Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #61

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This story is part of an Arc: "Ultimate Carnage"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter Parker has renewed his acquaintance with Doctor Curt Connors, a professor at Empire State University, when he suffered an injury during a battle. Connors and Peter both know each others secret identities, as The Lizard and Spider-Man respectively.

Connors stitched up Peter's wounds, despite not being a medical doctor. At the end of his rope scientifically, Connors put some blood Peter left on a slide and was astonished by what he saw under the microscope.

In Detail...

Ultimate Spider-Man #61
Aug 2004 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Ultimate Carnage"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #11
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #6

Peter's not feeling too well. Aunt May ordered Peter to stay home and asked Gwen, the loveable live-in orphan girl, to collect Peter's schoolwork for him.

Back at ESU, Sam the security guard greets Doctor Connors's lab assistant, Ben Reilly. Sam reports that Connors never went home last night. Sure enough, Ben found Doc Conners asleep at his desk, but also found the slide in the microscope, which he found equally astonishing. Connors jerks awake from his nightmare. When Ben expresses interest in what the slide could mean for modern science, Connors swears Ben to secrecy.

Utterly disappointed in what television had to offer, a sick Peter gets a call at home from Doctor Conners, asking if they can meet. Sick as a dog, Peter drags himself to a coffee shop. Connors reveals that Peter's DNA is a modern scientific miracle that has myriad applications in fighting diseases like Cancer and Alzheimer's. Saying it's almost their responsibility to try, Connors manages to convince Peter to permit him to use his DNA for further testing (as scientific ethnics demand).

Two months later, Spider-Man breaks up an encounter between The Punisher (the vigilante who puts criminals down (permanently) and Boomerang (the lame Aussie villain that I put down mercilessly). Although he knows the story of how The Punisher lost his family to a bunch of crooked cops, Spider-Man still gives 'im the old "thwap and smack". Boomerang offers Spider-Man $10,000 to swing him to safety. Instead, Peter leaves Punisher and Boomerang webbed up for the cops.

Peter swings back to Connors' lab at ESU to get another wound treated. Connors notes that Peter's looking much healthier, and that they got the grant money because of the work with Peter's blood (which, to the public, is merely the side-effect of another experiment). Peter asks to see it, but Connors says he's running late to meet his kid. Peter swings off.

Connors goes into the next room and relieves Ben Reilly from work. Ben reccomnds they increase the temperature to 86 degrees before making a presentation. The two leave, but the issue ends with an ominous look at the sample, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a baby.

In General...

It's not every day you get to see a comic that examines the ethics of science. I like the fact that the Carnage arc really is a thematic sequel to the Venom storyline. It touches upon the legacy of Peter's father, Connors' continuing work (note: his previous lab assistant was Eddie Brock), and even fills the role of the questionable ethics of Ben Reilly. Already, he doesn't seem completely on the up-and-up. Speaking of whom, making him just some African-American guy unrelated to Peter was an interesting touch.

Not much May or Gwen, but the issue really revolves around Peter and Connors. Still, the Punisher and Boomerang cameos work some fun into the plot, even if they're just there to get Peter to see Connors again.

The art, as always, is strong. The emotions on the characters' faces come through loud and clear, courtesy of the terrific tandem of Bagley, Hanna, and Smith.

Overall Rating...

So much promise, so much potential. I can't wait to see how it all goes wrong.