(May contain spoilers, however this storyline is over a year old.)
I’ve been reading comic books for about 6-7 years, and during that time I’ve mostly read DC books. Superman, Batman, Justice League, and so on. During that time I picked up a few Marvel books, but only one shots or miniseries.
After a while, I started to get more Marvel books. in 2008 Amazing Spider-Man was at a point where new readers could jump in fairly easily (Brand New Day) and I took the jump.
However, there was a Spider-Man book that took place outside of the regular Marvel Universe, in the “Ultimate Universe” which launched in late 2000. I had read a few of those first books, as Marvel was playing with the idea of putting their comics online for people to read there. That didn’t last long, however.
I started to pick up some of the hardcover trades, but stopped when I got to volume 3 or so. Earlier this year I decided I wanted to get the rest of the hardcover trades (12 in all) and catch up on the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, especially in the wake of the death of Peter Parker and rise of the new Spider-Man.
After a few months, I had bought all of the hardcovers of the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, and all of the books in the second volume of Spider-Man featuring Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man.
Before I get into the new Spider-Man I want to put my thoughts on the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man (2000-2011).
In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker is a sophomore in high school when he was bitten by the radioactive spider, and remains a sophomore for the entire 11 year run. For comparison, in the regular Marvel Universe Peter Parker was bitten as a high school student, but is in his mid-to-late 20s, or very early 30s now (I can’t find a concrete age, but this seems to be the consensus online).
The first few years of Ultimate Comics was really good, and very entertaining, but Peter being a perpetual sophomore got old after a while and some story lines were reused, or felt wildly out of place. However, this could be because I read the entire 11 year run in a time of 2 or 3 months.
The series ended pretty strongly in my opinion. Spider-Man fighting Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, Vulture, Electro and Sandman, ultimately dying to protect Aunt May and Gwen Stacey.
This brings us to Miles Morales. He was bitten by a radioactive spider from Oscorp Industries, like Peter. However, this spider was different and gave Miles a few other powers that Peter did not have, such as invisibility and a venom strike.
While learning to use his new powers, he finds himself watching Spider-Man (Peter Parker) dying after defeating Green Goblin. This changes Miles’ mind about using his powers as he was reluctant to be a superhero prior to witnessing the death of the original Spider-Man.
His introduction was pretty strong, and it upset a lot of people in the Ultimate Universe seeing someone else dressed as Spider-Man so soon after Peter Parker died (the world found out his identity after he died), including the Ultimates (the Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers), Spider-Woman (a clone of Peter Parker). Later, Spider-Woman gave Miles the black and red uniform that he now wears (he was wearing a Halloween costume previously).
Miles’ story is a new take, and an interesting angle. He’s taking the mantle of a hero who, at first, people hated and were afraid of, but later grew to love (Peter always had a PR problem, no matter what universe he was in).
Miles, currently in middle school, was even younger than Peter was when he was bitten. Which will be interesting as most of the villains he will face will be at least double his age and probably triple his size (not that it matters since he has the proportional strength of a spider!).
Seeing as Miles is so young, they can tell some fresh stories, but I have a feeling it may get stale after a while, much like I felt it did with Peter as a 15 year-old for 11 years.
I hope I’m wrong, but only time will tell.
Another thing that I am curious/worried about is: will Peter Parker stay dead?
Comic book characters don’t have a good track record of staying dead. So, could Peter come back? Would they do that? How would this affect Miles’ Spider-Man?
The Spider-Men crossover book is probably going to be my top story of the year.
They held off from doing any kind of crossover between the two universes for 11 years, and while I had my doubts, it has been great so far.
The ending of issue 3 was pretty heartbreaking. I can’t wait to see how the series ends.