Saturday, February 22, 2014

Graphic Novels: Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 4 - Legacy

Well, it's another day and another look at Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe. It's been a while since I've looked at the Wall-Crawler, so I'm gonna try to make up for that. Today's volume of the series contains issues #22-#27. The creative team is still the same. Brian Michael Bendis is writing, Mark Bagely is pencilling, and Art Thibert is inking. As you can tell by the cover, this is going to be nuts.

Everything is going well for Peter. He's not being hated on as Spider-Man anymore and his relationship is MJ is going well. He may be grounded, but it can't all be good, can it? Things liven up as Harry Osborne returns to school after all of the stuff that happened to him in the first volume. Now you know this might go downhill. Norman Osborn is also back and alive and he wants to see Peter for some reason. In Osborn's office, Norman reveals himself (literally) to be the Green Goblin and that he also knows Peter's secret. We also find out that he has put Harry under deep hypnotherapy in order to forget the truth. Let's say that Peter isn't doesn't handle the news well.

This scene is so creepy. Still, I think "Sins Past" is worst. Thanks, JMS!!!!

Things go from weird to weirder when it's revealed that SHIELD also knows the connection between Norman and Peter. They also know Peters identity. Nick Fury (as played by Laurence Fishburne... hee hee hee) comes to Midtown High and lays a lot of information on Peter. We eventually find out that Norman wants Peter to kill Fury. If he doesn't, Norman will target Peter's loved ones. Peter is able to keep Aunt May safe, but it all goes bad when Norman (in Goblin form) kidnaps MJ while she and Harry are at Norman's office. It all ends in a drag-out battle with Spider-Man and SHIELD taking on the Green Goblin.

This was a pretty good read as usual. We get some new developments with Peter and his cast of supporting characters. Peter's and MJ's relationship starts to strain under the pressure of Peter's other activities. There's also the fact that Gwen is getting closer to Peter and that upsets MJ. We see the beginning of Aunt May's involvement in Gwen's life. This development ends up leading Aunt May... well, I'll get to that some other time. This volume also marks Nick Fury's involvement in Peter's life. This is something that will continue to grow over time.

 Fury: You must go to the Dagobah system, young man!

Norman Osborn is back and more dangerous than ever. He's definitely the biggest threat that Peter has faced at this time. He's powerful, insane, and kind of creepy. While he still looks like a Hulk rip-off, the character still works for me. The scene where he reveals himself to Peter is a little disturbing when you think about it. We also find out that Osborn was essentially working on a new version of the Super Soldier Serum which adds a little more to his backstory. Harry also returns here and you can tell that he is the biggest victim of Norman's deeds because of all of that hypnotherapy. Something tells me that'll bite Peter in the future.

The artwork is still up to par. If there's one good consistent thing on here, it's the artwork. The whole battle between Spidey, SHIELD, and Green Goblin is really done well. We also get a modern homage of Gwen Stacy's death in the book that involves Peter and MJ. It's all well done and provides for intense moment. There really isn't anything bad about this volume. Sure, the dialogue can be weird at times and the art can drag out the story, but this Bendis were talking about. It's a good one to read. 

Revealed/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 3
Well, we get a doozy for the unmaskings. If you're going to take a shot of something, let it be something non-alcoholic. First, Norman knows that Peter is Spider-Man and he's pretty much known from the beginning. It makes sense because he's partly responsible for it. If I had this section when I looked at the first volume, Norman would have been included there. Next up is SHIELD and Nick Fury. I guess it makes sense to have the shady government organization know your identity. In a way, that's probably creepier than Norman knowing the identity especially when they will involuntarily draft you into service when you reach 18. Lastly, Harry Osborn finds out Peter's secret during the battle. I feel so sorry for 'ole Harry.

Total Revealed/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 6

Finally, here are my highlights of the volume. I don't have too many, but here are ones that really stuck out to me:

 - Norman Osborn is back and cuckoo!!: The Green Goblin comes back and it really ain't safe. We even get a glimpse in Norman's head while he is the Goblin. He sees hallucinations and looks at Spider-Man as a... spider man. Weird.

 - NICK FURY, AGENT OF SHIELD: Don't worry, I won't go into "Samuel L. Jackson Mode" where I cap all letters.With Fury here, we get to see an idea of how intrusive this version of SHIELD is. They're everywhere. We also see that while Fury's here to help Peter, he's also letting him know that they may have to take him in when he's older.

-Trouble in Paradise - We start to see the cracks in Peters and Mary Jane's relationship. Gwen's in the picture and it's getting tougher for Peter to tell her everything. MJ getting kidnapped also didn't help matters.


Overall, it's a nice package in general. The story's good and the art is pretty awesome. Well, I'm outta here but I will be back with another volume from this series pretty soon. Peace, God Bless, and know that Norman Osborn is a d-bag in all universes.


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