maandag 17 december 2012

Ultimate Spiderman Vol 14: Warriors (#79-#85)


Ultimate Spiderman Vol 14: Warriors (#79-#85)

I don’t think I need to recap much about the Ultimate Line. In 2000 Marvel decided to refresh their characters by recreating them in the Ultimate world, giving them a modern origin-story and more realistic versions of previous plots. Ultimate Spider-man was the first (Micheal Brain Bendis and Mark Bagley) and with the success of the series followed as acclaimed long-term serials like Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-men and the summer blockbuster comics The Ultimates vol 1 to 3. But let’s first focus on Ultimate Spider-man Vol 14, the Warriors arc.
Why this specifically? Well I feel this being one of the weaker arcs (not the strongest, but there are definitely so weak arcs in USM) where we go in-depth on Peter Parker, his relationship (or the rather the lack of) with Mary-Jane and the introduction of Ultimatized (heheh) characters like Iron Fist, Shang-Shi, Hammerhead and of course Moon Knight (who wears white to a superhero fight? – Spidey). I feel that this arc had a lot of potential and was certainly epic, but stripped down to characters and plot something lacking and juggling. So lets get to it.

*RECAP*
 
Peter and Mary-Jane broke up, because Peter believes MJ brings herself unnecessary into danger during his superheroing. In an annual issue, Peter meets Kitty Pride of the X-men and the two start dating. Kitty doesn’t appear during this arc though, she seems to be grounded. Meanwhile because of Spidey’s previous actions, the Kingpin had been forced to lay low for a while and the mafia-head Hammerhead (hehe, I’m cracking it up today) aspires to take Fisk’s place as the new Kingpin.
We meet the big baddy Hammerhead while he converts the Kingpin’s old crew – the Enforcers – to his own, and then orders the building to be burned. All about sending a message. Spidey sees the fire and goes to help potential people trapped inside, but he is suddenly assaulted by Moon Knight who suspects him of working with Hammerhead. After a bit of fighting and mocking (who wears white at a superhero fight??) The two split as police enters the scene.
So then we start at Peter in class while he’s contemplating why he broke up with MJ. After getting sick of the teacher, he insults him and walks away to do some Spidey work. He proclaims that as Peter he feels useless but as Spider-Man he is actually doing something for the city, and would rather crawl in his Spider world for good.
Meanwhile, Shang-Shi and Iron Fist meet in a Chinese restaurant, the latter just released from prison. But their conversation is stopped when Hammerhead and his crew comes in the restaurant and claims it as his territory, seizing protection money. SS and IF fight through the crew, and even Spidey shows up to knock Hammerhead down….with a broken hand instantly realizing why he’s called Hammerhead.  But then Black Cat shows up and a very annoyed Hammerhead throws a grenade. Black Cat saved Spidey from the grenade and fled to a rooftop. After a bit of talking (Felicia’s father was murdered by William Fisk the Kingpin, and vowed revenge under the name Black Cat) BC makes out with Spidey by only opening up the mouth part of his mask.
Later on, Spidey investigates Fisk’s building but is greeted by Elektra who invites him in. Surprisingly Spidey follows and after a funny scene in the elevator he is brought to Fisk. The Kingpin gives him the address of Hammerhead’s lair and asks him to take him out. Because Hammerhead is much much crueler than Fisk, and should rather be stopped now than when becomes the new Kingpin. Even Spidey’s ally, the police detective Jeanne DeWolfe encourages him to follow Fisk’s advice.



-insert montage scene of Shang-Shi and Iron fist getting into costumed and pumped up, while playboy billionaire Marc Spector (Wait a darn sec-) sees the sun going down and gets in costume – 

Spidey visits the address the Kingpin gave him, but catches Black Cat sneaking around. She says she wants to help Hammerhead rise to power so he can overthrow Fisk and she can have her revenge. Afterwards she’ll help Spidey bring down Hammerhead too, she promises. After another kiss, they hear noises in the building and barge in.

Cue the most epic thing you’ll ever see in a comic gang war.
We have Hammerhead with his goons pulling their guns on Iron Fist and Shang-Shi while Elektra has her weapons raised against Hammerhead and Moonknight lurking on the ceiling. And Spidey and BC just jumped in the middle of this all.

favorite quote:
“YOU DIDN’T DO THIS !@#$%% TO FISK!”
- Hammerhead

So the next issue starts off with Hammerhead calling a pause to the situation. He immediately buys Elektra from Fisk, and then even Black Cat volunteers to work for him – much to Spidey’s dismay. So then the fight starts and literally everyone throws a punch or kick to everyone, seeing how no one knew each other’s motivation or side. But after some spectacular but jumbled pages, Spidey gets sick of this all and rage-webs everyone tight to their place. The fight is just frozen as everyone is stuck in the webs, and Spidey casually picks up a phone to call the police to sort this all out. This is definitely the one of the funniest thing’s I’ve read. All of the characters are in some way insulting or scolding Spidey and we see him just getting annoyed by this all. But while the police is underway, Elektra manages to get herself free and throws her Sai to spidey, scarcely missing him. More characters use their knives and sharp claws to get free, and Hammerhead finds his gun empty. As the fight continues Elektra smashes Spidey through the window and he’s dropped on an arriving police car. Moon Knight is stabbed by Elektra and after Hammerhead blurs he won’t be able to pay her, she beats him up and throws him out of the window too. Black Cat and her battle, but before she can kill Black Cat, a moon-shaped boomerang (Moonerang?) is thrown in the back of her head.
Well, in the end all the heroes escape and BC and Spidey flee to another rooftop. BC claims she was stupid to use Hammerheads as a means to get to Fisk, and promises Spidey to be more responsible. And then, with the promise of sex, the about 25 year old Black Cat removes Spidey’s mask to see a fifteen year old face.

She barfs on his costume and flees.

So what did I think of this arc? Well its not bad in my eyes, and one of my favorites. Especially because it has some epically comical scenes, and Moon Knight. From all the Ultimate supporting characters, Moon Knight was fleshed out the most – though its not much. We see he has four personalities inside him, two grown men, a little girl and Moon Knight himself. We know that Iron Fist was a prisoner once who couldn’t control his rage but is all right now, and Shiang-Shi…owns a restaurant or something. So the characters are not what really drive this story. Plot wise it seemed okay aside from Fisk asking Spidey to take care of Hammerhead while he knows Spidey doesn’t do this kind of stuff, and then also sending Elektra to kill him off.  Also, during the last chapter when Moon Knight is wounded, Hammerhead manages to pull off his mask and make a picture of his face, mumbling with still his mouth webbed, “I own you!” but this plot point gets no where as HH is thrown out of a window later. Second, there is a difference between a 25 year old body and a 15 year old. How did BC not notice that? She kissed him without mask, wouldn’t she notice something? Even in the new Spider-man movie you can’t really believe that’s a 17 year old playing spidey, but rather a 19 year old at most (the actor is in his twenties). But aside from this the comic had some great gags and epic moments. I like to see a Spider-man movie that associates with the mob just like TDK did; I think the realism would do a grounded character like Spidey good. Less of a CGI villain at the end and more a moral dilemma.
The art is classic Bagley and does very well to convey emotion while also having some pretty rad action scenes.
Check it out for yourself.

Three out of Five stars

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