Comics : Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #14

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

The cover shows Spidey putting his fingers in his ears. Black Widow has apparently just emptied her guns, judging by the shells on the floor. It looks to be a very funny and action-packed issue. Right?

In Detail...

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #14
May 2002 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Black Widow
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Terry Moore
Inker:  Walden Wong
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate MTU) #3

The story starts at the Latverian embassy, six months ago. The ambassador is holding a press conference. A girl brings him some tea afterwards. He notices her. Three months ago, the same man returns from a meeting with Tony Stark. He's upset (so now we know who he is, it's Golog from issues 4 and 5). He has to report immediately. The girl from the tea is in his office, bringing him some soup. Then, one week ago, the same girl is brought before Golog. He questions her and slaps her in the face. He rips of her wig, asking her whether he's stupid. Then she attacks, flooring the bodyguards and leaping towards the window to escape. Infortunately she's hit by some electric stunning gun.

Cut to the Daily Bugle. Ben Urich got a call from a woman working at the Latverian embassy. She claimed a girl was beaten up and taken away by the ambassador. He tells this to JJJ and Robbie. JJJ smells a story and wants to make some calls. He'll handle the politics of this thing. Peter Parker overhears the conversation and slips away. We see Spider-Man swinging away.

First we see nothing, then Golog and his goons upset down. He's holding a book in which a tape recorder was hidden. This is seen through the eyes of the girl from before. She's in her costume, hanging up-side-down, tied up with rope. Golog asks how long she's been recording his day-to-day operations. She's joking about it. He says he know's who she is, Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow. A graduate of the Moscow-based covert-training Academy known as the Red Room.

Golog theory is that she's a Red Dwarf, a person operating solo. Gathering intelligence and either selling it to the highest bidder or using it in order to join some organization. Golog wants to know who Natasha is working for, hoping the truth serum is starting to kick in. Black Widow doesn't answer. Golog hits her, she laughs. She laughs and laughs and at the same time is cutting the rope behind her back. Golog gets angry and threathens to take her to his holiness Victor von Doom. Black Widow has her hands free and hits Golog. She grabs her utility belt from one of the goons as the other one points a gun at her face.

We see Spider-Man outside the building when the shot is heard. He wonders what to do, just barge and do his thing? Then Black Widow is seen running outside the building. Spidey jumps from the roof and stops in front of her. He asks whether she's OK. She asks for his help, like a little innocent girl would do. He webs up the goons and swings away with her to a nearby rooftop.

The police arrive at the scene. Spidey suggests she goes down there and tells them whatever they need to know. She declines. Spidey asks why. Black Widow then comes on to him, admiring his physique, thanking him for saving her. Sure, he says. What's with the outfit, he asks. Still trying to seduce him, she asks whether he knows what a Widow's kiss is. Then she pushes him in his neck and Spidey falls down, unconscious. She searches him, no wallet, no I.D. but she does find the webshooters. It looks like she takes them with her.

Helicopters arrive at the scene. A voice calls for Ms. Romanov, it's General Fury. He asks why she went into the embassy, finally being a free agent with all the money in the world. To prove herself to him, she says and she hands Fury the tape recorder. She then gets in the chopper. Spidey's still on the floor, unconscious. Nick walks over to him, and says to him "See you soon, kid.".

In General...

It's nice to see that the Latverian connection from issues 4-5 gets more depth. And on page 3 we get so see a picture of Victor von Doom holding a child on his arm. His holiness, as Golog mentions. I can't wait to see more of this. In issues 4 and 5, Golog looked a bit timid, but that was probably due to being compared to Tony Stark. Over here, he's a big bully, living in fear for his master. Great stuff, very subtle.

The origin of Black Widow is done by showing just a page from her file Golog has on her. In my opinion that's enough, we do not need hundreds of pages full of origin stuff. We need action, and this is it. And the action is very nicely balanced with the suspense. Great stuff, very subtle.

We have some nice unsolved items here. Did or didn't Black Widow take the webshooter from Spidey? It sure looks that way. And if so, why? It would be cool to see her return in a future issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, doing her seduction thing when MJ is around. The other mystery is whether Fury did unmask Spidey or not. With Spidey down for the count, he had all the opportunity in the world. Great stuff, very subtle.

Overall Rating...

Unlike many pervious issues of Ultimate Marvel Teamp-Up I really enjoyed this one. The art is crisp, the way I like it. The pacing of the story is excellent. It has humor, especially during the seduction act. Go out get the book and read it yourself. So, what else do I have to say to convince you all that I'm giving this one a full 5 webs? Like I said, great stuff, very subtle!