Ultimate Spider-Man #82

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Adam Chapman (E-Mail)


Peter Parker's been withdrawing into his guise as Spider-Man to get away from his personal troubles, including his break-up with Mary Jane. A gang war has started to envelope the city, as the Kingpin has been forced into a weaker position by ongoing litigation against him. Peter Parker finds himself in a bad position as Hammerhead prepares to shoot him, when Black Cat shows up to his rescue...

Story Details

In school, a teacher takes attendance, and then stops on Peter Parker's name, as once again, Peter isn't in class. Mary Jane looks at his empty seat, worried about what's happened to him, and where he might be.

Meanwhile, Black Cat shows up on a hood of a car, demanding that Hammerhead let Spider-Man go. Spider-Man webs his hand/gun as Hammerhead shoots, causing it to backfire on his hand. Hammerhead throws a grenade at Spider-Man and Black Cat, which bounces off Spider-Man's chest. The duo of Spidey and Black Cat jump up and out of danger, flying/swinging up onto a small building's roof, where they fall in a heap. Peter is surprised that Felicia is alive, but puts it aside, until they confront Hammerhead. However, Hammerhead is already gone, and the police are on the scene. The police shoot at Spider-Man, when Jean DeWolfe shows up on the crime scene.

DeWolfe berates the officers for shooting at Spider-Man, and tries to get to the bottom of what happened at the crime scene. She yells at the police to get moving, and takes control of the situation, declaring that Hammerhead must be found.

Meanwhile, she's being taped by a man in a cab across the street. His license says Steven Grant. He watches DeWolfe grab Ox and throw him into a paddywagon. He drives off, as The Enforcers are put into the prisoner transport.

On top of the building, Black Cat kisses Spider-Man (with mask on), and then rolls it up revealing his lips. He stops her from doing anything else, and asks her how she's alive. She kind of dodges the question, just revealing that she saw him search for her, but managed to survive her fall. Peter keeps asking questions, as Felicia tries to make a move on him. He's frustrated because he's confused and irritated. Peter gets her to answer some questions about her motivations now that she's "back," including what she's doing in this Gang War, and how she's involved in Kingpin's current legal troubles.

Felicia confesses to Peter that once Kingpin's down, she's done with being in the costume and all that, and wants to be with him, doing normal things instead of fighting crime. As she makes a more genuine, sincere move on him, he freaks out at the time and takes off. Felicia assumes that means he's married, and is disappointed.

In Soho, Steven Grant gets back to his apartment. A woman, Marlene, pulls a gun on him when he enters. She berates him for not calling before going upstairs. She asks him if he went against Hammerhead, and notes there was no mention of Moon Knight on the news reports. Grant tells her that Moon Knight wasn't there, but that he just observed the fight that broke out there. She asks him if he's Marc Spector, Steven Grant or Moon Knight, but he just walks off to the shower. Marlene ruminates that a guy should tell his girlfriend which personality she's talking to.

Spider-Man finally gets home, but it's dark out now. Peter sits in his room and can't get Black Cat out of his head. He starts thinking that maybe he and Black Cat would work, because she could handle herself, and handle his Spider-Man life like MJ couldn't. He can't think of anything else. May gets home, and the two decide to order in. Peter goes to make a call for food, but notices there's a message on the machine. He listens to it, and it's his principal calling his Aunt about him skipping school that day. He deletes the message, and goes back to May.

The Kingpin watches the news, as it details the continuing evaporation of Kingpin's control on crime in the area, and how Walter Dini, Kingpin's consigliore, has an indictment which is embarassing the Kingpin. Dini tells Fisk he'd do anything to make it all go away, and Fisk is happy to hear it. Elektra stabs Dini right through the chest, and Kingpin charges her with doing his dirty work now that the gloves are off, to clean up the situation, including Hammerhead, Moon Knight and Spider-Man. Elektra says she's up to the task.

General Comments

This was actually a pretty good issue, much like the rest of Warriors thus far. Recently I was re-reading the original Gang War storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, between Rose, Kingpin, Silvermane, Hammerhead, etc, and this storyline really has me digging the old school groove. The gang war storyline is a tried and true tradition in Spider-Man comics, and the more the merrier. My one complaint here is that there was no more Danny Rand or Shang-Chi, which seemed kind of abrupt after last issue. Otherwise, there's a lot of stuff to enjoy here, with some great character pieces as well.

It's the character pieces that Bendis does so well, and they're here in full force. Plus, there are some issues where people complain that not enough happens, but this issue is the opposite. So much happens in this one book, it really feels like it's worth the money. We get continued problems in Peter's academic life thanks to his time as Spider-Man, as well as Mary Jane's continued distress at her ex's behaviour. We get Black Cat's reappearance, as she saves Peter's hide, and then tries to start something with him romantically. Hammerhead proves himself to be well armed, and a serious threat with no care for property damage or civilian lives. Captain DeWolfe makes her presence more and more well known, as she defends Spider-Man's rep in front of other cops, and takes control of the police force on the scene for the latest altercation in the Gang War. We get more on the mysterious Moon Knight, and two identities which he's using besides his costumed one. There's some quality work on Peter and May's relationship, and how he's continuing to hide his double life from her, including making sure she doesn't know about his skipping class. And last but not least, Kingpin gets Elektra to kill his consigliore, in a scene which is borrowed almost directly from a classic Elektra moment in Frank Miller's first run on Daredevil.

So there's a hell of a lot going on, and it all reads well, and works well in the confines of the story. The story is progressing smoothly, and in leaps and bounds, moving it forward quickly so there's no time to sit around catching one's breath.

The art by Bagley is fantastic in this issue. It really hits on all cylinders, the entire book just looks phenomenal. Better than usual, if possible. The scenes with Black Cat and Spider-Man togehter, as well as the Moon Knight civilian scenes, and the concluding scene with the Kingpin, they're all just brilliantly rendered. This book just looks and reads great. Bagley is one hell of a storyteller, and he really gets to flaunt his skill here.

Overall Rating

Fantastic story, characterization, plotting and scripting, with accompanying artwork which matches the excellence of the aforementioned components. Ultimate Spider-Man is really kicking into high gear as the march to issue #100 continues!

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Adam Chapman (E-Mail)