up your Portuguese, because Brian Michael Bendis has.
being part of the "Hollywood" arc, this issue literally
takes Spider-Man to Brazil. Not the Girls Gone Wild, Carnivale
parts of the country, either; Doctor Octopus has hijacked
a plane and all Spider-Man will get out of the trip is a
lousy "Hello Kitty" t-shirt.
earlier chapters of the story had a pretty typical romp
feel to them. Bendis got to work the cast and crew of Spider-Man
2 into the Ultimate universe, and we all got to nod
knowingly. Even as Peter and Doc Ock beat the snot out of
each other, it seemed all in good fun. Then the doctor jumped
onto a plane with the unconscious and unmasked Peter Parker
and things turned deadly.
a certain level, we know Spider-Man won't die. But as he
often did in the Lee-Ditko era (and now again with JMS),
he sure takes a lot of visible abuse. As he points out to
himself afterward, it's going to be very hard to explain
to Aunt May how he lost a tooth; Peter can't just admit
that an adamantium tentacle extracted it for giggles. Knowing
that this book hasn't been cancelled doesn't lessen the
tension when an utterly insane and dangerously distracted
scientist has Spider-Man in his clutches.
strength of this issue, as it often is, is intriguing characterization.
Bendis has brought Otto Octavius into a quiet sort of madness,
fulfilling seeds planted in Ultimate Six. (Through
the vagaries of late shipping, we didn't actually see those
seeds until a couple of weeks ago, but let's give Bendis
credit for trying.) The good doctor talks to his arms; they
talk back. Like a lot of Spider-Man villains, Doctor Octopus
has serious anger issues, sometimes directed at the webspinner.
in a twist that Bendis is too good a writer to let go, it
looks like Doc Ock has lost his taste for villainy. He'll
probably get it back, but he has to really take some time
to find himself. Even knowing who Spider-Man really is does
him no good, because he has no goals. How modern and how
real for this guy to find himself really not knowing what
he wants to do with his life. Okay, so it strikes a chord
course, the book belongs to Spider-Man, and the writer has
made this Ultimate version an exceptionally believable teenager.
Some of his fabled wise cracks in this story fall flat,
but that's by design. Spider-Man has been pushed to the
edge, but he's still a kid, a point underscored by Bagley's
great character design.