Magnetoâ€™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.Â As Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man reboots with issue one, six months have passed in the Ultimate (Comics) universe, and things have changed…kinda.
The opening page is one big internal monologue as readers stare into the face of Peter Parker.Â Itâ€™s a brilliant page as readers new and old get a recap of what has happened using Brian Michael Bendisâ€™ 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.Â 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.Â 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.
Thatâ€™s right, I spoiled one of the key plot points of this issue, right there in the first paragraph.Â When Peter returns to the Parker residence at issueâ€™s end, Gwen and Peter start making out in Peterâ€™s room, with no mention of their new found love.Â 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.Â There are certainly going to be a lot of questions raised over this sudden romance switch, and those who pay careful attention to MJâ€™s appearance will see a bunch of sorrow in those eyes. Or maybe Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™t look to be around much, or if it is, it has gone online, as it appears Peter no longer works for the publisher.Â Instead, readers discover Parker working the most mundane of high school jobs – fast food.Â One can tell he doesnâ€™t care for it much, and the whole scene plays out like something from a 1980â€™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.Â The figure doesnâ€™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 donâ€™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.Â Itâ€™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.Â 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.Â i think it would have worked better to have the city still suffering the impact of Magnetoâ€™s attack.Â 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.Â For this reason, Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man #1 earns an impressive 4 out of 5 Stars.