Ultimate Marvel Team Up #4
Marvel Comics (July, 2001)
“Spider-Man & Iron Man” part 1
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Mike Allred
COLORIST: JC (comics.org believes it’s June Chung)
LETTERER: Wes Abbot
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Brian Smith
EDITOR: Ralph Macchio
Peter is invited to a special exhibition of Tony Stark’s “Irontech” technology, the one that allows him to be Iron Man. It’s tech so potentially dangerous that he won’t sell it to anyone, especially the envoy from Latveria. Well, if you know who runs Latveria you know he doesn’t take no for an answer and sends a force to take the Irontech anyway, attacking the exhibition. Iron Man fights the invading force but his suit gets knocked offline and he falls to the ground right by Peter.
What they got right: Tony Stark isn’t a huge brain…as in his body isn’t all brain like they did with him in the Ultimate universe proper. He’s also not shown to be a drunk like the Tony in The Ultimates. So at least he avoided the worst parts of the official Ultimate version of Tony. Bendis did play with the origin a bit (this is Bendis after all, but at least it isn’t the main continuity so he has more leeway) and his changes are still close enough to the usual origin, though oddly he decides to kill Morgan off during it. The story starts out pretty good.
What they got wrong: However, this is still Bendis. Decompressed storytelling with a panel count per page I expect from minicomics are still on display here. The joke with the couple about mutants was unnecessary especially given the room involved, though the meeting was admittedly a fun bit. Having Peter give the students a slide show based on an essay about Stark was an odd bit of exposition dumping. This is also not Allred’s best work. Characters are stiff. One panel with a close-up of Tony through the Iron Man mask just looks creepy because it’s based on the first red & yellow armor and you can see his teeth. Another panel makes Iron Man look a bit short.
What did I thing overall: The frustrating thing about Bendis is you don’t know if the story is really any good until the end. It starts okay but not really strong. At least this is only a two-parter instead of the usual four parter but I wish he’d make better use of the page space. Next time we’ll see if it’s worth getting.