Waaaay back in 2000, Marvel launched a new line of comics focusing on some of their more popular characters set within an alternate universe where anything could happen. Their flagship title, naturally, was Ultimate Spider-Man; and from there the universe continued to expand (and in some cases significantly contract) as scenarios played out without any concern for longstanding repercussions.
It was exciting; it was new and readers really didn’t have a clue what was coming next. 11 years later Peter Parker met his heroic demise, kicking off a new era with a new Spider-Man; this time with high school student Miles Morales at the helm. And this is where we begin…
Admittedly, I like my Spider-Mans to be Peter Parkery; and while I tried to stay on board with Dan Slott’s current Superior Spider-Man arc (spoiler: Spider-Man is NOT Peter Parker there), I struggled to invest in the character I’ve read for thirty-plus years. I’m old school; there, I said it. Luckily, this being an alternate universe, I was able to push my stubbornness aside and plow through.
The introduction starts not with our titular hero, but with Norman Osborn in a flashback/set up in all his maniacal glory as writer Brian Michael Bendis presents Osborn as a powder keg that could go off as easily as the winds change. This is Osborn’s only appearance in the first five issues; here’s hoping Bendis writes more of him as I continue on with the series. Okay…enough of my Norman crush; as for the rest? Pretty solid storytelling and beautiful art through and through.
Bendis shows us Morales’ small world and even smaller cast of supporting characters; just enough to give the reader a fairly good grasp of what makes this kid tick and what’s important to him. Artist Sarah Pichelli slams her stamp all over these pages with layouts that are every bit as frenetic as her action sequences are. I’ve quickly become a fan of her work; her choices for perspective are spot on and her use of the characters’ various states of body language practically tell the story on their own. This is my bag, baby.
Whether you’re experienced in the Ultimate Universe or were thinking about giving it a shot, I’d recommend that this is a perfect jumping on point; not just for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, but for the other concurrently running series as well (both of which I will tackle soon enough). Happy reading, sound off when you do and above all else, stay classy.