Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #12

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Last issue Spider-Man started using his head as well as his amazing spider-like abilities! Framed for a murder he didn't commit, Spidey had to go back into the Kingpin's Tower and retrieve a security camera recording that proves his innocence. On his way back out, he was confronted by The Enforcers and Electro!

In Detail...

"Battle Royal"
Ultimate Spider-Man #12
Oct 2001 : SM Title
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Art Thibert
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Komikai Ultimate Spider-Man (Promo Reprint) #12
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #2
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #1
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Tales Flip Magazine #7

We join Spider-Man as he struggles to escape from The Enforcers and Electro! Leaping and twirling, Spidey manages to stay ahead of Electro's lightning bolts, Montana's bullwhip, Fancy Dan's bullets and Ox's huge fists - for a while. Ox finally manages to latch onto Spidey's ankle, whereupon he proceeds to use Spidey like a baseball bat as he takes out various parts of the room!

Spidey's out for the count, and the baddies stand around deciding what to do with him. Electro wants to fry him, but the others aren't so sure. Suddenly, Spidey flicks his legs up, executing a pair of perfect kicks to the jaws of Electro and Montana. He confides that he'd been playing possum, and now the tables are turned! Spidey sits on Ox's shoulders, drawing fire from Electro which hits Ox square in the chest. Ox is down!

Spidey grabs hold of Montana's whip and drags him into another spider-strength kick - Montana's down! Fancy Dan's pistols have been webbed up by Spidey, but he tries to fire anyway. The gun backfires, exploding in his hand! Fancy Dan is down! It's just Spidey and Electro now, and Spidey moves in for the finish, grabbing Electro's wrists to prevent him discharging any more bolts of pure electricity in Spidey's direction.

Spidey asks how Electro got his powers, and if he's a mutant. Electro denies it, and tells Spidey that after he wins, they're going to hunt down and kill Spidey's family! Spidey calmly bursts a water main, dousing the highly charged Electro with a torrent of water, shorting him out in a massive explosion! Spidey hangs from the roof, surveying the room full of unconscious bad guys. He whipped them!

As Spidey heads for the exit, he is stopped by the Kingpin, asking who Spidey is working for. Cool as a cucumber, Spider-Man pulls out some sheets with a speech prepared for this very occasion. He has Kingpin's attention now! Spidey begins to recite his notes, they are all "fat" jokes! He is standing there, dissing the Kingpin in the best Spidey way possible!

Not able to believe this is happening, the Kingpin charges for Spidey, totally out of control in a mindless rage. Spidey's way ahead of him though, and easily webs both of Fisk's fists to a brick wall. It doesn't take long for Fisk to smash the wall down, freeing himself, but Spidey is long gone. He did it! Spidey beat the Kingpin!

Back at home in his room, Peter is going through the DVDs on his computer. He locates and destroys the disc with his own unmasked face recorded, and then keeps looking through for the one that shows the Kingping killing the Big Man. Bingo!

Over at the Daily Bugle, Ben Urich has found the box of DVDs on his desk. Peter managed to drop them there without anyone noticing. Great work Pete! Peter calls Mary Jane and organises to meet with her after school the next day. He's got an important secret to tell her!

Cut to a huge pair of hands clutching a paper bearing the headline "American Kingpin of Crime caught red-hande on tape. Whereabouts unknown". The Kingpin and his lawyer are hiding out in some tropical looking country. The lawyer says he's going to need time to make this go away. This is a major setback to the self-styled Kingpin of Crime!

In General...

Well, this comic certainly lived up to it's title, "Battle Royal"! In total, over 13 pages dedicated purely to slugfest! Spider-Man has learned that even though he has an impressive array of powers, his biggest asset by far is his keen mind! It took all his power and a lot of planning to achieve what Spidey set out to do, which was take down the Kingpin! Spidey even cleared his own name in the process, always a handy bonus!

There were several laugh-out-loud scenes in this too. When Spidey suckers the Enforcers and Electro into thinking he was unconscious was great! And then, when he goes into his stand-up act in the face of a murderous Kingpin, how sweet it is! Some of the one liners in his routine were in themselves pretty funny too, but the whole scene certainly cracked me up! Way to go Bendis, this is the Spider-Man we all want to see!

And, on the sub-story front, it looks like Peter is going to spill the beans to MJ about being Spidey! Whoa! But, does she already know? We'll have to wait until next month I guess. A really strong finish to a good story arc, with well thought out updates to classic Spidey villains. That Kingpin will really be harbouring a grudge next time they meet!

Overall Rating...

Four and a half webs. Right back up there again, as far as I'm concerned. The last couple of issues, while interesting, have really been building to the big conclusion in this issue. This comic contained awesome action, side-splitting comic scenes, and all round perfect characterisation of Peter Parker. How could I give it anything less?