Comics : Bullet Points #3

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Peter Parker has become the Hulk. He has caused massive property damage and put his Aunt May in the hospital. The repercussions of the bullet that killed Emil Erskine continues when Reed Richards is set to go into space. He will leave Steve Rogers alone to deal with the dangerous side effects of the Iron Man armor. Unbeknownst to Reed, a saboteur has placed explosives on the rocket.

In Detail...

Bullet Points #3
Mar 2007 : SM Guest
Summary: Alternate world Peter Parker
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Artist:  Tommy Lee Edwards
Staff Only
Issue
Review

The issue starts with more philosophizing about a bullet's impact on the course of history. We cut to Reed and Sue. Reed does not regret the time he spent with Steve. However, Reed is happy that his childhood dream will finally be realized. The explosives are armed as the romantic duo leave to make further preparations.

Meanwhile, General Ross leads an impromptu conference on how to best deal with Peter Parker's transformation. Steve Rogers recalls his memories of Ben Parker and the day that Emil Erskine was killed. Aunt May has suffered a heart attack and three young soldiers have died due to the Hulk's rampage. Rogers is denied further information on the details concerning Parker's exposure to gamma rays. The military wants Rogers to once again don the armor of the Iron man in order to arrest Peter. Rogers decides to decline an offer to get Reed out of his space journey in order to help with the armor.

We then cut back to Reed and his quartet. Ben Grimm and Reed have a happy verbal joust. Sue proclaims her love for Reed. Ben initiates a countdown for Reed. The rocket triumphantly lifts off.

The scene shifts to the hospital where Aunt May is convalescing. Peter sneaks around two distracted doctors and enters his Aunt's room. He apologizes profusely for the incident. He has to go away to avoid attention but wanted to say goodbye to his Aunt. May informs Peter that her hospital stay was a way of drawing out Peter into the open for capture. Steve Rogers, as Iron Man, steps out of the shadows to confront an angry Peter. Peter refuses to listen to reason and smashes Iron Man out the hospital window onto the streets. Iron Man fires off his repulsor rays but it only has the effect of making Peter angrier. Steve takes a vicious right to his helmet knocking it off. He informs the gathering crowd to back off and then slams shoulder first into the Hulk/Peter. Steve's words of wisdom fall on deaf ears. Peter slams his weakening body into the road and prepares to slam a school bus on Iron Man. With his last iota of strength, Steve manages to blind Peter with a repulsor blast. Unfortunately, Peter recovers and body slams Steve. In the process, Steve's life is sucked away until he slumps dead in the Hulk's arms. Peter is horrified at what he has done and makes a hasty retreat from military forces.

The scene shifts again back to Reed and his crew on the rocket. Before they can get a final boost into orbit, the bombs trigger a massive explosion. The rocket descends back down into Earth's atmosphere. Reed and his crew are in a frenzied panic. The rocket eventually crashes into a mountainside with a terrific aftershock. Reed holds the dead body of his beloved Sue and realizes he is the only survivor. Later, Reed glumly attends the funeral of Steve Rogers. A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent interrupts his thoughts. Reed has never heard of it but the agent wants him to join up. Reed has lost an eye. The issue ends with Peter/Hulk in seclusion contemplating what he has done.

In General...

This issue was not much better than the previous offerings in the mini-series. Reed Richards's metamorphosis into a Nick Fury figure is rushed and seems totally arbitrary. Reed never displayed an affinity for super-spy activities in the first two issues. There is no evidence to assume he would take a top- level job as America's protector. Scientists do not just simply decide to be soldiers on a whim. The reader understands that Sue loves Reed. However, Sue serves no other purpose other than to die. This also raises the question of why S.H.I.E.L.D. would be willing to give the top job to someone in such a saddened state. Reed has lost everything. You'd expect the guy to be inconsolable for awhile. Perhaps, this is why he accepts S.H.I.E.L.D.'s offer. However, due to little characterization, Reed's shift remains unconvincing.

Peter's involvement in this issue was a bit more convincing but anti-climactic. We know that the Hulk is the most destructive force on the Earth. Steve's suicidal decision to confront Peter is within his character but seems foolhardy. When we look at the facts, Steve should obviously realize that the military does not really care for the future health of his body. They want the aging hero to reign in some new blood. Peter is the pawn. Steve's patriotism is misguided in this sense.

Next, Peter's love for Aunt May is certainly a solid development but is once again hampered by bizarre and/or no characterization. Previously, Peter's disdain for his Aunt had been emphasized by JMS. All of the hatred dissipates as the result of a quick conversation. It's fine for a character's feelings to evolve. However, it all happens so suddenly. A more solid, and convincing, bridge is needed to tell the story of Peter's evolution as a character. Everything is way too rushed to the point where the issue becomes a discombobulated series of events meant to shock the reader. The issue should not rely on shocking events in order to draw in readers. Rather, a shocking event such as Peter's transformation into the Hulk should be handled within the context of a solid story. Bullet Points does not have this in its favor.

Once again, Edwards's solid art is not complemented by JMS's script. The Iron Man/Hulk battle was a welcome addition to a rather mundane issue. Edwards's did not skimp on the grittiness and violence a fight between two of the most powerful figures in the Marvel universe entails. JMS's obsession with bullets remains a grandly awful idea. The idea to start every issue with overblown narration on bullets is old and tiresome.

Overall Rating...

Edwards's art on the Hulk/Iron Man fight gives this issue a half-web improvement. Otherwise, this mini-series remains an atrocious example of a bad idea seeing the publishing light because of a big name writer's misguided enthusiasm.