Ultimate Spider-Man #44

Issue Date: 
October 2003
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mark Bagely (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Transparency Digital (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), MacKenzie Cadenhead (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (assistant editor), C.B. Cebulski (associate editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (publisher & inspiration)

Brief Description: 

Aunt May and Gwen still don’t know where Peter is, and May freaks out over it. Meanwhile, the falling Spider-Man and Geldoff have been rescued by Jean, and Storm managed to use her powers to extinguish the flames on the X-Men’s plane. Later, they brought the unconscious hero and Geldoff to their mansion, where the X-Men make sure they were still alive. When Peter wakes up, he accidentally betrays his secret identity to the uncanny mutant team. Later, Professor Xavier explains that, despite the research he and Cerebro have done on Geldoff while Peter was sleeping, the machine still hasn’t been able to pinpoint if Geldoff is a mutant or a human. What is known to the X-Men is that, fifteen years ago, some illegal experiments have been performed on the boy back in Latveria. Xavier promises both Spider-Man and Geldoff that he’ll find the culprits, and find a solution to the problem. The X-Men give Peter a ride back home, where he heads back to his basement. However, once there, he finds an angry Aunt May waiting for him, and she wants to have a talk.

Full Summary: 

(Parker home, Queens)

While cooking, May gets a phone call from Mr. Ayers, Peter’s geometry teacher. May remembers him from their earlier meeting at a bake sale. Ayers cuts to the chase, and wanted to inform May that Peter hasn’t been in his class today, but understood it after all the ruckus that went down today. May is confused. Ayers admits that Peter is an excellent student but, despite that, Peter isn’t allowed to come to classes as he pleases. May promises to deal with it, and Ayers says goodbye and hangs up.

May begs Gwen to tell her if she knows where Peter is, but she honestly swears she has no idea: the last time she saw Peter was when they walked to school together this morning, and didn’t even notice that he was gone until their teacher started yelling. May goes to Peter’s basement door, and shouts, suspecting he might be there, to come up to her right now! Getting no answer, May takes a fire extinguisher and slams it onto the door’s lock, until it’s open! Ignoring a freaked out Gwen, May hesitates a moment to descend.

Meanwhile, sitting in a library in his own fantasy world, Peter reads a book his Daily Bugle co-worker Ben Urich has written about the downfall of Wilson Fisk, who used to be the Kingpin. An unseen person asks him what he thinks of it. Peter informs the man that Ben is a great guy and has gotten an award for the book, and that he has always been meaning to read it through but never found the time. Professor Xavier’s astral form appears in front of Peter, and, despite the fact that Charles hates to do this, he really needs Peter to wake up now.

Peter wakes up in a lab, unaware that his mask is off, and gasps at the uncanny sight he sees in front of him! Professor X introduces himself, and behind him stand his team called… the X-Men. Peter is speechless and can just stare. Jean, for one, is glad that the boy’s all right. Kitty is curious about Peter’s age. Calming down, Peter wants to know what happened. Storm decides to explain.

Jean ordered Storm to switch sides, as Jean thought it would be best that she would be better suited to rescue the falling Spidey and Geldoff. Storm understood, and flew back towards the plane, and extinguished its fire using her powers to make it rain. Jean at the same time used her telekinetic powers to fly herself down, and managed to grab Geldoff, who fainted again, however Spider-Man was out of reach. Jean pushed her powers harder, and managed to telekinetically grab Spidey, before he reached the ground below.

Peter’s astonished. He suddenly realizes that his mask has been taken off, and gets angry because people always seem to want to know his secret identity of Peter Parker! Beast smiles, and informs him that they just wanted to make sure he was still breathing, but weren’t aware of his real name! Peter feels stupid.

Meanwhile, May checks around the lab Peter has in his basement. She notices his computer, and decides to check it. However, a password keeps her back. May gives up and walks back upstairs, luckily not noticing that one of the special glasses Peter uses for his Spider-Man mask so that he can see through it.

After Xavier gives him an “X-” shirt to wear, he tours Peter to the other side of the lab, where they are treating Geldoff. He seems happy, but Xavier admits that he had to use his telepathy to give Geldoff happy thoughts, because he didn’t want to risk him destroying his research machines too, as they’ve already lost an airplane because of Geldoff. After all, the X-Men’s equipment is expensive. Peter wants to know if he fell out an airplane for something good, and wants an explanation whether Geldoff is a mutant or not.

Xavier shows Peter a part of his mutant tracking device called Cerebro, and explains to the web-slinger that the reason he was interested in Geldoff in the first place is because, when Cerebro pinpointed him, the machine didn’t recognize Geldoff as either a mutant, or a human. And that has never happened before. Even now Cerebro hasn’t managed to make a proper analysis, but Xavier has spent some time with Geldoff while Peter was asleep, and poked a little through the boy’s brain, and discovered that Geldoff used to be a guinea pig, and that disgusting, mutant-related, genetic experiments have been performed on him in the past. Xavier has also discovered that someone has did illegal placenta tampering on Geldoff, but promises to find the culprit.

He explains. When a woman is pregnant, she grows a placenta. This placenta, really, is nothing short of a miracle organ that creates itself for the sole purpose of supplying the fetus with everything it needs. It links the mother to the fetus. Xavier adds that this placental complex, being a perfect symbiosis of two separate organisms. And when the baby is born, the placenta dies. The placenta literally dies. It serves no further purpose so it dies away. So must research done on the placenta is done on animals, or that minute after the fetus is born. There is however still mystery as to the placenta’s complete abilities. He thinks that research on the placenta while it is still functioning could do damage to the fetus.

In fact, Xavier concludes, placenta tampering is flat out illegal in most countries, including Latveria, where Geldoff is originally from. And what they have here now, as far as Charles can tell, is a young man who had the isolated mutant gene injected into the placenta while he gestated. Xavier what would happen. Geldoff, with the Cerebro helmet on his brain, can only smile at the explanation, and replies “no way…”

Beast finds it fascinating, and wonders who could think of such a thing and consider this as a valuable conduit. Xavier mentions that fetal placental tissue isn’t recognized as foreign and rejected by the maternal immune system. Spider-Man interrupts the guessing, and wants to know why, if someone went through all the trouble into making Geldoff a mutant, or a freak or whatever, why Geldoff is now in America blowing cars up and stuff?

Xavier assumes that the experiments have probably have been done on Geldoff without his mother knowing and abandoned before it was discovered. Or it could have also been considered a failure at the time, and only recently manifested itself in Geldoff now, as he is in puberty. The X-Men imagine that Geldoff was abandoned and sent away for adoption. Either way, it happened fifteen years ago and, realizing that it won’t be easy, Xavier promises Geldoff to find out what and why he is this way today. Peter wants to know what the X-Men are going to do to him now. Charles wants to represent Geldoff to a couple of prestigious science organizations and then present their findings to the U.N., with the hope that the information is enough to pressure these countries that turn a blind eye to these inhumane mutations.

Spider-Man doesn’t really agree, as they are still taking to Geldoff, who’s trapped and his with his brain not even working well, thanks to the Cerebro. Peter wonders what if Geldoff doesn’t want any part in this? Xavier defends that its all a matter of rights, but Peter remembers that Geldoff is a mutantphobic, so he seemed to be, and thinks he won’t like to be a part of all this experimenting. Xavier understands, but wants to find the culprit. Peter gets angry and wonders if Geldoff will ever get a shot at getting a normal live. Beast calms him down, and asks Peter to define the word “normal”. Xavier agrees.

This makes Peter even angrier. He slams Beast to the back of the room with one single punch, and grabs Geldoff! He slings away, successfully avoiding Cyclops’ optic blasts. Xavier begs Spidey to be reasonable, but he ignores the Professor, and even passes Kitty on his way out of the lab. Peter next tackles Colossus, and punches his way through a window, and lands outside in the gardens. Xavier’s astral form appears in front of Peter again, and asks him what good this will do. Peter returns back to reality, and jokes that the battle was just a thought.

The Professor tells Peter that he has read his works and therefore is aware of what the X-Men do, and promise that what they are going to do will be in Geldoff’s best interests. And, realizing Geldoff’s fears for mutants, Xavier promises to have a little chat with the boy as well. Geldoff reaches his hand out to Peter, and explains that he never really wanted to fight him, and just show off in front of his friends like he always does. But, he tells Peter that they are cool. Kitty asks Peter if he’s going to be okay with all this, and asks if he needs a ride back home. Peter realizes that he has been here a while, and shouts to know what the time is!

A while later, Peter walks behind his house and heads to his basement. He thinks that, if he learned anything from all this, he is done meeting people he admires, as it always turns out in crap. Even though he loves the X-Men and Xavier, he is now really frustrated thanks to Geldoff’s cause and just wants to smack them. Peter hesitates, and jokes that he hopes Xavier isn’t still reading his mind and knows what he just said. Peter enters the basement and goes to his computer, but freaks out when he finds someone waiting for him:

Aunt May! With an angry look on her face, May tells Peter that they need to talk. Uh-oh.

Characters Involved: 

Spider-Man/Peter Parker

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Shadowcat, Storm (all X-Men)

Aunt May

Gwen Stacy


Story Notes: 

Seeing how unpopular this story was with the public, Marvel has apparently put Geldoff in ultimate Limbo and forgotten all about him. It’s even uncertain if Geldoff is today still at Xavier’s school, or if his past has been resolved behind the scenes.

Peter’s geometry teacher finally gets named, as he’s one of Peter’s regular teaching staff that often makes reappearances in the comics.

Last issue, Peter’s school was evacuated because of his battle with Geldoff. May came to pick both him and Gwen up, but got suspicious after Peter was nowhere to be found. Of course, he was fighting Geldoff as Spider-Man, but May is unaware of his secret identity.

Spider-Man defeated the Kingpin and his Enforcers in Ultimate Spider-Man #12, and had all the proof he needed to confirm Fisk’s murders on tape. He handed this over to Ben Urich, who wrote a successful story, which caused Fisk to lose most of his money and offices. However, the man still escaped, and has recently arrived back in town and has even confronted Spider-Man again with Elektra as new associate. However, unknown by anyone, Fisk is actually committing all these crimes so that he can find a way to use his mysterious “Tablet of Time” to bring his comatose wife, Vanessa, back to life again. [Ultimate Spider-Man #53]

Issue Information: 
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