaped head stayed so try again, David. If you notice the montage of Spidey when on patrol, you don’t see a single difference in the contours of his skull, and when he’s unmasked it’s angular again. Pete’s reaction is understandable; a teenage boy’s hair is a personal doman to him, a personal statement. He feels like he’s been violated by his ex-girlfriends and current girlfriend and in the ladies’ room for whoever walks in there to see.
However, that’s not to say there wasn’t drama in this issue. I’m sure everyone can see what has happened to Kitty as the other shoe dropping. The hysteria has been building her way for the past eight issues and had to come to a head sooner or later. However, I never believed that it would be as extreme as federal agents arresting her in class. You really feel for her when she drops her pissed-off attitude at the final page with that last line. The appearance of Kenny suggests taht something’s going to happen involving him in the next issue; I’m glad that Bendis hasn’t changed him THAT much beyond the punk rocker phase he’s in. You get to sense how powerless the Spider-posse feel; all three of them have the ability to easily help their friend to escape, but if they do anything they’ll also be targets and someone is bound to get hurt or worse. As to how Kitty will read their non-interference it’s anyone’s guess. She’s the only one of them whose identity is public thanks to her time in the X-Men, and since the Ultimatum, she’s gone from local popular kid who happens to be a mutant to a full-blown threat despite the nature of her powers only being defensive rather than offensive. Racism at its worst in the Marvel Universe, what can I say? One can also argue that she’s in the situation Peter Parker would have been in had he unmasked and not heralded as New York’s premiere hero by Jameson post-Ultimatum.
Overall this was a great issue and look forward to the follow up.  However, one drawback again is the art. While the manga proportions worked for the comedy, the tension in Kitty’s face didn’t have to be accentuated with dark shading under her eyes. It looks too cartoonish and takes a lot from the seriousness of the scene. And again, when you write the egg-shaped head on Spidey’s body because of his hair, Brian, make sure David puts some angles on that cranium post-haircut. Other than that it was excellent.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Peter: You ALL hate my hair?
Gwen: (holding a screencap on her phone) Sweety, look at your mask. Look at the masked you…your
hair  is so big your head looks perfectly round. You’re round-head Spider-Man.
Peter: (I didn’t realize it was THAT round.)
MJ: It’s round, honey. You look like Charlie Brown.
Peter: I don’t want you three having lunch together anymore.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Webs

Cover: 3.5 out of 5 Webs
While this is a great cover on Lafuente’s part, Spider-Woman’s relevance only lasts till the middle of the book when the comedy ends and the drama begins. Still, David draws a very dynamic Jessica Drew. And the decision to set it against a black background makes it pop all the more.

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