June 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Noteworthy Issues: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-2 (January-February, 2024)

There's a new Spider-Man! And he's got some kids!

Marvel has a new Ultimate Universe.  This one is, well, different.  It’s not quite the same series, one where the stories of old were retold with more “modern” versions but…well, see below.

Issues:  Ultimate Spider-Man #1-2, January-February 2024

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Marco Checcetto

The Plot:  Peter Parker becomes a brand new Spider-Man on a world without heroes!

Commentary:  Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I did like the original Ultimate Universe, at least when it started.  Bendis and Bagley had a great run on a teenage Spider-Man, and while Millar’s work with the Ultimates and the X-Men were both over-the-top and about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the back of the head, I did enjoy them for what they were as the comic book equivalent of popcorn flicks.  Bringing in other creators didn’t help much, particularly writer Jeph Loeb who can’t do “edgy” very well, but those were fun comics.  But man, they were very similar to the originals from the main universe.

Meanwhile, Hickman’s launch mini-series presented an alternate universe where the Maker (the original Ultimate Reed Richards) basically made sure heroes didn’t rise on this world, and he set up a secret world government made up of various superhumans from different countries while actively preventing various heroes from getting their powers or becoming who they were meant to be.  This is a different setting with some familiar elements, but the real thing here is Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man…as an adult with a wife (Mary Jane) and two kids.  Young Tony Stark (Iron Lad because he’s still a kid) apparently saved the “origins” for three or so heroes that were blocked from getting their powers, and to that end, he sent the radioactive spider in a null time sphere for Peter to decide if he wants to be what he was always meant to be.  He obviously does, but that’s just part of what’s going on here.

The original Ultimate Spidey was a teenager, but this is a Spider-Man with a job and a family.  Does he tell MJ or the kids?  What about his Uncle Ben?  Yes, in this universe, Uncle Ben lived and Aunt May died, as did Norman Osborn.  J. Jonah Jameson is there, and Ben is his business partner in first the Bugle and then later a service of their own because they didn’t like taking orders from Bugle owner Wilson Fisk.  All this means is that Peter has a learning curve.  He notes he’s stronger and needs less sleep or food, but he also doesn’t know what he’s doing, not really, having a pair of embarrassing encounters with, of all people, the Shocker.

This story is basically a very human story for a new hero who won’t really be fixing the universe, but he may very well do the best he can.  But he also has to deal with when the best time to tell MJ is, what happens when his easily frightened daughter sees him in costume for the first time, and what exactly he’s supposed to do because he didn’t exactly get an owner’s manual.  Besides, I think there’s something to be said for a Spider-Man who maybe started down this path because of what may have been a mid-life crisis.

Grade:  A-