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Recap / Ultimate Spider Man Learning Curve

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Hey, those are some big hands...
"Learning Curve" is a story arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, set in the Ultimate Marvel universe.
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As the Parkers need money, Peter takes photos of himself as Spider-Man, and tries to sell them at the Daily Bugle. He gets minium pay, but gets hired as webmaster instead. With the info of the Bugle's web page he finds about the crime corporation of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, that Ben Urich is trying to stop to no avail. He gets into his tower, but gets defeated by Electro, Kingpin's henchman, and thrown out of the window. But he kept the mask as a souvenir, puts it on a criminal that failed him, and killed and disposed of him. The media founds the corpse with the Spider-Man mask, and peter has a new idea: sneak into the tower, but with the plan to retrieve any CDs around, to get the records of the security cameras. One of those records had filmed killing that criminal. He gives it to Urich, who publishes it. Fisk must now leave the country, while his lawyers try to clear him.

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Tropes

  • Accidental Misnaming: Kingpin called Electro "Elektra". She also works for him, but not in this story yet.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The thief that killed Uncle Ben is part of a larger criminal organization, led by the Kingpin.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Despite the Not His Sled moment, Peter Parker gets a job as a webmaster, and not as a freelancer photographer.
  • Aesop Amnesia: You'd think that, after the fiasco with the enforcers, Spider-Man would know better that jumping blindly into the action without a plan, but no. He goes and does the same against the Kingpin.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Spider-Man stops the Shocker from stealing a security van. But the officer, thinking that Spider-Man may be a rival thief, offered him the money if he just left without attacking them. He leaves. We can see a dialogue: someone says "Dude, I could'a made a fortune yesterday" and someone else says "Then why didn't you?". But no, it's not Peter talking to someone about this, it's a discussion between Flash and Kong about some unrelated issue.
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  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: When Electro got mad with Spider-Man, he promised him that they'll find out who he is, and then he would fry every single member of his family.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In-universe, Dr. Bradley offers Peter (and any other student) support to cope with the Green Goblin and Spider-Man disaster that took place in the school. Peter has no trauma or personal crisis about it (of course, as he is Spider-Man).
  • Apathetic Citizens: Spider-Man is falling his death, and pass by the window of Kingpin's big gala. Nobody paid attention to him.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: When Electro gave his "And Your Little Dog, Too!" threat to Spider-Man, he asked if he was being serious. Of course he is. So Spider-Man broke a nearby pipe and let Electro get electrocuted.
  • Art Shift: The art of the comic changed during a scene about Peter's nightmare with the thief that killed uncle Ben.
  • Berserk Button: Wilson Fisk does not like jokes about being fat.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Aunt May was not expecting Peter to get a job at the Daily Bugle.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: The Shocker tries to steal money from a security van with his powers. Then Spider-Man (still barely known by the public) defeats and disarms him with his super powers. The guys think that he's also after the money, and try to give it to him before he attacks them. Spider-Man flees.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After the fight, Spider-Man thinks that the attack of Shocker could have harmed someone, and that he should have disarmed first, when he still had the element of surprise.
  • Didn't Think This Through
    • To sell photos of himself, Peter puts the camera on automatic and poses for a number of photos. But wait, did he put some film in the camera?
    • Discussed by Big Guy. Which was Spider-Man's plan in that warehouse, exactly? Have the enforcers betray the Kingpin? Have them take him to him? Find the Kingpin in such a lowly location? Not a great plan.
    • And then he gets into Kingpin's big office... to do what? he forgot to think of a plan before sneaking in.
  • Dirty Coward: Flash accused Kong of being a coward during the attack of the Green Goblin. Kong replied that everybody reacted as cowards back then.
  • Drama Queen: Liz had an outburst when Kong was talking too much about Spider-Man. Mary Jane dismissed her as a mere drama queen.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Downplayed. Spider-Man is defeated and unmasked, but nobody knows who is him, so they threw him out of the window, and nothing comes out of it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Yes, Ox betrayed Mr. Big, choosing Kingpin's side, but that doesn't mean it was an easy choice. His former boss is now dead, and he took part in it.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: One of the magazines in the newpapers stand had Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four logo. It was a world-building item by then, hinting that the FF are out there somewhere, but became a canon discontinuity when the Ultimate Fantastic Four were published some years later.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation
    • Flash and Kong discuss in the library that there is a bounty on a photo of Spider-Man. And yes, Peter was there.
    • The enforcers are talking about the Kingpin. Ox and Dan want to turn against him for petty reasons, Ox tries to force some sense into them. And the clarifies "Don't even joke. You never know who's listening".
  • Enemy Civil War: Mr. Big defied Kingpin and tried to rally the other criminals against him. It did not work as he expected. Ox and Montana even held him while Kingpin killed him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Enforcers betrayed their Boss, Mr. Big, and sided with Kingpin when Mr. Big defied him. Kingpin killed him while the Enforcers held him. Ox would eventually regret his choice, and started drowning his sorrows.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Robertson mentioned that some people think that, even if the feds could take down the Kingpin, someone else would take his place.
  • Eye Take: Jameson's reaction when Urich wins the argument about the article on the creature of the sewer.
  • Eyedscreen: Peter is ignoring the teacher, and thinking about the killer of Uncle Ben. Things get more and more near his face, up to a full Eyedscreen.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: After a pair of fiascos, Spider-Man got the Cds that will incriminate the Kingpin, and managed to stand his ground to Electro and the Enforcers all at the same time. His confidence in himself started to recover, just in time to fight the Kingpin himself.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The FBI found Spider-Man and the enforcers in a warehouse, and Spider-Man escaped. The Daily Bugle's cover the next day: "Spider-Man: Mob menace". This was the first time that Ultimate Spider-man was hit with this trope. A less visible newspaper has the Ultimate X-Men logo, and reads "Mutant menace".
  • Improperly Paranoid: Montana wants to take Spider-Man out of the building, quickly, and close the door. The guys must a trap from the feds. Ox says that no, he must be just a guy on his own doing stupid things.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: First appearance of Ultimate Shocker. He gets defeated in seconds.
  • It Sucks: Jameson checks Peter's photos of Spider-Man. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap...
  • It Will Never Catch On: The Kingpin thinks that this whole "costume" superhero thing is just a fad.
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS!: Fisk is not interested in fighting Spider-Man. He has a party going on. Let Electro deal with him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mr. Big was executed by the Kingpin when he tried to make a criminal coup against him.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Shocker does not want just to have the money of the security van. He wants the officer to crawl over and give it to him. Then, Spider-Man took him down.
  • Lonely Together: Aunt May feels this way over Peter, now that they lost Uncle Ben.
  • Majority-Share Dictator: Once upon a time, the Daily Bugle denounced the Kingpin's acivities. He silenced them by buying stock of the company.
  • Mama Bear: When Aunt May hears that Peter will work at the Daily Bugle, she asks to talk with Jameson. We did not hear what she says, but he asks him never to put her on the phone again.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Peter had to cancel his date with Mary Jane because Electro left him too weak. He tries to apologize, but Mary Jane refuses to talk. He asks her if she's mad at him, and she denies it... which of course means that she is mad at him.
  • Mythology Gag
    • In the mainstream comics, Peter Parker worked for years at the Daily Bugle, taking photos of his adventures as Spider-Man and selling them to Jameson. It also happens here, but just once: he gets another job at the newspaper.
    • At one point, Peter uses a T-shirt with the logo of the Thunderbolts.
    • The sales person of the 4566 Telech System is Patsy Walker (Hellcat).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Spider-Man's first attack to the enforcers. he did it completely unprepared and with no plan, but he also ruined the attempt of the feds to capture those criminals. With the mess he had done, and escaping from the crime scene, he gave them the perfect excuse to claim that they were the victims in there.
  • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: Dan wants the enforcers to destroy a Mc Donalds near his house, because they rejected him for a job... back when he was in high school. The other two guys tell him to get over it.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!
    • Ox has never actually met the Kingpin. Montana told him that he couldn't defeat him, that he shouldn't even joke about it... and now Ox thinks that he has to fight the Kingpin. He has been challenged!
    • Electro called Spider-Man a "Slippery little yutz". He got offended for that, and this allowed Electro to defeat him for good.
  • Not His Sled: Peter Parker taking photos of himself as Spider-Man is the reason he goes to the Daily Bugle, but he does not get to be a regular freelancer taking such photos as in the mainstream comics. He gets instead a job as a webmaster.
  • Playing Possum: Spider-Man used this trick when he had to fight to Enforcers and Electro all at the same time, and Ox managed to grab and attack him.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Kingpin had to leave the country once the news of his murder of Mr. Big became public. His lawyer can fix this but it will take time. He said that it was not good enough. When the lawyer insisted, the Kingpin remarked "Not! Good! Enough!"
  • Rage Breaking Point
    • For Betty Brant, it's when the web page fails to load.
    • For Liz, it's Flash and Kong constantly talking about Spider-Man.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder
Jameson: Ben, if you paid whatever this paper costs every morning to sit down and read it with the morning cup of joe, would you be interested in a story about some creature that lives in the sewer?
Urich: Yes.
  • Run for the Border: When the Bugle released the content of the tapes that proved Fisk's murder of Mr. Big, he left the country. In the epilogue we saw him in a tropical location.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Jameson is making a big load of smoke with his cigar. When it goes out, we can see the sign "No smoking please".
  • Spider-Sense: Spider-Man has finally figured out the meaning of that buzz in his head he feels sometimes: it means that something bad is about to happen.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Peter Parker gave one to himself, after being easily defeated by Electro.
  • Tropical Epilogue: Kingpin escaped from the country and ended in a tropical location. But, contrary to tradition, it was not a happy ending for him. He was angry about the whole thing, and expecting his lawyer to solve everything asap, so he can return.
  • You Have Failed Me: Discussed. Dan wants the enforcers to thrash a Mc Donalds that rejected him for a job several years ago. Montana pointed the likely reaction of the Kingpin if he discovers that they did such an operation without his approval. Either that, or he already owns the Mc Donalds to begin with.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Peter asks Robertson (in a polite way, but still) why doesn't the Bugle go against the Kingpin's criminal organization. Actually, they did. And the Kingpin bought stock in the company.
  • World Building: The magazines in the newspaper stand mention the X-Men, Reed Richards, and Kong talks about Daredevil.
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