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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iUltimate Spider-Man/i: “For Your Eye Only”
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Spider-Man is under the delusion that he’s being groomed to be the next Nick Fury: international man of mystery. When he finds himself alone on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier against the evil forces of Zodiac, he gets the chance to show off his super-spy skills, although Spidey’s more Austin Powers than James Bond. “For Your Eye Only” is a lighthearted action romp in the same vein as previous episodes, and while we do get some intriguing new plot developments surrounding Nick Fury, a lot of this episode plays like an action figure commercial. Part of the fun of any spy story is the cool gadgets, but Spider-Man’s vibranium-adamantium armor, new Spider-Cycle, Web Cannon 3000, spinning Arachni-Discs, Wakandan impact force bubbles, and personal invisi-shield are a toy box set just waiting to happen.

Since Uncle Ben’s death, Nick Fury has become Peter Parker’s new father figure: overbearing, frustrated, and trying his best to look out for the kid. Uncle Ben was an ordinary man who taught heroism, but Nick Fury is the pinnacle of badassery, preparing Spider-Man for a world that doesn’t have kid gloves on. When Peter is late for a personal training session, he misses the infiltration and takeover of the helicarrier by Zodiac forces, who are planning on downloading S.H.I.E.L.D.’s extensive intelligence database.


Ultimate Spider-Man comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis handles writing duties this week, and the story has a similar madcap tone as his Wolverine/Spider-Man body-switch episode. Some elements of Bendis’ comic work come through in the Nick Fury plot, particularly the idea that he’s less altruistic and trustworthy than he appears, but “For Your Eye Only” is more focused on high-flying spy action than Nick’s moral ambiguities. The most intriguing element of Bendis’ plot comes at the end, when the Zodiac leader Scorpio is unmasked and revealed to be Max Fury, Nick’s evil brother. This show hasn’t been very good at finding ways to connect the heroes and villains in a personal way, and introducing Nick’s brother as a bad guy reveals new sides of his character that will hopefully go further explored in the future.

The action is the main draw of this episode, and there are some very fun fight sequences, like Spidey beating up Zodiac goons atop the helicarrier by using his shoes as nunchucks. Bendis makes use of some more traditional cartoon gags as Spider-Man slinks through the helicarrier, including a good 10 seconds of him shadowing a Zodiac soldier before punching him in the face; rather than chibi-Spideys, Peter is joined by the anime spirit of Nick Fury for the first half of the episode. Bendis embraces the comedic elements of this show, but he can whip out the widescreen action when he needs to, and this episode ends with an epic sequence that would fit right at home in any Bond movie.


When Peter finds Nick Fury, the S.H.I.E.L.D. commander is hooked up to the classic James Bond laser-beam-to-the-crotch contraption, and he’s saved just before he loses his lil’ Furies. Fury brings Spider-Man to the armory where they grab all the aforementioned toy accessories and attack Zodiac, who has set the helicarrier to self-destruct in three minutes. Fury puts the ship in dive mode to throw the bad guys off balance, and the giant vessel’s descent into the Atlantic Ocean is one of the show’s most exciting action sequences. Fury shuts down the self-destruct sequence with “007” seconds left on the clock, a clever final homage in an episode dedicated to the spy genre. It’s fun, if a bit on the juvenile side, but that’s just become the general tone of this show.

Stray observations:

  • At San Diego Comic-Con, the production team showed an upcoming episode of this show where Loki returns and turns Spider-Man into Spider-Ham. I’m excited.
  • As unnecessary as it was, the cutaways of Spidey and his regifted label maker made me chuckle.
  • Ava is reading a copy of Fang Love: A Patsy Walker Romance. I really hope there’s a Patsy Walker/Hellcat episode in the future.
  • “‘Pew pew’ guns! I love ‘pew pew’ guns!”
  • “Stan Ditkoberg.”
  • “So glad I’m wearing this mask, so you can’t see me drooling.”

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