Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #19

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

To recap. Doc Ock got hurt bad, and blames Justin Hammer. SHIELD is real interested. Justin Hammer opened a new nuclear power plant off the coast of Manhattan. Doc Ock trashed it. Spidey tried to help, and got blamed by just about everybody, including Hammer.

Oh, and Kraven the Fair Dinkum, True Blue, She'll Be Right Aussie Hunter is shooting some background shots at Peter's school, since that's where Spidey was first seen. And Aunt May just got home when Peter was sitting there in his Spidey-Shorts.

In Detail...

"Piece Of Work"
Ultimate Spider-Man #19
May 2002 : SM Title
Summary: Doctor Octopus, Kraven
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Art Thibert
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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Review
 Reprinted In: Komikai Ultimate Spider-Man (Promo Reprint) #19
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #3
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #2
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Tales Flip Magazine #10

Poor Petey ducks outside and heads back in the bathroom window, where he pretends to have a bit of an upset tummy... know what I mean. How embarassing, but problem solved!

Kraven turns up and shoots some background shots. He acts like a bit of a jerk. Gwen Stacy (hard chick) gives him a bit of attitude, with some great silent panels from Bagley and Thibert. Some lovely camera work in fact. Takes a few pages, but it's very slickly done.

MJ makes Peter a new Spidey costume... go Peter! Mary-Jane pops the big question... what does Peter think about Gwen? Peter crashes and burns. Ouch!

Spider-Man drops in to see Justin Hammer. Hammer freely admits that he blamed Spidey just to take the heat off about the Doc Ock screw-up. Hammer then offers Spidey $50k to take down The Octo-Doctor. Spidey points out that he would have done it for free, except Justin was a real asshole to him, so now he can just go get bent. Except that Bendis has a nicer way of putting all this, which is why he's writing the comic, and I'm reviewing it.

Ock calls Hammer and arranges a late-night meeting out at the plant. Spidey tags along. Kraven is snogging with Betty, but he's just fooling, he's really got the hots for his African Babe, Tabidi. Kraven hears that Spidey is heading out of town on the roof of Hammer's limo, and heads out that way himself.

When Hammer gets there, he discovers that Ock set him up - of course! Doctor Octopus has called a press conference, where Otto is the victim, and Hammer is the viscious criminal mastermind. Burned!

In General...

Bendis does these characters like he was born to it. Everything is like Spidey-Squared. It's Spider-Man to the next level. Ock is more menacing and cunning than ever before. The characterisations are all fresh, snappy, and convincing.

This is no half-assed re-hash like Chapter One. This is a genuine re-creation which breaks as much ground today as Stan and Steve did all those years ago.

I used to resent Ultimate Spidey for taking attention away to the mainstream titles... but resistance is futile. If you read this comic each month, eventually it sucks you in and you're a gonner.

Overall Rating...

The dialog is real, and when there's no words, it's even more real. The look is just stunning, issue after issue. The characters leap out of the page at you, and the plot snaps back and forth with unalloyed mastery.

Just imagine... ten years ago, Spider-Fans were offered a mindless procession of Venom limited series... each with yet another five different symbiote variations. We truly have come a long way!