Ultimate Spider-Man #17 – Review


So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight. That’s all I know of that song in the Sound of Music, but this will actually mark my final review for the Crawlspace. My day job, personal life, and other extracurricular activities had been escalating to the point where it got harder for me to keep up with the review-a-week schedule that I had been maintaining for the first year on the site. All in all, I was able to get upwards of  80 reviews for you guys in a little under two years and I appreciate all the feedback you guys and gals provided me. Special thanks to Brad for entrusting me with Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, video games, and the summer events during my time here. I plan on trying to keep a little bit of a web (ha, get it) presence over at my personal site so please feel free to stop by there to say hello and I will try to do the same. Thanks again to everyone who read, commented and considered me a friend. It was my privilege and if I ever have something relevant to say about Spider-Man I hope I can still swing (ha, again!) by and post my thoughts.     

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #17

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

Plot: Hawkeye is delivering an inspirational speech to members of the Ultimates and an assemblage of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the brink of the Battle of Wyoming. Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are teamed up despite Spider-Woman’s objections to Miles’ presence at the battle. The spider duo’s argument is put on hold as a battalion of Hydra War Machines arrive on the scene.

The battle rages. Captain America, the new president of the United States, flies overhead on a jet bike, waving an American flag. A War Machine takes off after Cap and Spider-Man leaps into action. Miles hitches a ride on the War Machine and knocks it out of the sky before it can catch up to Captain America. Unfortunately, Miles and the airborne Hydra soldier crash to the ground far away from the battle and Miles is knocked unconscious. Miles comes to several hours later all alone in a Wyoming field.

Back in Brooklyn, Jefferson Davis is still in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody. The transport vehicle comes under attack by a band of Hydra agents. The terrorists offer Jefferson and the other captives their freedom and hand them guns. Hydra then executes the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the street. Jefferson returns home where he sits in silence with the gun on his lap. Rio Morales, Jefferson’s wife, finds her husband distracted and expresses her concern for him. She asks about the gun and inquires about the whereabouts of their son.

*

Ultimate Breakdown: To the detriment of this comic, the Divided We Fall story continues to be shoehorned into the Spider-Man comic. Characters like Invisible Woman and Falcon are also forced into this issue from out of nowhere and don’t bring anything to this comic. Because of that, this comic has a hard time standing on its own. The timeline also does not make a lot of sense in relation to the previous issue. At the end of the last issue, Captain America had just accepted the role of President of the United States and Miles was on the phone with his mother convincing her he was okay and staying with Ganke. Rio also supposedly received a call from her husband who had just been detained by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Now, several hours later, the Ultimates had taken the battle to Wyoming and Jefferson was still in custody. Did S.H.I.E.L.D. actually allow Jefferson to make a call to his wife at the end of last issue? If so, why was he still angry and being held captive? And if Miles had already told her he was at Ganke’s, why would she be worried about where he was? Had she checked up on her son and learned that he wasn’t actually staying with Ganke? Maybe these questions could have been answered instead of focusing on Hawkeye’s inspirational speech. Bendis could have focused on how this war was affecting Miles’ family a little bit more and made it a little more relevant to Spider-Man.

Jefferson continues to look irrational as he yells at the top of his lungs at S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are trying to keep the peace. In comparison, his wife handles her interaction with the agents in a more mature manner. She speaks in a calm voice, presents a valid identification which proves she actually lives on the blocked street, and even says “thank you” when the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent lets her pass. And what does Jefferson plan on doing with the gun that Hydra gave him? The terrorists killed a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in cold blood right in front of Jefferson, so why would he even contemplate taking up arms with Hydra? This presents a good opportunity for Bendis to show the strength of the couple’s relationship by having Rio talk some sense into her husband. Hopefully more time will be spent on developing Miles’ supporting cast of characters instead of action scenes which would be better shown in a more appropriate comic like the Ultimates. 

The action scenes just presented more questions for someone not familiar with the Ultimates comics. I was unsure about why Hydra had an army of War Machine suits. I’m also pretty sure the trio of Giant Women were on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side, but I wasn’t completely sure about that the majority of the time. There’s not much to the action besides the gun fire and explosions that don’t seem as dynamic when compared to the acrobatic, webbing attacks Miles used in the previous issue.

Spider-Woman is now the only one who seems to be making sense concerning Miles’ youth, but their arguments were more of a distraction and out of place during the fight. It is also becoming repetitive that Miles is so proud of himself and constantly marveling at his new skills. On the other hand, it’s nice to see that he has finally picked up on what his spider-sense means.

It seems that Miles got more than powers similar to those of Peter, he also got the unfortunate Parker luck. He ran out of web fluid at the most inconvenient time, but how did he manage to get so far away from the battle? He was knocked out for a long time and you would think, based on the fate of the last Spider-Man, that there would be a search party for Miles.

The art is not the best this title has had to offer. Larraz did a great job on the last issue he worked on, but this time the art wasn’t as defined. The black outlines and vibrant colors were still present, but the shapes of the characters seemed a little off. One of the best examples of this problem was when Spider-Man and Spider-Woman were standing back-to-back and Spider-Woman towered over Miles. The height difference seemed really jarring in that panel since Miles didn’t normally come up to her waist in other parts of the issue.

*

Rating: Decent, action and art. Poor, characterization and writing. Bad, story. 2/5.

Spider-Man’s role in Divided We Fall is superficial at best and just an excuse to get him on the Ultimates team. There are shallow attempts at showing how this conflict is affecting his family, but the majority of the issue is focused on action, and that action doesn’t help explain what is happening in the overall story.

“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

Twitter: @HookrsAndSpdrMn
Blog: sicklygazelle.wordpress.com
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(8) Comments

  1. Spider-Dad

    Brian another solid review and explanation of what you liked and disliked. I will miss your reviews, so hopefully things can simplify for you and you can return in the future. As for this issue, I agree that having Miles in a bigger battle like this is forced. I am not a big fan of bigger crossover events that requires the reader to buy several titles to figure out the entire story. Since crossover events are in the $40-50 range (if you are lucky), I never feel they are good entertainment value. However, I did find the parts with Jefferson interesting. Since we know he had a more radical (hot-headed?) past, being asked to join Hydra during a situation where he is clearly pissed at SHIELD created a personal dilemna for him. I found him on the couch contemplating what he will do next very revealing and the most interesting part of the story. The sooner this crossover is done and the sooner we can get back to the core story with his parents, the Betty Brant's situation as shown in 16.1, the better. C+ for me.

  2. Brian Bradley - Post author

    Thank you, you Amazing fellas! I'll be poking around still when I have the time to read along with your coverage of the main Spidey title, as I've enjoyed reading both of your takes on Amazing over the past several months. I finally found the time to catch up on reading Venom over Thanksgiving and plan on catching back up with Scarlet soon so I can follow along with those reviews as well so I won't be that big of a stranger. It's been a blast.

  3. Brian Bradley - Post author

    @1 flatteo... sorry you don't agree. I saw nothing of substance in this issue, especially from an Ultimate Spider-Man stand point. It didn't seem to match up with the end of the last issue concerning his family, the action wasn't anything special, and it didn't do anything in the way of explaining why they were in Wyoming or what was going on in the bigger picture. It was a pure filler issue that didn't fill you in on anything. I was never sold on this new Ultimate Spider-Man or Miles to begin with so all I can tell you is wait around and see what the next reviewer's thoughts are and maybe you'll agree more with them. @2 Iron Patriot... thanks for the words, I enjoyed your feedback even if the outcome of our Daredevil/Boba Fett fight caused my grief.

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