Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #152

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This review was first published on: Jun 2011.

Background...

While staking out Wilson Fisk's office the Black Cat witness Mysterio kill the Kingpin. She returns later to steal something only to be confronted by Mysterio who stops her but doesn't manage to keep her from escaping.

Carol Danvers, the director of S.H.E.I.L.D., has appointed Iron Man as Spider-Man’s first superhero tutor and he shows up in broad daylight to Peter's house in Queens. This intrusion completely disturbs Aunt May for obvious reasons.

In Detail...

Ultimate Spider-Man #152
Mar 2011 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Stuart Immonen
Inker:  Wade von Grawbadger
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Review

Two weeks ago... The Black Cat is spying on Mysterio giving a speech to a couple of computer monitors and some cameras saying that he want to take everything over. Before she can do anything Spider-Man shows up and the Black Cat sits back and watches the ensuing fisticuffs. With a couple of squad cars outside, suddenly the room they are in blows up and Spider-Man is helped out of the building by a police officer.

Back to the present Iron Man is hovering outside May Parker's house in the middle of the day asking May and Gwen where is Peter Parker. May, reasonably, starts to freak out telling him that he has to go - that he is causing a scene and that he is blowing Peter's secret identity as Spider-Man. Iron Man, realizing what an idiot he is, thanks her for the directions loud enough for everyone in the neighborhood to hear and flies off.

One week ago the Black Cat is sorting through the rubble that used to be Mysterio's hangout when she spots a crate of some kind buried beneath the floor. After digging it up she finds a bunch of cash and a large ankh. Mysterio shows up and tells her that is called the Zodiac Key and it was how the Kingpin stayed in power for as long as he did. Admitting that he doesn't know how to use it, the Black Cat tells him that she does and engulfs the inside of the dilapidated building in blinding, white light. The police, who are outside, rush in but find no one. Back outside a group of reporters are asking the police what's going on but the police are not talking. One of the reporters happens to look up and she sees a silhouette with a tail running along the rooftops. The reporter tries to get a picture but she isn't fast enough.

On their way home from school Peter, Johnny and Bobby are doing what normal teenage boys do - talk about girls and rip on each other. As they get closer to Peter's house they witness a domestic dispute centered on a woman leaving her house and her husband because she is sick to death of all the super heroes in the city. They hear her mention that Iron Man was around today as they rush inside and find Gwen.

Johnny makes a fool out of himself (to everyone but himself) in front of Gwen by showing how much of an egomaniac he is while Aunt May is freaking out on the phone trying to get in touch with Carol Danvers. Bobby is pretty impressed that Peter's is going to be taking super hero lessons from Iron Man but Peter is more interested in talking to Gwen who has just come back from running away from them. She leads Peter away from the others and they go upstairs.

Away from everyone the two teens have a heart to heart where Peter starts spilling his gut out only to have Gwen stop him. She tells him that she loves him sincerely but that they can no longer be in a romantic relationship with each other. With them living together and everything she wants to be just friends.

Gwen also asks that Peter hold off on dating Mary Jane right away at least until Gwen, herself, is ready to start seeing other people. Peter doesn't respond to this at all. But he doesn't really get the chance. His phone rings and its Iron man telling Peter to meet him at Stark International Headquarters for his first lesson.

In General...

We have a few more flashback / previous scenes in this comic involving the Black Cat and Mysterio. At one point we see her watching Spider-Man and Mysterio fight only to have Mysterio's hideout blow up with what appears to be only Spider-Man getting out. Later she returns to reclaim what she was trying to steal from the Kingpin and this time she does manage to get it - the Zodiac Key. Mysterio, who obviously survived the previous explosion, explains that this is what the Kingpin used to become the head crime boss in the city but that Mysterio doesn't know how to use it Black Cat on the other hand does and she engulfs the hideout in light and makes her getaway.

In the present day we have Aunt May screaming at Iron Man, who has shown up in full armor in the middle of the day to start Peter's superhero lessons. This is obviously a bad idea seeing as he is completely blowing Peter's secret identity. Realizing this after getting an earful from May, he makes an excuse that he's looking for directions, loud enough for the rubber necking neighbors to hear, and flies off.

Peter, Bobby and Johnny arrive home to see Aunt May on the telephone trying to connect to Carol Danvers to give her a piece of her mind and they see that Gwen is finally back. She takes Peter upstairs and tells him that she loves him but that they must be only friends from here on out and that she doesn't want Peter to immediately start dating Mary Jane right in front of her.

Just then Iron Man calls up Peter on his cell phone and tells him to meet him at Stark International Headquarters for their first lesson. Peter, so far, is less than impressed with Iron Man.

Overall Rating...

A decent issue but just like the previous couple of books the storyline is constantly jumping backwards in time to show this Black Cat / Mysterio scenario. I can see why Bendis broke this part up but at the same time I want him to finish telling it and to move on. First the Black Cat goes and sees Mysterio kill the Kingpin, then she heads back to steal something only to have Mysterio stop her, then she witnesses a fight between Spider-Man and Mysterio and what appears to be Mysterio not making it out of an explosion, and then she goes back again, steals what she was initially after, the Zodiac Key, and deals with Mysterio. All of that just to get this Zodiac Key into the Black Cat's hands.

On top of that we have Carol Danvers deciding that Spider-Man should be tutored by superheroes back in issue 150 and now, two issues later, Spider-Man has yet to start his after school training. I love Bendis' story ideas and his dialogue with any character is probably the best that I've ever read, but he takes way too long to tell any kind of story. I'm just ready to move on already. This issue and the previous one should have really been condensed into a single book for the amount of story that was covered between the two.

Bendis' writing style and flow most definitely work better in trade paperbacks where you can get an entire story together in one place as opposed to here where you get a little bit of story and then have to wait another month for just a little bit more.

That all being said it still is a really solid comic book with good writing and good artwork. I just really want the storyline to move a little bit quicker.