Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #13

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Last issue Spider-Man won his first super hero victory, against the Kingpin of Crime! With that crazy caper behind him, and the Kingpin laying low for now, it's time for Peter Parker to take a well deserved break!

In Detail...

"Confessions"
Ultimate Spider-Man #13
Nov 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) #13
 Reprinted In: Marvel 70th Anniversary Collection
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #2
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #1
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Tales Flip Magazine #7

Peter and Mary Jane are sitting in Peter's room, studying. Peter's not concentrating on the books though, he's prepared for a deep and meaningful. There's a lot of soul-searching and assurances going on, before finally Peter spills the beans: He's Spider-Man!

Of course, MJ simply doesn't believe him, cracking up into hysterical laughter and falling off the bed. Peter implores her to keep the noise down. To convince her, Peter leaps onto the wall, sticking with his fingers and stockinged feet. He flips up onto the ceiling in a trademark Spidey pose, gazing wistfully at MJ upside-down. She's flabbergasted! MJ takes another fall off the bed, whumping noisily onto the floor.

Peter again cautions her to keep the noise down, since Aunt May is downstairs. Suddenly Aunt May's voice calls up, explaining that there had better not be any hanky-panky going on. Peter and MJ have a big discussion about how he got the powers. MJ is starting to come to grips with it all, and she begs Peter to take her for a thrill ride swinging around town. She gets very excited and starts bouncing up and down on Peter's bed, making the springs squeak.

Peter explains why she must keep his secret, how it wouldn't be safe if anyone found out he was Spider-Man, and she asks him why he told her. Peter explains that she's his best friend. They have a "moment" where they begin to acknowledge their feelings for each other, and just as they're about to kiss, MJ murmurs: "Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot..." ,which is of course the famous line MJ utters when she and Peter finally meet face to face way back in Amazing Spider-Man #42 (volume 1). Great touch!

As I was saying, Peter and MJ are just about to experience their first kiss, when Aunt May bangs on the bedroom door! She heard the squeaking bedsprings and decided to call MJ's mom! She's told Mrs Watson that Peter and MJ were making out in the bedroom! As MJ heads home, Aunt May brings up contraception, and Peter is mortified! But, she doesn't stop there, wanting to know if Peter is clued in on the "facts of life". Make it stop, cries a distraught Peter Parker!

The story ends with Peter collapsed on his bed, grinning like a fool as he thinks about everything that's just happened! His favourite girl knows he is Spidey, and she still wants to be around him! For a Parker, life just doesn't get any better than this!

In General...

Okay, this issue was essentially one scene. It only took me something like 3 minutes to read it cover to cover, and I felt as excited as if it were me telling my big secret to my favourite girl! I mean, we all expected Peter to tell all to Mary-Jane at some point, but Bendis managed to cover it beautifully. I think it was a great idea to devote the entire issue to this momentous occasion.

The humour of being unfairly "caught out" by Aunt May only added to my enjoyment, and kind of made it seem like she'd been included in the secret too. I'm curious to know if Peter will decide to bring May into the trusted circle at some stage.

I'm really loving this series at the moment. Bendis and Bagley are perfectly re-capturing everything I loved about Spider-Man going through my teenage years. And I find I still love it! Marvel are to be congratulated for the way they've handled Spidey in the last year or so. They've wanted to return Peter Parker to his roots over in the mainstream Spidey titles, and that has met with failure. So now they've created this series where we can get all the young, single Spidey we can shake a stick at, and still head across to Amazing and Peter Parker for the result of years of character development.

Overall Rating...

I just did it. I handed out the perfect score for a comic book; the first time I've ever felt a book deserved it. This book epitomizes all that is cool about having a secret identity, all that we Spidey fans dream of being able to do ourselves. When Peter tells all to Mary Jane and she still accepts him and begins to show her love for him, it's a victory for smart, nerdy guys everywhere!

No action (unless you ask Aunt May) and one straight Kubrickian scene that lingered forever. There has never been a better story centred on revealing a secret identity. Perfection.

Footnote...

OK, life is great for Peter Parker. But, Doctor Octopus is coming next month, so it's not gonna last long!