First off, when you open up "Silver Sable: Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 15," be sure that you read the reprint of "Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1" before you read the Silver Sable story from "Ultimate Spider-Man" #86-90. This is because you have to be clear on what is happening between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson at this point in the series. That means you have to know that Peter has started seeing Kitty Pryde of the X-Men. Peter dumped MJ back in #78 because she will not listen to him and it is going to get her killed. Meanwhile, Kitty is no longer involved with Bobby Drake, and she gets it into her head that she should call Peter out of a clear blue sky and see if he would like to hang out together after school in what might be the most awkward phone call in the history of comic books.
Peter and Kitty go to the mall and then have an interesting talk on the rooftop before Spider-Man and Shadowcat go off to fight the Shocker together. The story in this annual is just priceless, because not only does it have an extremely high cuteness level (cute is good), but it is a perfect solution to Peter's romantic problems. If he is right to be worried that anybody he dates is in danger, then a girlfriend who can phase through objects (and visa versa), makes perfect sense. I accept as gospel that in the end Peter and Mary Jane are going to get married and live happily ever after, but they are teenagers now and such side trips are part of the adolescent playbook. This story is just completely enjoyable from start to finish, when Kitty e-mails Peter that their battle with the Shocker made Yahoo, and in the end I round up on this collection because they included this story. The art is by Mark Brooks and Jaime Mendoza, rather than by Mark Bagley and Scott Hanna with the rest of the stories, but that is no cause for concern. But as I said, you need to know way MJ is going crazy that Peter seems happy and why Kitty is showing up to see him after school.
Then we get to the Silver Sable storyline. Omega Red, a work-for-hire albino, mutant Russian new to the freelance world attacks the S.S. "Roxxon" when it comes to port in New York City, only to be stopped by Spider-Man. Mr. Roxxon (think evil rich guy) wants to know why he blew up an entire cargo ship and since Omega Red is in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, he orders his secret operative, Silver Sable to question Spider-Man. So Silver and her Wild Pack start tracking Spider-Man, and since he keeps going to Midtown High, she concludes he must be a student there. But when her henchmen grab the target and bring him to her, it turns out to be Flash Thompson. He manages to escape and becomes a big hero, but now the words is out that Spider-Man is a student (or a teacher) at Midtown. That means that when security guards want to check out Peter's backpack, they are going to find his Spider-man costume.
The story here is about Silver Sable trying to get her hands on the real Spider-Man to find out information that he does not have, but that is not the real story. The situation is closing in on Spider-Man and the pivotal moment in the story is when he talks to Aunt May about Spider-Man, about to tell her the truth, and she derails his intentions with a comment and a conversation that will preclude him from every trying again. Meanwhile, Mary Jane puts two and two together regarding Peter and Kitty. I am just not sure why his spider sense does not kick in until Part 3, but of course Spider-Man gets captured by Silver Sable and then the fun begins. I like how running Spider-Man's finger prints turns out to be a really bad idea, and if the villain who shows up for the first time and the person behind what is happening to Roxxon are not particularly impressive, you do have to like the way things just go from bad to worse to the dark region beyond for our hero as the story progresses. However, I do think he should really pop the next person who tells Spider-Man, "What are you, twelve?"