UltiversalQ 016: There’s Gonna Be Little Ben


This week Luke and Devin watch as Ultimate X-men becomes the type of Ultimates series your friends warned you about (we warned you about stairs dog), Spider-Man makes some new friends, and a sinister sanguine symbiote enters the world. That’s right, Little Ben is here!

Issues Covered:

  • Ultimate X-men Vol 1 #46-49
  • Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #60-71

Devin will get the image gallery in later but the notes are up for now!

Ultimate X-men Vol 1 #46-49

Writer – Brian K Vaughan, Art – Brandon Peterson, Color – Justin Ponsor, Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

The X-men, Angel and Nightcrawler, surprise Jean-Paul Beaubier who was looking off a ledge, believing that he was planning to kill himself. They tell him he’s a mutant, he notes that he is dealing with this on top of realizing he is gay and when they try to recruit him to the school he says he doesn’t want to segregate himself for safety especially since Beast was murdered. He then runs off leaving them alone.

Emma Frost meanwhile is frustrated with Xavier’s complete personality change after the loss of Beast as he watches Wolverine and Colossus fight in a slugfest and refer to using mutant names, you know like Magneto used to. Emma decides to take her students back with her to Chicago until he gets his shit together. 

Scott, instead of talking to his brother, enters into his war gaming fantasy world called Corsair with Jean and they spend some time together while Kitty yells at Bobby for freezing to pool so he could teach Rogue how to ice skate. Kitty goes to try and get into her room to find Storm has given herself a new punk hair-do.

Jean-Paul meanwhile is walking the streets when a mysterious tattooed man in a tank top stops him, and commands him to stand still so he can shoot him in the heart as he introduces himself as Mister Sinister. The bullet is seemingly stopped though by Jean who explains that he was able to prevent the bullet from hitting his heart and he’s actually comatose in a hospital and was the only survivor of five attacks on mutants. He wakes up, Jean-Paul asks if Colossus is single before Jean makes Colossus leave with her.

Meanwhile Wolverine contaminates the investigation site of another murder to sniff a bullet.

Back at the mansion Cyclops is aggressively running a war game that ends when Kitty uses her phasing powers in a way that were it real, would have destroyed Westchester. Xavier meanwhile has reached out to Fury about Sinister, which has them divided since Xavier can’t detect Sinister and he’s been killing with just a handgun and Fury is hamstring and is unable to help since he doesn’t register on SHIELD tech either.

After Nightcrawler is sent to get Storm to come to a meeting in the McCoy Memorial Hall, Xavier declares that the mutants can’t leave the school ground but Wolverine helps to convince Xavier to allow the senior class, everyone but Angel, Kitty, Rogue and Bobby, to hunt for Sinister with Jean and Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Colossus and Wolverine and Storm all breaking into teams, which Cyclops doesn’t like. Meanwhile Sinister is alerted by the approach by the mysterious Lord Apocalypse as they will be the last 6 targets he needs to kill to complete his transformation.

At the school Xavier is having the students run drills against the Brood until Dazzler comes in drunk interrupting everything. Meanwhile Jean and Nightcrawler are interrupted by Roberto DaCosta, Sunspot, who thinks they are the murderer and when they explain they are the X-men he essentially tells them to fuck off. Cyclops and Colossus meanwhile get caught fighting the Russian mob who they were trying to find if they were the gun’s source and when Cyclops is caught he learns his optic blasts can be bounced off Colossus, saving him. Storm and Wolverine meanwhile talk about punks pushing people away so they don’t get hurt and Wolverine stops to check out a tattoo parlor to find out about Sinister’s tattoos with threats of violence. The tattoo artist quickly gives up Sinister’s address and inside they find a mannequin of Apocalypse and Wolverine realizes that Sinister is going after Xavier and the young mutants back at the mansion.

In the only good moment of this arc according to Luke, Sinister tosses Professor Xavier down the stairs. Sinister prepares to kill Xavier, but the mutants take him by surprise. Angel prepares to attack so Sinister makes him start choking himself till Dazzler singing Talking Heads comes in and surprises him. Before she can kill him though he pulls a knife on her and Rogue threatens to shoot Sinister with his own gun for killing Bobby till she learns he’s still alive. Angel tries to stop Rogue, touches her, she grows wings, and steals away with Sinister into the sky. She plans to drop him but Storm shows up and asks why to spare him, Storm gives some weak “eye for an eye stuff” so Rogue just punches Sinister to knock him out. 

SHIELD comes and picks him up and IDs him as Nathaniel Essex, an Oscorp bioengineer who essentially StealthBoys himself till he went mad and Xavier confesses he needs to get back to working on bringing his students into the world where they will be living.  And at the Triskellion, a real vision of Apocalypse shows up to Sinister, angry that he failed, and tells him to choke himself.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #60-64

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils – Mark Bagley, Inks – Scott Hanna, John Dell, Colors – J.D. Smith, Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

Dr. Curt Connors, still haunted by his stint as the Lizard and with Stark International looking for progress is having a rough time. Spider-Man who just got done fighting the Gladiator, a man with battle armor and an obsession with Nurhachi (who might be the 16th century Chinese emperor) stops by the lab looking for medical attention after getting chopped up by Gladiator and almost pursued by the police until they were stopped by Captain Jeanne De Wolfe.

Connors patches Peter up as he is also starting to get a cold and Connors meanwhile, left with Spider-Man’s DNA begins to examine it. Peter gets a full fever and is stuck at home.

Ben Reilly, Connor’s lab assistant comes in to find that Connors never left the lab and didn’t put away the Spider-Man sample and is impressed with it. Connors calls the sick Peter to come in and asks for permission to experiment on Peter’s DNA while promising to keep the source secret since it could lead to the cure for numerous diseases. Peter relents with the promise he can help people.

Two months pass and after Spider-Man stops the Punisher and Boomerang and leaves them webbed up, he heads back to Connors’ lab since he got cut again. They catch up but before Connors can show his experiment he has to go. Connors stops in to check on Reilly and their experiment – a living red creature they call “Little Ben”. In the morning when Ben comes in they find Little Ben is missing and the security guard at the school has been found dead and drained.

Meanwhile Gwen finds MJ at the mall working at her new part time job. The two catch up and talk about life while elsewhere in the city, Little Ben continues to feed.

Connors returns to the lab and is questioned and realizes something is up.

Gwen meanwhile is heading home when Little Ben finds her, since it has been accessing Peter’s memories and kills her. Aunt May finds her and calls Peter at work who rushes home without even changing. The police officer starts questioning too much and May tells them off before talking to Jean DeWolfe. Peter overheard the other bodies that got drained.

May meanwhile reaches out to Gwen’s mother who refuses to help and then the two go to stay with the Watsons for the night. MJ talks about how she’d talked to Gwen earlier and Peter regrets being unable to do anything and has visions of his enemies attacking, and then relates the other murders at Empire State that were mentioned. He finds Connors outside his house and starts beating the hell out of him demanding answers and Connors tells him about Little Ben and how they used some of the symbiote notes and how he can to warn Peter about it.

That’s when to make things worse, the Little Ben appears and tries to replicate Peter before realizing it can’t and it attacks. Peter tells Connors to get the lab ready to kill it and Peter and Little Ben fight across New York City as it tries to feed on more people eventually making a more human form. When Connors gets in he finds Peter waiting who tells him how it came for him and his perfect DNA and it looked like his father. Peter ended up tossing it into the industrial fire pit and then came to tell Connors. Peter considers getting revenge but stops and Connors turns himself into the police, Peter tells MJ he’s going to give up being Spider-Man and Ben Reilly steals a Parker sample before the lab is shut down.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #65

Peter, MJ, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson and Kong are all stuck in detention and when Flash starts being a jerk we find out how they ended up here. When Peter and MJ were cleaning Gwen’s locker they found she had a picture of the three of them together. Flash shows up and is an ass saying Peter did a great job watching her. MJ assaults Flash with a book and starts beating on him as he fell on Kong, Peter and Liz try to get her to stop and Peter ends up elbowing a teacher who tried to stop them.

MJ figures out that Flash liked Gwen and wanted to ask her out and wanted advice from Peter. Flash leaves in a huff. Three hours pass and Kenny tries to defend Flash and Peter is frustrated about people defending assholes and preventing them from having consequences while good people have to suffer and Kenny asks him what kind of person he is and he replies “nothing” and MJ asks him what kind of person Spider-Man is and he leaves to go to the roof. Peter explains he feels like he sees how bad things are and how they won’t change while MJ believes it will because of people like him but Peter leaves.

While he’s running he sees a woman being mugged and puts on a quick disguise, beats them up and tells them to do better and apologize and the woman thanks him but he can’t deal with it. 

 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #66-67 

Wolverine wakes up in Peter Parker’s body without realizing it initially as he tries to figure things out. When MJ asks him to talk to school with him and they kiss he has bad ideas.

Peter meanwhile wakes up in Wolverine’s body and almost instantly stabs himself in the arm.

Wolverine decides he wants to skip school and tells MJ he’s going to go back to being Spider-Man before Aunt May tells him the Daily Bugle is calling – but it’s actually Peter. Peter tells Wolverine to go to school and eventually slices the phone, cuts off a finger and then runs off.

Wolverine is distracted by high schoolers and MJ is suspicious but gives him the new costume. A police officer tries to catch him and when Wolverine tries to wall climb he quickly loses his grip before falling onto the officer knocking them out. Peter shows up to stop him from killing as they try to figure things out and learn powers from each other and Wolverine has to go into class. He immediately tries to leave but is stopped by the teacher. A shoot out happens with the police and Peter tries to intercept causing multiple cars to go flying.

Before the second issue Bendis blames the story on Nick Lowe the assistant editor.

Peter gets up surrounded by the police and tries to de-escalate things which doesn’t work. Wolverine tries to stop him from being arrested and Peter tells him to put on the costume. Peter ends up in jail and calls Xavier where Kitty is on the other line. He tries to explain things before he chops the phone on accident again and then is electrocuted.

Wolverine meanwhile puts on the mask and the web shooters and slowly through mistakes, makes his way to the jail, gets Peter shot in the head and then has Peter escape from the jail. The pair start to argue and then try to figure out what happened when they find Shocker robbing a bank. They knock him out before the X-men appear and Jean explains that she did this because Wolverine kept hitting on her and she warned him so she swapped his mind into the place he least wanted to be. She switches them back and when Peter gets home, he apologizes to MJ who says she’s interested in something he’d tried to do in the morning, when they get older.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #68-69

Chris Sotomayor joins on Coloring

At the Baxter Building, Sue Storm makes her brother Johnny agree to graduate high school before they can go public as superheroes, just in case they lose their powers. He ends up getting assigned to Peter’s school where Kong tries to goad Peter into a fight by tripping him. As they try and break things up Flash ends up saying MJ isn’t a quality person so Peter has to stop her from fighting him. 

Meanwhile Liz is interested in Johnny thinking he’s a mysterious new student and asks MJ to talk to him for her. Johnny is under surveillance if he uses his powers and Reed tells him to not to use his powers or he’ll end up like Spider-Man – hated by the press. MJ talks to him after rambling a bit she asks him to hang out with them after school.

Afterwards, MJ and Peter decide to plan on going for a fancy date at the Tavern on the Green. Liz comes over after saying she made group date plans to go to Rockaway Beach as a group and they go along with Kenny and eventually meet up with some other teens that night around a bonfire. The conversation turns to Spider-Man and Johnny moves to defend him and then catches on fire and ignites as the Human Torch.

Liz and the others run off leaving behind Peter, MJ and Johnny who leaves after asking them to apologize to Liz. When Johnny gets in, he’s upset and decides to drop the school. Meanwhile Liz is getting picked on as the story spreads.

Peter finds Johnny outside and wants to talk to Liz who left and Peter and MJ try to find out more about Johnny but he can’t say anything but he’s upset about what happened and MJ explains how Liz is mutantphobic and thought she might have lit Johnny on fire. Johnny leaves asking them to leave a message that he’d like to meet her later to talk and that he thought she was cool and cute. 

MJ knowing Liz won’t go to him tells him to visit Johnny as Spider-Man which he does. They get to talking and chilling out, Spider-Man realizes Johnny is related to Sue whose work he’s read, and then they see a fire going on and they work together to evacuate people and Johnny learns he can absorb fire. After saving everyone and being chased off by the police, Johnny tells Spider-Man to swing by when they go public.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #70-71

Peter meets MJ at the Tavern on the Green quickly realizing how expensive things are and MJ asks him what happened to him earlier. Ignoring how weird she’s acting, Peter talks about how Gwen’s empty desk was giving him anxiety so he went Spider-Man-ing and helped the Ultimates defeat Deathlok – a terminator-y cyborg. He got asked to leave after and went to work feeling unappreciated.

Jameson calls Peter to tag along with Urich for an interview piece on Doctor Strange, who if you forgot is sort of the son of normal Doctor Strange who disappeared, but he’s also a celebrity and is still learning magic. Peter, felt weird, since he thought he met him before – which was true. 

When Peter and Ben arrived Wong turned them away saying he was busy and Urich left not wanting to bring Peter back to Queens. Peter seeing Wong doing magic stuff to Strange lept into the Sanctum Sanctorum and MJ reveals that Peter never left and he’s in a dream or maybe even a nightmare…

Strange wakes up, finds Wong unconscious and helps to free him from Peter’s webs. Wong concludes that Peter is stuck in a nightmare state as Peter goes from nightmare to nightmare seeing all of his enemies, seeing his family killed and so on. Strange and Wong find Peter is in the Dream Dimension and will need help escaping before he’s doomed to die, while Peter has dreams where everyone he loves blames him for letting loved ones die. 

Strange shows up and forces Nightmare to reveal himself and is able to banish him after Nightmare turned into Strange Sr to try and control Strange Jr. Peter wakes up and runs out without his mask and heads home, traumatized by the visions and ignoring Mary Jane when she comes over for the fancy date.

 

Ultimate X-men Vol 1 #46-49: The Tempest

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #60-64 – Carnage

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #65 – Detention 

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #66-67 – Even We Don’t Believe This

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #68-69 – Popular

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 #70-71 – Strange

 

Next Time

Fantastic Four go to the N-Zone and Gambit meets the X-men

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