I could go on, and on, and on about the things that I liked in this volume. From its unveiling of the “Ultimate” versions of professional Marvel sidekick Rick Jones and B-list spider-villain the Chameleon, to the welcome addition of “amazing friends” Iceman and the Human Torch to the cast, and the simple fact that writer Brian Michael Bendis shows that he knows how to write the character better than anyone else in the business. However, it’s the scenes that Peter Parker shares with J. Jonah Jameson that provide not only the best parts of the volume, but a potentially game-changing moment in the series.
Through the machinations of the Chameleons, Peter and JJJ find themselves tied to chairs in an abandoned warehouse. Those of you expecting the two to have a nice heart-to-heart that brings them closer together, and gets Peter a job at the new online edition of the Bugle, are in for a shock. At least, that’s how I felt after JJJ does something that the supporting cast of this series has done with an astonishing, but usually quite funny, regularity. It’s very spoiler-centric, but it’s not just the event that fascinates.
You see, while they’re tied up one of the Chameleons is running through the city in Spider-Man’s costume on a crime spree of epic proportions. All of that goodwill the web-slinger earned during the events of “Ultimatum”-- gone in the space of an evening. I’d be upset about his fortunes changing on a dime like that, except that there’s an out. After the events of this evening the one person who can save the wall-crawler’s good name is... J. Jonah Jameson.
It’s a setup that would never have worked like this in the regular Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see what Bendis does with it here... is what I’d like to say. You see, we only have one more volume to go before the “Death of Spider-Man” arc “does something that we’ve never seen before in a mainstream comic” (Bendis’ words, not mine). Such hype annoys me more than anything else since I’ve been on board with his take since the first volume. While I can understand the need to boost sales through an event like this and its subsequent new status quo, I’m not very hopeful about its need to shake things up because I thought the current approach was working just fine.
However, like a lot of other series, this one has accumulated a lot of goodwill from me and I’ll be sticking around to see how it turns out. It can’t go too far off the rails with Bendis’ involvement, right? At least he can pull off big, event-driven storytelling in this universe well enough. Come back tomorrow to see my thoughts on that...