Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #69

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter Parker is still reeling from the violent death of his friend Gwen Stacy at the hands of Carnage, a genetic monstrosity half cloned from Peter's DNA. The other three members of the Fantastic Four convince Johnny Storm to go back to high school and get his diploma while keeping his flame power a secret. He enrolls at Peter Parker's school, Midtown High. While at a beach party at Coney Island, Johnny inadvertently flames on.

In Detail...

"Meet me"
Ultimate Spider-Man #69
Jan 2005 : SM Title
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) #12
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #6

The beach party, Liz is having a cow for Johnny just got fire and is now in full flame on mode hovering above the beach. Johnny is confused, he didn't mean to freak her out. He asks Peter and MJ to tell her that. Later, at the Baxter Building. Johnny is sad, and wants to be left alone. His sister Sue asks what happened.

The next Monday, at school. MJ is walking with Liz down the hallway. Flash yells " I heard your boyfriend is hot." and all the kids laugh. Later, at the parking lot, Peter and MJ see Johnny. He asks about Liz, but she left at lunch for the kids were razzing her. Johnny feels bad about it. Then MJ starts asking about his powers. But Johnny wants to know whether Liz will ever talk to him. He asks them to tell Liz to meet him at the park at five o'clock.

At 5:17, Liz is a no show. But Spider-Man is there. He starts a conversation with Johnny. Turns out Johnny is a great fan. Spidey asks him about his code name, which isn't Fire Boy but Human Torch. And Johnny isn't actually allowed to talk about his powers and stuff like that. Then they hear a loud bang. Nearby, a building has caught fire. They rush over.

Spidey gets there first and rescues a woman from the burning building. Her kid's still inside. There's so much fire, it's too dangerous to enter the building. Johnny then tries a new trick and sucks the fire into his body. Thus creating enough room for Spidey to enter the building once more and get the kid out. Johnny then releases the [power of the] fire in to the sky.

A little while later, they meet up at the park. Johnny feels really good about himself, he saved people! The police arrive and they have to flee. Johnny is kinda confused, they're heroes, right? Spidey tells him that wearing costumes and doing the things they do, well, it scares other people. It comes with the trade. But in the end it's worth it.

In General...

Well, one thing kinda puzzled me. Peter stopped being Spidey a few issues ago in #64. I don't recall him going back to actually being Spider-Man and yet, here he is. Did I miss something? Sure, he was in costume during the Wolverine team-up, but that wasn't his choice. Back in the old days (yeah, yeah, give it a rest) there used to be a big dramatic thing that would make Peter go back to being Spider-Man. The purpose of that being of course was to remind the readers why he's Spider-Man in the first place. Not here, he just puts on the costume and he's back to being Spidey. Why? Perhaps that little speech about " it comes with the trade" was meant for me, the reader, to convince me that Peter is back to being Spidey. Nah, I don't buy that.

Since I read Ultimate Fantastic Four too, it's kinda fun seeing just Johnny. Over in the UFF series, he doesn't get much room to expose himself, being part of a team. He's just a kid, and he has these amazing abilities and can't tell the world. He would like to show off, but isn't allowed to. This time, he gets to help Spidey with rescuing those people from that burning building. It's a great scene and he can try something new, sucking away the fire and diverting it into the sky.

Overall Rating...

I liked this story, Spidey's back, don't know why, but in the end, it really doesn't matter. 'Coz we wouldn't want this series to chance it's title to Ultimate Peter Parker, now would we?