Ultimate Spider-Man #16 – Review


Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Production: Manny Mederos
Cover Artist: David Marquez & Rainer Beredo 

Plot: America is still reeling from a civil war, and Jefferson Davis, Miles’ father, is frustrated when the war reaches home. Jefferson is prevented from returning to his house and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents detain him when he ignores their warnings and crosses the police barrier. Miles, as rebellious as his father, visits the Triskelion, one of the most heavily guarded areas in the country.

Captain America berates Miles for his intrusion but their disagreement is cut short when the Triskelion comes under attack. Miles saves Captain America from plummeting to his death, and then fends off several Hydra agents, including Gorgon, the leader of the invading forces. Miles webs a rogue missile and directs it towards the water where it safely. Captain America and Spider-Man successfully defend the Triskelion and defeat Gorgon and the remaining Hydra agents.

The Ultimates arrive at the end of the battle, and Captain America gives Spider-Man all the credit for the victory. The other heroes congratulate Miles and welcome him to the team. Miles borrows a cell phone and calls his mother. Even though he feels bad for lying to her, he convinces her that everything is okay and that he is staying with Ganke. Iron Man then invites Miles to a press conference being held by Captain America. Cap gives a speech in which he accepts his nomination to be the next President of the United States.

*

Ultimate Breakdown: I have no sympathy for Jefferson. During a war time event, you should not go around barking orders at the men who are trying to protect you. I understand he wants to get home to check on his family, but yelling and refusing to listen to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is a good way to get you locked up. Miles’ mother says she received a call from him in the end of the book, so I assume he doesn’t get thrown in the detention center for long. This tantrum served no purpose other than to  make Jefferson look belligerent.

Jefferson’s rebellious nature could be the reason why Miles felt it was okay to try and show up on the Triskelion’s front door as well. I’m glad Captain America yelled at Miles and used this as another example of Miles’ naivety. Miles’ embarrassment at being chastised by Cap effectively came through in his narration boxes. It was also nice to see Miles acknowledge his poor judgment when Hydra attacked the base. This showed that Miles is not just learning as he goes, but accepting his mistakes and looking to better himself.

Miles is getting the hang of the webbing quickly, and I especially enjoyed how he made the “thwip” noise in his head when he fired a webline. Miles not only saved Cap from falling with a well-placed webline, but he also used the webbing to blind several Hydra agents in an exciting action sequence. The webbing helped saved the day again when Miles lassoed the rocket and directed the missile away from the Triskelion.

Captain America had some great shield moves as well, including an impressive ricocheting shot which took out five Hydra agents. Gorgon stole the shield and knocked Cap to the ground, but with Spider-Man’s help, Cap recovered and delivered an awesome right cross which shattered the red lenses in Gorgon’s mask. Cap’s shield sling knocked out the pilot of a hijacked Quincarrier . The maneuver was enjoyable, even though it could have been risky. I’m not sure where the aircraft eventually crashed, but it most likely made it to the water like the wayward missile.

The art is handled by a different artist, but Larraz’s style is similar enough to that of David Marquez, the regular artist on the book, that I didn’t notice the change right away. The art was a great benefit to the action, with highlights such as the streaking path of Cap’s shield throws, as well as the scene which showed Miles bouncing between the Hydra agents. The scene which showed the pieces of Gorgon’s shattered helmet flying outward was another nice touch. The best change Larraz brought to the book, however, was the absence of Captain America’s bulky shoulder pads which he had worn in an earlier issue. 

The biggest drawback to this issue is once again its place in the overall Divided We Fall story in the Ultimate Universe. I’m not clear as to what’s going on at all, or who Gorgon is for that matter, but I assume that this is all covered in the other Ultimate titles. For anyone not reading the rest of the Ultimate comics, this seems to be just a non-stop action scene and doesn’t offer much when it comes to the story. Miles gets another chance to prove himself to the Ultimates, but that’s about it.

I’m a fan of Captain America taking up the mantle of President of the United States, but the press conference seemed to come directly on the heels of the fight on the Triskelion. It isn’t clear how much time passed between these two events, because it seemed as though everything happened a little too quickly in the end. Although, based on how often Cap has been flip-flopping concerning Miles’ status as a hero, he’s already got that political trait down, and so he should have no problem filling his new role.

*

Rating: Good, action and art. Decent, characterization and writing. Poor, story. 3.5/5.

A fun adventure with Miles, but it doesn’t shed any light on what is happening in the overall Divided We Fall storyline. Cap is forced to eat his words once again concerning Miles by the end of this issue, and Jefferson’s hostile reaction towards the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents didn’t seem to serve any purpose.

“Remember that one time during the fight when it looked like you might actually win? No? Me neither.” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
“Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord.” – Ultimate Alliance 2

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