Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #156

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This review was first published on: Jul 2011.

Background...

So far, after Carol Danvers and the Ultimates have decided that Spider-Man needs to be trained before someone gets hurt, Spider-Man has had one superhero lesson with Iron Man. Also Peter and Mary Jane are now back together again after Peter told her that he loved her during his surprise 16th birthday party.

In Detail...

Ultimate Spider-Man #156
Jul 2011 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Andy Lanning
Cover Art:  Justin Ponsor, Mark Bagley
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
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Review

In a S.H.I.E.L.D. Containment Facility a very naked Norman Osborn is suspended in mid air by a large beam of light while a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives have their guns aimed squarely at him, and Carol Danvers, the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. informs Osborn that he is under arrest for the remainder of his life. He appears to about to lash out but then thinks better of it.

Mary Jane and Peter are having some food and conversation together in a little diner. They are talking about J. Jonah Jameson now knowing Spider-Man’s secret identity and how crazy that is and how there really isn’t anything Peter can do about it except to trust that Jameson will do the right thing. It’s not like Peter really has a choice.

They start to talk about how happy they both are now that they are back together when Peter’s cell phone rings. They think it’s a telemarketer because they don’t recognize the number. Peter wants to just ignore it but MJ tells him to answer the phone and to tell them not to call anymore. It’s a good thing he picks it up because it is actually Steve Rogers standing outside the diner without his Captain America costume on, telling Peter to meet him at the 1st Calvary Forest Hills Cemetery in 15 minutes. MJ can’t believe she just saw Captain America and that he was on the phone with her boyfriend. They say their goodbyes and Peter takes off running (when Captain America calls you better get moving).

Back at the S.H.I.E.L.D. containment center, the Triskelion Sub-Structure, a Dr. Leonard Samson is trying to get Norman Osborn to open up about his feelings. First Osborn says that he’ll only talk if he gets some privileges but Director Danvers isn’t having any of that. Osborn doesn’t actually need any privileges because he activates his powers and, to everyone’s surprise, turns into the Green Goblin. You would think that with the amount of times Osborn has been held only to turn into the Goblin and break free that S.H.I.E.L.D. would learn, but no. The Goblin easily deals with his guards then he frees Electro, Kraven, the Sandman, Dr. Octopus and the Vulture, calling them all Men of God. They bust out of the facility and end up outside in front of some jets and a helicopter. The Vulture jumps into the pilot seat and tells everyone he was in the Air Force so he knows how to fly it. Danvers can do nothing except watch them fly away.

At the cemetery Spider-Man cracks a joke about not dating Goth girls and Captain America really lays into him about not taking all of this seriously. That death is all around them when they are out there being superheroes and Cap believes that Spider-Man either doesn’t think about it or just doesn’t take it seriously enough. Cap tells Spider-Man he is about to tell him the most important thing he knows, but before he can Director Danvers calls up Cap and lets him know that there has been a major security break at the Triskelion and that Cap is needed immediately. She also tells him to not bring Spider-Man along. Cap tells Spidey that he has to sit this one out and takes off. If he actually believed that Spidey would just forget about what is going on, then Cap doesn’t really know Spider-Man in the slightest.

A group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents get to Bryant Park where the wreckage of the Helicopter Osborn and crew used to escape crash-landed. I guess the Vulture isn’t that great of a pilot. One of the ops, Johnson, calls in requesting more units but is denied the backup because of something else happening at the Queensborough Bridge. Ben Urich is at the scene in the park recording everything that has happened and is extremely excited that he has video proof that Norman Osborn is still alive.

In a fancy apartment close by Osborn tells everyone to power down so that S.H.I.E.L.D. cannot track them. Electro turns on the television and sees a report of a “big super-hero war” that is happening at the Queensborough Bridge. Osborn is elated because that will keep S.H.I.E.L.D. occupied so that they can carry out “God’s work”. Osborn appears to have lost his marbles a little with this whole God thing especially since he believes that God’s work involved killing their enemies, specifically Peter Parker.

Near the Queensborough Bridge Spider-Man is watching the explosions when he receives a call from MJ, who tells him that the news reported that Osborn is still alive and that he and all the rest of Spider-Man enemies have escaped from prison. She then tells him that Spider-Man has to stop them from killing Aunt May and Gwen; that he has to “save his family.”

In General...

So Norman Osborn is still alive (funny that) and that S.H.I.E.L.D. is keeping him held prisoner. This of course doesn’t stop Osborn from breaking out and taking all of Spider-Man’s main villains with him.

After Spider-Man has had one superhero lesson from Iron Man so far, it’s now time for Captain America’s turn at teaching something to the young superhero. He takes him to a cemetery in an attempt to make Spider-Man see just how important what they do is and that at some point Spider-Man will die just like all the rest of the soldiers buried at the military cemetery. Cap believes that Spider-Man doesn’t take things seriously enough and that if he doesn’t start to, that someone, maybe even Spider-Man himself, is going to get hurt.

Just like his lesson with Iron Man, something important comes up and Cap has to go take care of it, only this time Spider-Man is not welcome to come along and help. This of course is not going to stop him and he follows Cap anyway.

When he gets to where the action is taking place, the Queensborough Bridge, Spider-Man sees some explosions just before he gets a call from MJ telling him that she saw on the news that Osborn is both alive and has escaped along with Spider-Man’s rogue gallery from containment. She tells him that he has to go and save Aunt May and Gwen before those villains can kill them.

Overall Rating...

We now have all the great things that make up an Ultimate Spider-Man comic here in one issue. We get some character interaction with Peter and Mary Jane at a diner; we also get to see some major villains show up with the promise of a serious throw-down to come between them and Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s superhero training continues this time with Captain America who takes a more personal, reflective approach to training by bringing Spider-man to a military cemetery. This is worlds better than Iron Man’s training plan, which consisted of him not having a training plan at all. We also get a great cliffhanger with Spider-Man agonized over the fate of Aunt May and Gwen now that his enemies are loose.

The only problem I had with this issue is again with the cover but now, as opposed to some of the previous issues’ cover problems, this is just a generic Spider-Man pin-up shot. That alone wouldn’t be a big issue because there have been more instances of pin-up covers in Ultimate Spider-Man than not. But it feels like last issue’s cover should have been this issue’s cover and vice versa. The cover to Ultimate Spider-man #155 had all of the villains that have broken out of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody in this issue. Why have that cover for the previous issue, which didn’t have any mention of them whatsoever, when it so clearly belongs to this issue?