Monday, August 27, 2012

Ultimate Spider-Man

I decided that because it is Spidey's 50th birthday that I would tackle the whole story of Ultimate Peter Parker and get to know Miles Morales and see if he should even attempt to wear the webbed tights that I have grown to love over my 27 years on this planet. I want to warn now that if you intend to read this series I am writing about the story as a whole and I will have spoilers within. If you don't want to read the whole series and want to learn why Miles Morales is Spider-Man, this should catch you up!

I want to start by saying that I started reading Ultimate Spider-Man when it came out in 2000 and read it relatively consistently through the Carnage saga that ended is 2004. I loved the comic then but was unable to afford issues and really didn't have the time to read it anymore. Flashfoward to now, I was able to acquire all 160 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man as well as the Ultimate Six series and Ultimate Team-Ups which covers all of Pete's run. I decided to start from the beginning to refresh myself on the storyline and definitely did not regret it.

Brian Michael Bendis weaved pure art in this series. We see a high school student who is definitely not popular, not sure of himself and constantly picked up develop into an actual superhero. He gets bit by a spider like any other version of Peter Parker and starts to fight crime after his uncle Ben is killed but something feels different. I am not sure if it is his personality or the ridiculous jokes he tells but it is hard to not attach to him as a reader.

Once I finally got past the Carnage stuff that I remembered for the most part, I saw how much Peter grew after the death of Gwen Stacy in this world. He learns to deal with the problems of being Spider-Man while trying to not be Spider-Man anymore. This leads to some great fights and moment of Peter trying to protect people he loves and even people he doesn't even know.

If you read anything in the Ultimate Universe, you may remember Magneto flooding the Earth. In the series called Ultimatum, we see Peter helping people even with the world crumbling around him and are even led to believe that he is killed until in Requiem where Captain America unburies him from rubble.

After a short time-lapse we see Peter, alive and well, dating Gwen Stacy (who was freed from Carnage and her "death") and fighting crime. We also see, for the first time really, everyone in New York cheering Spider-Man on. The story continues with solid moments with Mysterio and flashes of Norman Osborn ready to strike. Peter even celebrates his birthday (16) which shows that at most a year has passed since he was bit by a spider and he gets back together with MJ. This is when things go completely to crap.

Osborn comes back, there is a war going on between superheros and Spider-Man gets shot trying to protect Captain America from The Punisher. Spider-Man, after waking with a bullet wound, decides to go to the hospital but sees Norman Osborn and the rest of the Ultimate Six fly toward his home. Spidey arrives just in time to see Iceman and The Human Torch (who were living with him...I left that out) being beaten down by Osborn and Co. He intervenes, injured and bleeding to death and is ultimately able to protect everyone. Aunt May and Gwen Stacy reappear right toward the end of the fight after fleeing to see Peter bleed to death on the ground. He dies with a smile on his face saying that he was successful because he was able to protect May and Gwen after he had failed Ben. It was incredibly moving and it brought tears to my eyes. May lost Ben, Gwen's father, Gwen briefly and now Peter.

Rewind a little to a thief stealing some stuff from OsCorp. It seems that Norman was trying to recreate the spider that bit Peter so that he could make more Spider-Men or even to make himself stronger. One of these spiders crawled in the thief's bag and ended up in his apartment. This thief ends up being Aaron Davis who is Miles Morales' uncle and the spider bites Miles while he is visiting him.

Miles quickly learns of his Spider Powers which are slightly different from Peter's. He can stick to walls and has a spider sense but can also use a spider venom which shocks his opponent and can also turn invisible. This has been utilized a lot in the series and is interesting to watch. As of right now, Miles does not have any form of webbing but I am convinced he may be getting web shooters from Aunt May in the next issue....

Miles has obviously had run-ins with a few people who had contacts witht he original Spider-Man such as Aunt May and Gwen Stacy. They are currently meeting with him. Also, he has met Spider-Woman and Nick Fury. Miles is still trying to find himself as a hero.

All in all I am very excited for Miles. He makes jokes much like Peter but is a character all in his own. He is younger than Peter and also goes to a charter school which makes it harder for him to sneak out and be Spider-Man. I went into these comics completely unsure but now am waiting anxiously for issue #14.

I love the Ultimate Universe and Brian Michael Bendis helped remind me why I love Spider-Man so much. Nearly every issue ended with me smiling and makes me want more. I currently have Spider-Men waiting to be read once issue #5 is released so I can get read it all in one fell swoop.

I just want to close by saying one thing that I don't think I have stated yet. Happy Birthday Spider-Man, I look forward to at least another 50 years with your antics and selflessness. There is a reason you are my favorite superhero.

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