Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #151

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This review was first published on: May 2011.


After a meeting with Ultimates, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, Carol Danvers, the new director of S.H.E.I.L.D., has decided that the best thing she can do with the whole Spider-Man situation is to train him with various members of the superhero community. His Aunt May agrees and Peter is put into mandatory after school training.

In Detail...

Ultimate Spider-Man #151
Feb 2011 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Stuart Immonen
Inker:  Wade von Grawbadger
Staff Only

One month ago on a roof overlooking Fisk Towers, the Black Cat has got Wilson Fisk in the scope of her sniper rifle. Just as she is about to fire someone in the same room as Fisk beats her to it, shooting him with some kind of blue electric bolt. He crashes back into the glass, shattering it and falls to the street, many floors below. Just before leaving she spots Mysterio looking down out of the window.

Now at Midtown High’s lunch period, Peter, Bobby and Johnny are eating lunch together and Peter is worrying about Gwen – wondering where she ran off. Johnny really shows us here just how egomaniacal he is when he informs them that part of the reason she left was probably because being around him, a big and famous superhero, is tough on her, just being a girl and all. Before he can make a bigger jerk out of himself, Lana, a former criminal, asks is she can sit down with them. Bobby and Johnny stare at her with their mouths agape and she quickly realizes that Peter told them who she really was which totally pissed her off. As she tells Peter, using as many swear words that she could possibly use, to not tell anyone else about her, Bobby, in the midst of all this manages to ask her out. Everyone including Lana thinks that this was really lame.

Two weeks ago, Black Cat is back at Fisk’s building only this time she’s breaking in. Using some high-tech gadgets that Batman himself would be proud of, she finds and breaks into a safe hidden behind a large painting hanging on the wall. Before she can get anything out, a voice behind her asks her what she’s doing.

Mysterio is there with a gun pointed at her but instead of killing her he offers her a job. With Fisk out of the way, Mysterio now wants to be in charge. The Black Cat says she’ll think about it if he allows her to take what Fisk had kept in that safe. Mysterio does not accept her terms and raises his gun to fire.

Using her bad luck powers, she touches his gun before he can shoot which causes it to no longer work. A fight now naturally ensues and they both get in some good hits but eventually the Black Cat escapes out of the hole in the window that Fisk’s body made when he fell out two weeks prior. She gets away with her life but not with whatever was in the safe. Mysterio walks back into the room to find whatever it is.

Back in sunny Queens in the present day, Aunt May is sitting outside in her car leaving a voice mail for Gwen begging her to please come home. It’s a touching moment seeing May feel so passionately for this girl, who isn’t really any relation to her, but who has become one over time. We also see that maybe having Gwen in the house with her sort of gave May someone, who happens to be a normal person, for her to be close with. Everyone else in the house has some kind of super power except for May and Gwen, and May needs to have Gwen there with her while the three boys are off risking their lives. It also doesn’t hurt that May is the only woman in a house now filled with boys.

Before she can finish her message there is a tapping on her door, which completely startles her. Outside is Gwen and she tells May that she ran away to go find her mother but that that didn’t work out at all. Her mother, who with good reason Aunt May calls a bitch, has started a new family and told Gwen that Gwen doesn’t really belong there with her and that she should probably just leave. Aunt May comforts her telling her she has a home here with her and that she’ll do everything in her power to keep the craziness to a minimum.

Too bad that at that exact moment Iron Man hovers over them telling them, in broad daylight mind you, that he is here for Peter Parker’s after school training. So much for mitigating the crazy events at the house.

In General...

While what appears to be the Black Cat trying to assassinate the Kingpin, we see that she’s just a little late. Mysterio beats her to it by shooting the fat man and making him fall out of his own skyscraper. Mysterio is the master of illusion so we’ll see if this actually happened or it its one of his tricks.

Later the Black Cat breaks into Fisk’s office to try and steal something out of his safe but Mysterio, who offers her a job, meets her. He doesn’t believe her when she says she’ll think about it and tries to kill her. She escapes but without whatever was in that safe, leaving it for Mysterio.

In the less action packed parts of the story Bobby, Johnny and Peter run into the foul-mouthed Lana, a fellow costumed criminal, in the lunchroom at their high school. Peter is still really worried about Gwen running away and all Bobby does is to embarrass himself in front of the new girl.

Peter’s worries can be put to rest because Gwen returns to his home and into the open arms of Aunt May, who missed her so much. Iron Man showing up at their home ready to start Spider-Man’s first superhero lesson cuts their reunion short.

Overall Rating...

This really felt like an issue of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Peter Parker only appeared in this issue briefly and he was surrounded by the alter egos of Ice Man and the Human Torch. Spider-Man doesn’t appear at all. The main focus is on the interaction between the Black Cat and Mysterio.

Gwen returns in this issue and we see Mysterio kill the Kingpin but besides those two plot points this feels more like a filler issue in that it is laying the ground work down for a storyline that is on the horizon.

In the brief Peter Parker scene I love how Bendis writes teenagers talking with one another and how quickly they can say or do the absolutely wrong thing. Peter doesn’t usually act like your typical teenager but we have Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake for that.

I had an issue with the layout of the book. It started with a scene that took place a month ago, then it jumped to the present day. Next we’re back in time 2 weeks only to jump back into the present day once again. Both of the scenes that take place in the past revolve around the same characters at the same location. It would have made more sense to tell those scenes back to back without the pause to return to the present time in the middle.