Comics : Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #15

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Ultimate Spider-Man meets Ultimate Shang-Chi. Changes are we get yet another origin to a new member of the Marvel Ultimate family.

In Detail...

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #15
Jun 2002 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Shang-Chi
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Rick Mays
Inker:  Jason Martin
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate MTU) #3

The story opens with some lines translated from a Chinese fiary tale. It's about a prince and a spider. The prince wants to escape from his father the king for he is a mean man. In order to do so, he just starts walking.

Cut to the present day. A girl gets out of a taxi, she's in Chinatown. As she's looking around, some kids try to steel her bags. A guy working at a fishshop stops them. Using some cool looking martial arts stuff he floors the kids in seconds. The girl, named Lieko wants to say thanks but her aunt Li stops her. The boy's trouble.

The fairy tale continues. The prince has found a new land...

Cut to Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. They're discussing homework. It seems that Peter really likes Sharespeare and that MJ doesn't. It annoys her that Peter knows so much and wonders whether he got smarter when he got bit by the spider. Then they find themselves in Chinatown.

The kids from before went for their pals and now a whole gang is walking up to the boy that helped Lieko. They take him to a nearby alley and start to beat him up. Peter rushes away, to change into his Spider-Man costume. While he is doing so, the boy is beating up the whole gang! As Spider-Man finally arrives, there's nothing left to do by leave again. It's very embarrasing.

Leiko has been watching the fight from her aunts house. She's impressed and asks her aunt for the name of the boy. Her aunt says she's been told his name but doesn't remember. Leiko answers, it's Shang-Chi and she's found him.

The story ends with another part of the fairy tale. The king wants his son to return home and instructs a soldier to do what is necessary.

In General...

The fairy tale part is a nice touch since it sets the mood for the story. In a way, the fairy tale tells the origin of Shang-Chi but when we've read part 2 of this two-parter we'll know for sure. So, a bit of the origin is revealed but it keeps us guessing. Which is good, for now I'll be looking forward to the conclusion of this story.

The art for the fairy tale is done with a large brush which captures the mood really well. For the real live scenes, much crisper art is used. Since it's a martial arts kinda story, you'll not be surprised the art has manga influences. And I think it's all done very well, it's like watching a movie.

As you can see by the summary, there's not very much going on. We have a partial fairy tale, a short fight, a Shakespeare discussion, another short fight and a final chat. It may sound like much, but it's not. Just pick the book up and read it yourself.

Overall Rating...

The verdict, well, 3.5 webs this time. It's a good story, but not finished yet. I'd like to give it 4 but I'm deducting a bit because I think we could have seen just a little bit more. Because of the manga style, we get lots of pictures and very few words (on several pages). True, it fits the story well, but I finished this book way to fast. Perhaps adding a few pages would have been better.