Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Continueing from the last issue Silver Sable and her gang continue their attack of Venom at the ESU Museum of Art.
Then we get another full page spread of the Spider-man vs Rhino fight with Eddie Brock watching in an alley from a "month" ago.
The day after the Spider-man vs Rhino over at Midtown High MJ tells Peter that TMZ has a shot of Peter's butt showing through a rip in his Spider-man costume. MJ then tells Peter he should go to a doctor with Peter saying he'll think about it.
Later that night, Peter in his Spider-man costume is swinging home from work when he notices someone flying right by him. when he goes to check to see who is flying through the city he sees that its The Beetle. As Spider-man is trying to talk The Beetle tries to lose Spidey by flying faster and shoting some sort of heat seeking energy blast at him. As Spidey is almost able to web The Beetle, The Beetle shots another energy blast at Spidey to lose him.
The Beetle than heads to Roxxon Industry. As Spider-man catches up to him, The Beetle somehow vibrates his body through the building. The Beetle than heads to Roxxon's science lab and grabs a vile of what looks to be some of the Venom Symbiote from a safe. As he is about to leave Spider-man shows up again rescueing a security guard in the process. As Spider-man and The Beetle fight The Beetle is able fire some sort plasma blast and makes his escape from the Roxxon building.
The next day Peter is on the phone with MJ while working at the Daily Bugle. Just then Peter gets a call from Nick Fury to meet him on the roof of the Daily Bugle. Just as Peter storms up to the roof to tell Fury off Fury tells Peter to not get involve with The Beetle anymore since The Beetle works for someone in Latvaria that is not Doctor Doom. As Peter angrily agrees and goes back to work a SHIELD agent ask Fury if he believes that Peter confront The Beetle the next time he sees him and Fury answers "Yep."
Going back to the museum Silver Sable and her gang finally subdue Eddie and take him away. As Silver Sable is leaving with Eddie she tells Spider-man to "see a doctor" and drives off.
Ultimate Spider-man #124 is another strong read for USM. Ever since the Clone Saga Ultimate Spider-man has returned to form and proves to be a consistently well written comic. Even though before the Clone Saga USM wasn't bad but was just average for about a year and a half because the focus of this book was on Spider-man and not Peter Parker. But this book is at its strongest when the focus is on Peter Parker and not Spider-man and since the Clone Saga Bendis has returned to focus on Peter's life outside of Spider-man.
I know that this "War of the Symbyote" storyline is suppose to adapt the Ultimate Spider-man video game but for someone like me that did not play the game this and the last issue is still very accessible.
I have to say that The Beetle is a great addition to Ultimate Spider-man's rogue gallery. What makes him a great addition is that The Beetle doesn't even bother to talk to Spider-man's banter and is only looking to complete his mission. It made for some funny lines by Spider-man since he loves talking during his fights and who ever he is fighting will talk back by telling him to shut up or something. But with The Beetle this guy could care less of Spider-man and just wanted to get his job done.
Also speaking of what The Beetle was after it seems as though he was after part of the Venom Symbyote that Roxxon Industries kept from Peter and Eddie's parents when they work for the company. While The Beetle may not appear for the rest of the story arc since this is a Venom/Carnage centric arc but I am fine with that since The Beetle is working for someone in Latveria that is not Doctor Doom. So this Beetle subplot may lead to a future story arc were Spider-man teams up with the Fantastic Four to fight Doctor Doom and this unknown benefactor of The Beetle. Since I have always loved it when Spider-man and the Fantastic Four team up hopefully Bendis is leading to this since Peter is much closer to the F4 in the Ultimate Universe.
The other highlight of the issue was the Peter and Fury conversation. I just loved how Fury doesn't give crap if were Peter is or were their meeting will be cause when Fury needs something he'll usually get it. I always like it that Bendis always portrays the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury as being the typical government agent we see in the real world. And Peter being uncomfortable with the whole conversation and were it takes place only added to the scene. I also loved that even though Fury told Peter to stay away from The Beetle Fury knows that Peter won't stay away and he will use that to his advantage.
Also talking about Fury one problem I have with this story arc is when this story arc takes place. It is obvious that this takes place before Ultimate Power mini series and after the Silver Sable arc in USM. If I had to guess with Peter and MJ only being friends and talking about Peter's health I would guess it id right after the Morbius arc were he was bitten by a vampire and right before the Clone Saga. But it is only a minor gripe I have about the issue.
The only other problem I had with this issue is that there was only two pages were we saw Venom/Silver Sable story from the last issue. The reason is because this story arc is called "The War of the Symbyote" and when Venom only appears for two pages it might make this story feel like it is taking forever to finish. But I am guessing Bendis will pick up the Symbyote story next issue and this is again only a minor gripe I hae with this issue.
Again Stuart Immonen art is just not my style. I find that his Peter Parker and the people not wearing costumes not to be as good as when Bagley drew USM. This is a problem because USM and the way Bendis writes this title it is more about Peter's life outside of Spider-man that makes me buy this title. But the art in this issue was actually a bit above average since this issue was mostly the Spider-man vs The Beetle fight and his The Beetle was actually a cool design and much better than the 616-MU The Beetle.
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