Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trade Tales! - Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 14: Warriors

Next up for Martial Arts Month is a return to the Ultimate Universe specifically Ultimate Spider-Man. I don’t have any current thoughts about Spider-Man: Homecoming this time. All you need to know is that I’m still not sure if I’m going to see it yet.  Anyway, not only do we get one martial arts hero, we get two: Iron Fist and Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi had already appeared in the Ultimate Universe (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #16-17) while this is Danny Rand’s first appearance. They aren’t the only faces that show up here though since this one is pretty packed as you’ll see.
This is Warriors. Insert any reference to the 1979 cult classic here. As usual, Bendis and Bagley are heading the writing and pencils, respectively. The inks is still being done by Scott Hanna. The trade contains Ultimate Spider-Man #79-85. So, let’s see Spider-Man get overshadowed by a crapton of characters. Just know that Snow, Cleon, Cochise, and Ajax didn’t make the meeting.
Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 14: Warriors
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: J.D. Smith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
We start by finding out that Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin, is under investigation by the FBI. Because of this, Fisk has had to quit the crime business and this leaves other mobsters to take his place. One of these players is the thought-to-be-dead mobster know as Hammerhead. After he takes out Silvermane, another mob boss, he makes planes to take control of the underworld. Meanwhile, Peter is pretty much depressed because of all of the stuff that’s happened lately. The only thing he sees solace in is Spider-Man and has started to skip school. One night, he comes across a burning warehouse Hammerhead blew up. Instead of finding culprits, he finds the vigilante known as Moon Knight and they exchange blows for a minute until he escapes.
Elsewhere, it turned out Elektra, Kingpin’s assassin, watched Moon Knight and Spider-Man fight. Later on, Peter finds out that the warehouse belonged to Fisk, so he pays Fisk a visit as Spider-Man. He’s shocked to find Fisk and Elektra waiting for him with pizza. The two converse about Hammerheads actions and Fisk asks Spider-Man to take down Hammerhead. Fisk even gives him Hammerhead’s location. Unsure of what to do, Spider-Man contacts Captain Jean De Wolfe who shockingly agrees with Fisk on this one.

Later on, Hammerhead and his team attack Danny Rand and Shang-Chi in Chinatown. Shang had been in Chinatown fighting the gangs while Danny Rand just got out of jail for some reason. Anyway, Spider-Man comes across the scuffle and almost gets taken out by Hammerhead when everyone’s “favorite” hot woman, the Black Cat, shows up and saves him. After the cops show up, the two go to a rooftop. After trying to cozy up to Spider-Man like a cat to some random dude, Black Cat tells him that she’s still after Fisk. She also tries to flirt with him but he’s trying to keep some distance and then leaves.

Later , Fisk has Elektra assassinate one of his top men and then promotes her. She dons a newer costume and does some “housecleaning” with the organization. Marc Spector (Moon Knight) also weirdly prepares. At school, MJ comes up to Peter and the two talk. Of course, it turns into another blowout which has Peter doing what he does best: leaving and skipping school again. He then heads to Hammerhead’s hideout and finds Black Cat waiting. The two head in and find pretty much every guest star in this book.
Sides get switched (Elektra and Black Cat join Hammerhead) and a pretty messy (art-wise) fight breaks out. Spider-Man decides to web up everyone and call Captain De Wolfe. Eventually, they break out of the webbing. Elektra beats up Spidey and Hammerhead and even stabs Moon Knight. Luckily, he gets a stab in with her as well and she’s out. Black Cat skips out the fight but does come back to check on everyone. She gets Iron Fist and Shang-Chi out of their webbing. In the end, Hammerhead and his forces are taken in. Elektra and Moon Knight get taken to the hospital.
After everything is over, Black Cat finds Spider-Man on a roof. She decides she’s going to do better and tries to give Spidey a kiss. Spidey relents and even takes his mask off but when Black Cat realizes she’s about to make out with teenager, she bolts. Later on, Fisk is told of the incident by Captain De Wolfe who is apparently in league with him. The story ends with Peter heading home and finding a peeved Aunt May. It turns out she’s found out about him skipping school (and possibly about that phone message he deleted) and tells him if he doesn’t stop lying, she’s kicking him out.

Well, at least I can say this one was a bit lighter than the last volume! We do get a little angst though. This was a nice treat. We get back to the somewhat ongoing plot of organized crime in New York. This time, Kingpin’s not the problem but he doesn’t help things either. While I joked that Peter gets overshadowed here, it is still his story. Now, he’s putting off everything for Spider-Man and it’s showing. MJ sees it and and Aunt May is beginning to see it through his skipping school. Peter does come off a little unlikable here but it is understandable with all that’s going on and it looks like it’s getting more complex with Aunt May on his back.
I know that feeling Peter...
The villains were pretty cool. Kingpin was cool as ever pulling the strings in ways we didn’t know until the end. Hammerhead was just a thug but a decent one. Elektra was the assassin she always is.  De Wolfe was definitely a surprise since I know about her 616 counterpart. The rest of the guest stars were a little mixed for me. It was cool seeing Moon Knight show up here. We even get into his head where it’s pretty loopy. What was up with that little girl anyway? Shang-Chi and Iron Fist, the subjects of the month, were okay though. We don’t get too much of them here but they do kick some serious butt. Then, there’s Black Cat. All jokes aside, I actually enjoyed her here even though she came off a little too strong with Peter.
The artwork was good but I’ll get to what I shockingly didn’t like later. It does start out well and it even ends well. The new designs for the guest stars were fine. Moon Knight’s and Shang Chi’s looks was pretty cool. Iron Fist’s was okay and I have to say that about Elektra’s red suit as well. At times, the action here is pretty good. The small, dramatic moments are pretty good as well.
Well, I can say he could at least take on "Bruce Leroy."
The negatives with the arc are little. I did feel that the arc packed in too much at times. So much was going with this character or that character. I felt that Iron Fist didn’t need to be here and that he was just along for the ride. Unlike Shang-Chi who had stakes here, Fist didn’t. I also felt that MJ and Aunt May were short-changed here specifically Aunt May. I wish we had gotten a little more with her dealing with Peter’s actions. Then, there’s the artwork which shockingly does get subpar at times. The place where I really noticed it was where the big battle took place. It just didn’t look good around that point for little bit. Also, Black Cat’s costume is still a bit of an eyesore.
Reveals/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 1
We get one time where Peter takes off the mask and it’s probably the funniest/saddest time for the guy. I can’t blame Black Cat for reacting like she did. After all, a person in their 20’s cozying up to 15/16 year-old is pretty much frowned upon these days. I guess this is the last time she puts a call into the Daily Bugle for a date.
Uh... Pete, what did you think would happen?

Total Reveals/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 15

Finally, here are the highlights of the issue
-Big Battle Webbed – While the artwork was pretty subpar, Spidey webbing up everyone and more or less sassing them out was funny.

-Shang Chi and Iron Fist team up – Having those two team up and kick butt was pretty cool.

-Spidey and Kingpin chowing down – These two interacting this way is hilarious.

Overall, this was a nice trade. It may have been too jam-packed, but it was good all the same. I know that our “Kung Fu Duo” do return in later issues, so just know that they will come back. Maybe we’ll actually learn more about them next time. Anyway, I think it’s finally time to visit Quentin Tarantino on this blog. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and tell the A.C. Turnbulls, The Basesball Furies, and the Moonrunners to calm themselves. Yes, I like The Warriors especially that PS2 game!

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