Sunday, October 20, 2013

Graphic Novels - Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 3: Double Trouble

Now, it’s time to dust off another Ultimate Spider-Man trade. Remember when I said that I was going to go through all of them up until a certain event? Well, I… exaggerated. I don’t know where I’ll stop at, but I will try to do this and another Ultimate trade monthly. Instead of detailing the whole book, I’m going to try something different with the synopsis today. Today’s trade is brought to you by the same team of Bendis, Bagely, and Thibert. It collects Ultimate Spider-Man #14-21. As you can tell by the cover, this looks like it’s going to be an interesting story.

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 3: Double Trouble

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Penciller: Mark Bagely

Inker: Art Thibert

The overall story involves Peter going up against his first supervillain, Doctor Octopus. I’m not counting Electro because he was  really only a henchman. Octavius wakes up from his coma (he was injured at Oscorp back in the first volume) and finds out that his mechanical arms are permanently stuck to him. He doesn't take it well and I can't blame him. So, he unleashes a rampage on the city and blames one man: billionare Justin Hammer. This gets Spider-Man involved and he and Doc Ock go head to head in two awesome battles.

 Peter also has to deal with keeping his double life a secret from people from school, some TV star named Kraven The Hunter, and his aunt. Luckily, he does have Mary Jane to confide in since he told her his secret in the last volume. She even helps him with fixing his costume. He also has to still deal with a public that fears and mistrusts him but it looks like that may change. We also get the first appearances of the Ultimate versions of Gwen Stacy and George Stacy. SHIELD also plays a small role in this and it marks the beginning of their role in this book.

I thought this trade as a whole was pretty good. I think it was the first four volumes of this series that convinced me to check out the rest of it. Peter continues to grow in the trade. He and MJ make it official in one of the most “Awwwwww!!!” panels I have ever seen. They just look good together. We also get his reaction when Gwen Stacy enters the scene. Now, this isn’t your normal universe’s Gwen. This version is a bit wilder and she even tries to talk like some hippie. I like her. She reminds me of someone from high school though I don’t think this person carried a knife around with her.

We also see Peter go up against Doctor Octopus in two battles. We see that Peter’s still learning when dealing with these villains because he gets pummeled in his first battle. Peter also has to deal with Kraven the Hunter who’s a TV star in this universe. He’s also looking more like Ra’s al Gul with that goatee of his. A definite highlight of the book is when these two go at it. It’s pretty funny. Spider-Man finally  gets some respect in this volume from the public. It comes at the end and it’s pretty satisfying. Of course, he doesn’t completely win since Aunt May grills him about getting home late and grounds him.

The villains are a bit mixed. I thought Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) was a good villain and had a nice origin. Doc Ock basically wants revenge on billionaire Justin Hammer (not this Hammer) because he believes that Hammer had something to do with the accident that bonded the arms to him. Doc Ock also doesn’t remember what happened in the accident and he doesn’t remember that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider… until the end, of course. His new costume design is pretty cool but I think the style of the sunglasses is a little much. Kraven’s first appearance here was okay. I thought it was weird to make him in to a faux Steve Irwin, but the fight between him and Spider-Man made up for it. 

The artwork is good as usual. I really don’t have many complaints there. Bagely’s pencils and Thibert’s inks make for a good combo. The action in the trade (and the series in general) is pretty awesome. The writing is good, but some of the dialogue is a bit much. I then remember that this is Brian Michael Bendis, so I just go on and accept some of the dialogue. I definitely recommend this to any fan of the Wall-Crawler.

Revealed Secret/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 1
When Dock Ock captured by SHIELD and drugged up at the end, he begins to remember that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. It makes sense because he was working on Peter’s blood all the way back in the first volume. It could be 2 revealings since Kong does put two and two together, but he never finds out. So, take a drink or eat an Oreo, I don’t care which.

Total Revealed Secret/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 3

Finally, here are the highlights of the issue. There’s a lot I like, but I’ll just slim it down to a few points:

Gwen Stacy – Her first appearance is milked for all its worth. We also find out she’s not to be trifled with.

Peter Parker: Actor? - When Kong begins to piece together that Peter is Spider-Man, he tries to prove it by being a douche. So, Peter has to suck it up and basically put on a performance of a lifetime. I give a 7 out of 10! Also, when this guy almost figures out your identity, I think it's time to dawn some glasses or a playboy billionaire attitude.

Spidey vs. Doc Ock – Both fights between the two are pretty epic. There isn’t much to say in that regard. While Peter does get trounced in the first round, he does come back swinging (pun intended) in the second round.

Spidey’s version of Batman’s “One Punch” – While the fight between Spidey and Dock Ock was epic, the fight between he and Kraven was less epic. Still, it provided a nice laugh from me.

Peter’s Speech at the end – After all is said and done with Kraven and Doc Ock, the press interviews Spider-Man. The words Peter says ring true to the character. I especially like what he said about his reasons for the mask. Unfortunately, this also brings up the dumb decision Marvel made when Peter reveals his identity in Civil War a few years later. Oh well…

Well, that’s all I got for today. I may try these short reviews out every once in a while. I might just save them for the Ultimate Spidey stuff. So, I bid farewell. Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: NEIL GAI--- EH, I don't know as of yet!!!!

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