Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #9

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter's had enough of bumbling around without a plan, so now he reckon he has one. He's gonna take on the "Untouchable" Wilson Fisk - the Kingpin of Crime.

Of course, Bendis doesn't have to create his own villains, so let's hope he's putting his energy into giving the old routines a new twist.

In Detail...

"Meet The Enforcers"
Ultimate Spider-Man #9
Jul 2001 : SM Title
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Art Thibert
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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 Reprinted In: Komikai Ultimate Spider-Man (Promo Reprint) #9
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #2
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #1
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Tales Flip Magazine #5

The scene opens with a misfit trio nattering about knocking over the local McDonalds while they wait to enter a Warehouse. They figure that since this is Kingpin territory, they'd better leave the local joints alone. Further analysis shows that we're observing Montana, Fancy Dan, and a new look Ox - more commonly known as "The Enforcers". Ox is black, but the his colour was never his major attribute. If anything, he's bigger than he ever was.

They talk about "Mr Big", and about the Kingpin. Ox reckons he could take KP. The rest know better. Of course, they don't spot Spidey, hanging two stories up.

Spidey enters the warehouse behind them, and introduces himself. Battle ensues, out of which the Webbed one finally shows victorious. When Pete has their attention, he makes his goal clear... a path to The Kingpin. A man steps from the shadows, saying "Why didn't you say so..." He advises Spidey to find something Wilson loves, and try to keep it from him.

A couple of FBI agents crash in, saying their cover is blown, and ordering the usual hands in the air stuff. Spidey feels bad for wrecking the mission, although as far as I could see, they toasted their own mission when they burst the door open wearing FBI badges. They can hardly blame Spidey for that one!

Back at Midtown, Liz Allen has had enough of hearing about Spidey, Flash kind of agrees, but Kong has become Spidey's #1 Fan. MJ asks Petey on a date for Friday. Peter (for once... sheesh, how long did it take him to learn to plan a little) remembers he's planning to crash a Kingpin party, and bumps to Saturday. Romantic interlude over.

Follow some character building interaction between Peter and JJJ at the Bugle, and then cut to the Kingpin's charity bash. Spidey is sneaking in through the window, and breaking into Mr. Fisk's personal office. It's kind of dark, and maybe he should turn around and notice the huge pair of Kingpin-sized hands reaching for his throat...?

In General...

Not bad, I guess. Plenty of recycling, and steady development. The Peter/MJ thing just doesn't work for me. I guess it's hard to get excited about a young couple when you read about their separation two months back in Amazing Spider-Man.

Also, the Liz/Flash/Kong stuff just doesn't seem to work. There's not a lot of dialog dedicated to the character sub-plots, and Bendis is struggling to recover the ground that took years to generate the first time around.

The fight scenes are alright, and everything is very pretty, full credit to Bagley and Thibert - but the novelty is starting to wear off for me. Bendis is capable of some gut-wrenching stuff when he is given some space to move, but more and more the Ultimate idea just seems so constraining. At least with Untold Tales, the team moved between the gaps, but the concept of retelling these tales is starting to seem less and less like a plan with long term potential.

I mean, what's going to be happening in Ultimate Spider-Man #149, are we going to re-tell the clone story? Will we split, and have two, three, four Ultimate titles? Now, it's been a great idea, but I don't think it can last forever, unless it finds a way to step out from under Stan's tall shadow and find a way to stand on its own two feet.

Overall Rating...

All good stuff, but the novelty is starting to wear off a little. C'mon Bendis, give me something I haven't already read.