Review by Frank Plowright
One of the most puzzling deviations between English as spoken in Britain and in the USA is how the word ‘Warrior’ came to be pronounced as “warya”. Unsurprisingly, Brian Michael Bendis is completely unconcerned with this minor semantic investigation, figuring the more entertaining route would be a story teaming Spider-Man with a bunch of young heroes whose agenda coincides with his in taking down Hammerhead, as suggested by the Kingpin.
Mark Bagley’s sample art shows two of them, Shang Chi and Iron Fist, on a great action page. Over the entire sequence there’s no problem believing that these are two master martial artists fighting for their lives. The flow of action and movement is phenomenal, and while more acclaimed artists worked on Shang-Chi’s adventures back in the day, not all achieved the kinetic balance Bagley provides. He could have toned down the objectification of the Black Cat, which is partly down to the way Bendis writes her, but otherwise this is the solid art Bagley has provided from the beginning, and there are several more action scenes where he really puts the effort in.
Although there’s plenty of action, Warriors isn’t that far removed from the crime stories with which Bendis made his name in the 1990s. It’s far simpler, super powers providing a short cut, but deals with how to combat untouchables, characterises them as pragmatic and unsettling, and there’s a great sellout. Additionally the way Bendis progresses the relationship with police Captain Jeanne De Wolfe is pleasing. Anyone remembering her from her prematurely curtailed friendship with Spider-Man in his original iteration (see The Death of Jean DeWolff) will be pleased to see her back, and anyone who hasn’t seen her before will surely appreciate Spider-Man having a friend on the force. It’s another fun read, and Silver Sable follows.
As with all other slimmer paperbacks, this is available in both the hardcover Ultimate Spider-Man and the thick paperback Ultimate Collection. Look for seventh volumes in both cases, and they also sweep up Hobgoblin.