Ultimate Spider-Man #11

When you find yourself fighting against an enemy that is more powerful than you, you have to find a way to overcome them if you have any hope of being a winner. I think of Brock Lesnar’s time in UFC when I read this issue. He had his first UFC fight against a fighter named Frank Mir. If you put a picture of the two together you’d see that Lesnar dwarfs Mr. Mir in size. On appearance alone you would think that Mir would have gotten his ass beat with Lesnar not even breaking a sweat. However it didn’t go down that way. Mir came into the fight with a plan and pretty easily defeated Brock. It was humbling for the Beast but it also made him more dangerous as well. Once he realized someone exploited his faults, he doubled down and fixed them, becoming a much more dangerous fighter in the process.

Peter learned a big lesson last issue. While I think most folks that survive being thrown out of a high rise will probably learn a lesson or two, Peter discovered that his blunt force trauma method of crime solving would not cut it when it came to someone as dangerous as the Kingpin. He had to think on his toes much better. So he comes up with a plan after realizing last issue that Kingpin had recording equipment in his office to try and contact a company that may give him some information about them.

This is where this issue lost me a bit. Peter’s plan is to do a Google search for what company did the recording layout in Kingpin’s office and contact them for information. That is a way to start I guess but if this were to happen in real life, the last thing I would say of Kingpin is that he was smart. And what does that say for other criminals in town that would love to be crime lords themselves that a fifteen year old boy spending all of five minutes on Google find the information about the recording setup in Wilson Fisk’s office when they would have much more nefarious ways of getting back at him if they had said info? I don’t buy that a company, even fifteen years ago, would so publicly state what setup they have for their clients when their clients are as powerful as they are. Hell, even if we weren’t talking about a criminal mastermind but a CEO of a company or a politician, leaving that info out for the public to see would just invite someone, anyone, to try and hack their way into that security system for any dirt they can get on the guy.  It just seems unrealistic that no one else had thought of this idea or even failed to notice that he had a video surveillance setup in his office.

Using the Nixon comparison, there were folks that were aware of the taping system. The way it was setup in the White House, that number was around three I believe but there were people that knew. When it came to Kingpin’s setup, it is established that Peter with one glance notices the system. While he doesn’t put two and two together at first, he eventually realizes what he saw and is able to go through with his plan. If a fifteen year old boy can discover this, someone else could have as well. And if I know criminals, you would think that being the enterprising bunch that they are, they would either be knowledgeable themselves or know someone who is knowledgeable in something that could pay off for them. Kingpin is presented here as an over confident jackass who was just counting the days before he got caught, period. He is not the smart, evil being Bendis attempts to set him out as.

Just as soon as he sends the email to the company that installed Kingpin’s taping system, he quickly gets a response with absolutely everything he needs to know about the device. This certainly gets us to where we need to get to in the story but it all is a little too convenient for my tastes. This little plot element could have been stretched over a couple of issues. As a writer, you want to do your best to avoid presenting solutions to your character’s problems too conveniently. When the protagonist is able to get his problems resolved with little to no effort on their part, it is not the sign of good luck on their part, it is the sign of a lazy writer. You have to have a reason for your character to advance in the story. They have to have obstacles to overcome. Peter sent one email and his problems were solved in a matter of a couple days. This was not a good way to get Peter to meet up with Kingpin again.

Bottom Line:

This is the first issue of the run that I had some real problems with. Don’t get me wrong, a bad issue in Ultimate Spider-Man is still going to be better than most other comics out there but with the sheer amount of content that has to come out on a regular basis, not everything is going to be a winner.

There was just a little bit too much coincidence going on in this story for me to really enjoy it. I can take one or two incidents and forgive it. If it gets to the point where I am actually noticing how many times something happens out of nowhere that magically fixes the protagonists problem then we have a writer who has found themselves stuck in a corner without a way to get out, choosing the easy way out.

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