Magneto’s Ultimatum wave swept over New York City destroying much of the city and killing millions of citizens world wide. Fortunately, Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) survived.  As Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man reboots with issue one, six months have passed in the Ultimate (Comics) universe, and things have changed…kinda.

ultimatespiderman1.jpgThe opening page is one big internal monologue as readers stare into the face of Peter Parker.  It’s a brilliant page as readers new and old get a recap of what has happened using Brian Michael Bendis’ word stylings. It also shows off the new art direction from series artist David Lafuente, which is the biggest hint that things are going on.  Bendis is able to continue the voice of the characters in the series, but the manga-esque stylings of Lafuente smack the reader in the face with newness.  My guess is all the kids are into the manga these days, but sometimes the sharp noses of the female characters (specifically that of Gwen Stacy) look particularly sharp, and during the smooching going on between Stacy and Parker, I kept expecting him to get massive cuts on his face.

That’s right, I spoiled one of the key plot points of this issue, right there in the first paragraph.  When Peter returns to the Parker residence at issue’s end, Gwen and Peter start making out in Peter’s room, with no mention of their new found love.  Even more shocking is that Mary Jane is relegated to a single panel appearance in the issue in a web video report on Life Day.  There are certainly going to be a lot of questions raised over this sudden romance switch, and those who pay careful attention to MJ’s appearance will see a bunch of sorrow in those eyes. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into a single panel appearance.

What else happens in the issue, you say?

With the downward spiral that is the newspaper industry, the Bugle doesn’t look to be around much, or if it is, it has gone online, as it appears Peter no longer works for the publisher.  Instead, readers discover Parker working the most mundane of high school jobs – fast food.  One can tell he doesn’t care for it much, and the whole scene plays out like something from a 1980’s teen comedy flick.

In addition to the relationship and job changes going on, readers are further introduced to a mysterious robed figure who appears to be a new hero on the scene, or who could simply be an crew member who escaped from the USS Cygnus.  The figure doesn’t have the tie-em-up-and-leave-em-for-the-police attitude that we see in the fun loving Spider-Man, instead it appears the hero will use whatever means necessary to put the permanent hurt on those who do wrong.

The Kingpin dies.

Or does he?

There are plenty of changes going on in the Ultimate (Comics) universe, but the changes don’t seem to be that jarring. Readers can easily follow what is going on with the issue, and that makes the transition to this New Status Quo that much more palatable.

I do have a couple of problems with the issue.  It’s been six months since a massive tidal wave left large portions of the city as giant heaps of rubble, yet the splash page reveal of NYC has everything looking nice, clean, and new.  Now, an argument could be made that this is the Marvel Ultimate (Comics) Universe and everyone pitched in to rebuild. I heard the same argument made following the attack on September 11, and yet there is still a giant hole in the ground years later.  i think it would have worked better to have the city still suffering the impact of Magneto’s attack.  in other words, it only took Marvel one issue to reset the city to the status quo.

I also found it somewhat disappointing that Marvel made a big to-do over changing the name of the Ultimate line to Ultimate Comics, yet anyone who actually looks at the title banner of this issue will still see it reads Ultimate Spider-Man. Good one Marvel.

Overall, Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man #1 does what it should; it breaths some new life into the title, which should bring in some new readers, and it also kicks off a new story-line that will have those of us who have been reading the title since the beginning a bunch of questions that need answers – which of course will have us coming back next issue.  For this reason, Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man #1 earns an impressive 4 out of 5 Stars.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Wow, I had no idea Bendis hated MJ that much. ;p

    I’m not particularly pleased with the sudden shift to Gwen Stacy (especially with all the hullabaloo going on with Spidey’s love life in 616) but it makes me wonder if we’re not looking at a clone of Peter instead of the real thing. The pieces are there for a second Clone Wars with at least a couple of clones alive.

    If Stephen keeps reviewing this and there’s a reasonable explanation for the strange shift in romance (other than “the EiC likes Gwen better than MJ for Peter” ;p), I might check this out.

  2. I don’t know why but I got the feeling the new hero in town is either Gwen Stacy back to having a symbiote or Kitty Pryde, either way it sounded like a relatively young girl to me.

  3. Yeah, the Magna style is a big turn off.

    I’ll still pick it up… but I could see the art style so grating, that I drop the book. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  4. Soo I thought perhaps the new Character could be like Electro but he found some kinda junk from Dr.Stranges place or…. it’s Ultimate Dormamu with the hood or perhaps it is Ultimate The Hood ?

  5. William Parcell on

    So far I hate the random changes to the characters, the public likeing Spider-Man was one of the things that made Spider-Man 3 suck, and if I remember right Gwen told MJ during the Carnage story ark that she has no romantic feeling for perter and personaly I was thinking that she would end up dating the Human Torch since it looks like heel be playing a big role in Spider-Man’s life. And I realy wish they would have stuck with Imomen as the artist, I loved his art. If this book does not fix some of theese things then I am done with the book.

  6. Like most of the replies, I agree, the storyline is starting to look good but the art lets it down. Ultimate comic Avengers looks good and the story looks great. So why did Ultimate comics Spider-Man gone to a round face, “skinny kid” looking spiderman. I mean he looks like he’s 10 years old.

    So great comic over all, but the art needs to be tweaked.

  7. I kind of dig the new Gwen/Peter dynamic. It only took a hundred or so issues for it to happen. Before she ‘died’, Gwen kind of ran out of things to do, leaving her to hang out with Aunt May most of the time.

    I’m thinking Ultimate Prowler.


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