Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #10 Review


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David LaFuente
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Picking up from last issue, Kenny assaults one of the FBI agents when he pressures Kitty to leave. THe other agents gang up on Kenny to subdue him. Johnny and Bobby debate whether to get involved despite their secret identities, but Pete takes Gwen side and tells them all to stay back. He then tells Kitty she has to go otherwise someone’s going to get hurt. Kitty consents, but still they pull their guns on her. She takes advantage of the situation, grabs Kenny, and phases through the floor with him in tow down into the sewer. She tells him what he did was amazing and that she never should have broken up with her. They kiss, then they run.


Later on at the school, at an emergency PTA meeting (May in the front row), parents are up in arms about what had happened early on in the day, not giving the principal a chance to speak. Finally reaching his boiling point, he orders them all to sit down. He first tries to be diplomatic and admits to having an illegal mutant in his school, which starts the commotion again, followed by another outburst.  He admits that in a position to educate and teach his students tolerance today he failed in his responsibility and apologizes, but does not get any sympathy. He finally throws the book down, telling them suing the school is pointless because Midtown is underfunded and is beside the point. He proposes instead of lashing out that each parent should consider that the responsibility for the blatant act of racism that occurred at the school – and continuing in the country in general – falls on all of them. The principal proclaims he has resigned, albeit after having been fired. He then posts the question as to what they are going to do when it is their child who is accused of being different? Will they allow someone else to decide what happens? “These children deserve better than what we let happen to this world.” Not a word comes from the audience, not even May.


Back at the house, the guys debate over what has happened and who’s to blame. Gwen assures Bobby and Johnny there was nothing they could have done, and Peter’s inclined to agree. What they are GOING to do, he decides, is find Kitty and Kenny.
Suited up, Spidey, Torch, and Iceman had over to the Pryde house…only to find it surrounded by both press and police. One of the vans explodes, and in the epicentre is Kitty in her new costume (though her identity’s a secret to the guys at this point). Her secret’s out once Spidey tries to tackle her and phases right through her. Kitty strikes Iceman so hard his face literally cracks. She unmasks and accuses them of letting her take the fall just like everyone else. Peter tries to tell her that the last thing she wants is to be Magneto in these people’s eyes, but she says that Magneto was right and knocks into the house. Kitty’s mother pleads to Spider-Man to help her daughter. Bobby manages to freeze her, but she phases through it, revealing that she discovered how to not only phase through objects, but actually repel them with tremendous force. She phases into the lawn and vanishes. The trio chase her down the nearest manhole. However, there is no trace of her. Hoping she’s close enough to hear her, Peter tells her that she’s loved and pleads to let them help her figure a way out of this mess. Johnny advises him to let her go; this is her choice. Unnoticed, Kitty sits on a rock and is crying from menacing-looking eyes.


Elsewhere, Mary Jane looks over video footage she accidentally taped of the arrest in the classroom much to the delight of Jessica Jones. She thinks that MJ just wrote her own ticket into any college of her choice.
TO BE CONTINUED…

LIKES:

  • Go Kenny!
  • Provocative underlying message of tolerance at the PTA
  • Ethical debate amongst the “Spider-Friends”
  • Great direction with Kitty Pryde
  • Awesome Sale-esque splash of Kitty!
  • MJ’s decision yet-to-be-made

DISLIKES:

  • Bendis is showing typos
  • What exactly IS Kitty’s extra power?
  • Still egg-shaped Spidey head

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Before I go into it, I remember an act of racism in my old high school. This was during the time when homosexuality was relatively new to the public, like in the mid-90s. A student who was gay was not shy in expressing his orientation, dressing in flamboyant outfits and accessories. Well, suffice to say he was the target of bullying. I’m still disgusted by this act of intolerance by people that I actually knew. They beat him up severely one time near a bus stop. As to whether it was resolved or not I don’t know. It’s that occurrence that comes to mind when I read about Kitty’s situation coming to a head.


Bendis should change his name from Michael to “Rebel,” for he’s taken Kitty to heights that weren’t even imagined in regular Marvel. She’s always been the girl next door, Wolverine’s adopted kid sister, and so forth. To actually see her take such an unexpected turn towards the dark side is surprising, yet completely understandable. From issue 1 of the reboot you could tell that this was a girl who was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Because she is Jewish, the travesties committed against her religion during the times of WWII by Nazi Germany is mirrored by the current anti-mutant hysteria. This also makes her statement that “Magneto was right” all the more relevant, for he, himself, is Jewish, and had survived that horrific experience. That connection, as well as her choice of red as the color of her costume, seems to suggest she is unconsciously channeling him through her lashing out at the media. She is also smart, for she does not reveal her new acquisition of abilities to no one so as to maintain the status quo of her powers being only defense and not offense. She walks through walls and people; how can she hurt anyone? One can only imagine the kind of pressure she’s been under, hiding it from even her peers and restraining herself from unfair punishments. You truly feel for her when she says she just wants to go to school like everyone else. Even I would have done what Kenny had done. More on him later. It takes a great writer to invoke such feelings of outrage and revulsion at unfair treatment of certain minorities, and Brian, you are that writer. And for once David really nailed the emotional turmoil Kitty is experiencing through that splash page that is really within the vein of Tim Sale. The deep use of shadows conveys the sense that this is innocence corrupted; you both feel for her, yet are worried for what she will do next.


The same outrage that Kitty expresses is embodied also by the principal. I appreciate the idea for Brian to approach the notion of intolerance in this manner. These parents are both uninformed and misinformed of the day’s events and are worried for their children. It is also a testament to the principal’s character, for up till this point he has sat on the face, hindered by the regulations he has sworn to upheld. It has been him,even, that has dragged Kitty to detention for letting fries thrown at her just pass through her in self-defense. And yet, we see in his outrage at his own administration for condoning this deliberate step back towards segregation. Government agents disrupt his own school to arrest a girl who has not raised a hand at anyone, and yet he is supposed to preach tolerance of all races. His reasons for stepping down as principal are justifiable. His impact on a once-hostile crowd with those final questions towards them are proof of what he’s been holding back these past eight issues. The ability to make people think is key to any educator.


Again, Kenny provides layers to his character. Admittedly the leather jacket and punk rock look reminds me of Bulk from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, he proves that he is still the same cueball from the first volume by taking one for the team. Scratch that, he takes SEVERAL given there are four agents. Currently he is the only human besides her mother that Kitty can trust; as to how that will change given her state of mind remains to be seen. Somehow I think he’s the only one that can get through to her if she goes over the line.


The internal conflict amongst the “Spider-Friends” is also a good addition to the conflict. Literally their hands were tied in the classroom. Any attempt they’ve made thus far to live a normal life would have been for naught had they revealed their powers. Peter being the unofficial chairman of this group is a good step in the right direction other than the hair; he’s showing that beyond the brooding act he is able to rationalize and make the right choices…even if they put him at odds with those he cares for. From the beginning they had something that she didn’t: anonymity, to a certain extent in regards to Johnny. Flaming on, putting on a mask, and icing up to protect their identities was a luxury Kitty gave up when she joined the X-Men, which is a very premiere group of mutant heroes. Granted by not doing anything in class save for telling Kitty to run, Peter’s put up a wall. He basically said for her to give up her civil right to education. To her, Peter and the others have turned their backs on her, and have the gall to show up after the fact hiding their faces. It will take a monumental effort for these kids to get over that wall, if they ever will.


However, again, this issue is not perfect. The revelation of Kitty’s new superhuman strength goes is poorly explained; granted she’s no Charles Xavier but they could’ve done a better job in explaining the mechanics of her power, like maybe in a chat with Kenny. Also, I’m finding typos in the dialogue, such as in the principal’s address to the crowd. See if you guys can find it. It’s almost undetectable. And again, egg-shaped Spidey head.
Other than these flaws, this was a really powerful issue and a possible turning point for a classic good girl. And the cliffhanger as to MJ’s choice is a good one because that is a potential conflict of interest. Keep up the pace you guys!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Webs

Cover: 5 ouf of 5 Webs
AT LAST! RELEVANCE!! With the exception of Spidey in the background, this is EXACTLY what Kitty is facing and is the focal point of this issue. You can get the tension in the air by seeing Kitty’s fearless glare. Great job!

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