Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #150

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This review was first published on: May 2011.

Background...

The Chameleon took over Peter Parker’s identity and learned that he was Spider-Man. Using this newfound information he went around ruining not only Spider-Man’s reputation but also that of Peter Parker’s. The Chameleon was eventually dealt with and the people in Peter’s personal life easily forgave him once they learned that it wasn’t actually Peter being a jerk. The public at large isn’t as easy to forgive Spider-Man. Also, Ice Man and the Human Torch are both staying at Peter’s house with his Aunt and Gwen. It has literally become a teenage/superhero clubhouse.

In Detail...

Ultimate Spider-Man #150 (Story 1)
Jan 2011 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Panicca
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  David Lafuente (Spidey & The Ringer), Jamie McKelvie (Spidey & Captain America), Joelle Jones (Spidey & Iron Man), Sara Pichelli (Carol Danvers & The Ultimates), Skottie Young (Spidey & Thor)
Inker:  Brett Matthews (Spidey & Captain America), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Spidey & Thor), Justin Ponsor (Spidey & The Ringer, Carol Danvers & The Ultimates), Sakti Yuwono (Spidey & Iron Man), Sunny Gho (Spidey & Iron Man)
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The Ringer, a guy who shoots gold rings (aka hula hops) is robbing the Diamond Exchange but thankfully Spider-Man just so happens to be passing by. While he deals with the Ringer, the people of New York shout derogatory things at Spider-Man thinking the two of them are actually working together. Even though he took care of the Ringer and stopped the robbery, the street is completely trashed.

Meanwhile… Carol Danvers, the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. has brought together Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, the Ultimates, to figure out what to do about Spider-Man. She realizes that he’s a good kid just trying to help out but she also thinks that most of the time he causes more problems than he solves. Iron Man then tells everyone about a run-in he had with Spider-Man.

At the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY, Stark is donating five of his classic armor suits completely stripped of anything valuable or dangerous to inspire future generations. It wouldn’t be any kind of public event without some super villain showing up and, lo and behold, we get Whiplash. Stark is without his armor and his bodyguards are doing a fine job getting in his way, but Spider-Man shows up and, using his super smarts, puts the chest piece of one of the suits of armor on so that when Whiplash strikes it, it causes some kind of electrical feedback, knocking Whiplash out in the process. Stark is more than impressed with Spider-Man’s intelligence and bravery in the situation. With Iron Man’s story now finished, it’s now Captain America’s turn and he doesn’t see Spider-Man in the same light.

Captain America, while heroically hanging out of a helicopter like an 80’s action movie star, is chasing a bunch of uniform wearing guys riding jet bikes. One of them shoots the helicopter and short-circuits it. Cap grabs the two guys next to him in the back and using his jet pack, flies out of the falling helicopter saving them, but then floats there watching as it, still with the two pilots inside, plummets to the busy New York street below.

Thankfully Spider-Man is there and catches the helicopter in a web, which Cap then uses to drop off the two guys he just saved. Cap continues the chase only to find that Spider-Man already caught all three jet-bike flying guys and their bikes in another web. One guy uses his electro-gun thing and destroys the web sending them all to the street below. During the fight Spider-Man manages to accidentally shoot webbing into Cap’s face and then kick a guy, while he was shooting, causing a car to blow up which then knocks Cap into Spidey, who then both land in Spider-Man’s web together. Landing face-to-face, Spider-Man tells Captain America that he’s a big fan and Cap then calls him an idiot.

Back at the Ultimates meeting, Iron Man calls Captain America out, saying that it sounded more like most of the things that went wrong were Cap’s fault and if Spider-Man wasn’t there a lot of people could have been hurt. Cap then mentions how much damage was caused but he only comes off as being pretty petty. Now it’s Thor turn.

At a New York museum an exhibit of items from Asgard lore is on display and, of course, a sorcerer names Xandu comes for the lost eye of Avalon. Holding it in his hand, he turns into the Mangog (you would think that one of the museum curators at some point probably held it too while putting it on display, but lets not mention that). Peter happens to be there with Gwen so, ducking off into a supply closet or something, he quickly changes into Spider-Man. He then jumps into battle but doesn’t really do much against the Mangog but that’s ok because Thor shows up and lays the smack down on Xandu, reclaiming the lost eye.

With Thor’s approval of Spider-Man, Carol Danvers has a vote of two against one that Spider-Man should be allowed to continue being Spider-Man but he should probably get a little guidance. Captain America is still not 100% onboard the Spider-Man fan club, saying that he’s too young, but with Thor and Iron Man vouching for him, Cap is outnumbered.

Back in Queens, Peter, Bobby Drake (Ice Man) and Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) are returning to Peter’s house after school when they all notice a number of S.H.E.I.L.D. vehicles parked outside. Bobby and Johnny freak out and want to take off, but since it’s Peter’s house, he can’t go anywhere leaving his aunt alone. He tells them he’ll call them later once he figures out what’s going on inside.

He finds a large number of S.H.E.I.L.D. agents along with Carol Danvers and his Aunt May sitting together talking peacefully. Carol tells Peter that because of his poor Spider-Man performances as of late, she has to step in and do something. And with his Aunt May’s agreement Carol informs Peter that from here on out, he’ll be instructed by other superheroes in how to be better at being Spider-Man. Peter is understandably shocked.

In General...

Carol Danvers, the new Nick Fury, believes that Spider-Man stinks at being a superhero. His latest heroic act, to save $11,000 in stolen diamonds, cost the city $2.7 million in property damage. To her this isn’t going to fly, so she assembles Iron Man, Captain America and Thor together to discuss and come up with a plan on what to do.

Iron Man and Thor both see Spider-Man as a brave and intelligent kid who is trying to do the right thing with his powers. Captain America doesn’t agree. Cap’s military background is showing here when he says that Spider-Man is too young and untrained to be allowed to continue. This is pretty much a joke seeing as how it was Spider-Man who saved the lived of countless people during Captain America’s own story.

With a vote of two to one, Danvers decides that the best course of action for Spider-Man is to train with some already established superheroes. After discussing it with his Aunt May, who completely agrees, Danvers tells Peter that until she says otherwise, Peter is training after school with a bunch of superhero volunteers. This is also mandatory.

Overall Rating...

This was a pretty good story that has now opened the door for loads of interesting team-up/training stories to follow. But a problem I had was that no one besides Iron Man could see that Spider-Man saves countless lives. Thor did say that Spider-Man is definitely brave, but Carol Danvers and Captain America just see the bottom-line, dollar amount of money in damages that happen because of Spider-Man’s involvement. If it wasn’t for Spider-Man a lot of people’s deaths would be on Captain America’s hands, and there’s no telling how many people Spider-Man saved during the Ringer diamond robbery. There was a whole lot of property damage caused by Spider-Man and the Ringer fighting but no one was injured.

That being said, just because there was an element in the story that I didn’t like didn’t cause any reduction in rating. I did really like the story. What I didn’t like were the multiple artists working on this story. The story itself works well for multiple artists because it is so segmented. But really, why can’t there be more planning for these larger, anniversary issues?

They know a big issue is coming up, why not try and make the normal artist or even a single guest artist get everything done with a little foresight and planning beforehand? Also the artist who drew the Iron Man story drew everyone with huge heads compared to their bodies. The proportion was really all over the place. You have some really great artists in here but you are completely taken out of the story when it switches to an artist with a drastically different art style.

One more thing. Why, if Captain America is wearing a jet pack, is he chasing a group of flying bad guys in a helicopter. They damage said helicopter and Cap merely jumps out and, after saving a few of his fellow passengers, continues the chase without any problem. If he can fly on his own, why would he bother with a flying vehicle that isn’t very fast, and just seems to be there to offer a story element?