Ultimate Spider-Man Review

Over the past couple months I’ve been reading Ultimate Spider-Man (2000-2011) and I finally finished today with Ultimate Comics: Fallout. Here are thoughts now that I’ve finished:

Spoiler-Free Thoughts

I was surprised by how much I loved this comic. It took me a while to get into the first volume, but I soon got into the groove of it. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley made a great duo, and it shows through hundreds of well crafted stories. Bendis’ writing is on point, not only writing good individual arcs, but also telling a story throughout the whole series. US also benefited from 40 years of previous Spider-Man stories, and he was able to take what worked and what didn’t work to write something awesome.

And Mark Bagley’s art is great as well. Eventually he leaves the series, so the artwork has its up and downs after that, but it’s still good. There was a lot of impressive visual story telling in U.S., which is always a plus in a comic.

As for the characters, I love this version of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. We really see how the two of them develop over time as they go through so much, and they’re just so damn likeable. This applies to most of the other characters that appear throughout.

But the real benefit of this series is how it’s more accessible to a modern audience. Ultimate Marvel was launched in 2000 as a way to bring Marvel characters into the 20th century, and U.S. does this very well. The writing, artwork, setting, and number of issues make it far easier for a modern reader like me to dive in.

So those are my general thoughts on Ultimate Spider-Man. I cannot recommend this series enough, so please go read it if you never have. All issues are on Marvel Unlimited, and if you need extra motivation, the Ultimate Universe eventually introduces Miles Morales, who appeared in Last years’ Into the Spider-Verse.

Here’s a reading order I’ve been using that you may find helpful:

SPOILER THOUGHTS!!!! (read at your own discretion)

So there are a few things I want to talk about that have to include spoilers. One is the timeline for Ultimate Spider-Man. I admit this is a personal nitpick when it comes to entertainment, but I always find it hard to believe that so much important stuff can happen in such a short amount of time.

Peter Parker is 15 at the start of the series, and the series ends shortly after his 16th birthday, meaning the whole series takes place over about a year. However, there were a few things throughout the series to suggest that more time has past, as I think I remember a time card saying it had been 9 months since the start of the series at one point. There’s also a 6 month time jump after Ultimatum, and Peter calls says that he’s 16 before he turns 16, so naturally all this creates some confusion. As of right now, though, it seems that the series takes place over a year, and we only see 6 months of it.

Granted, I read this series in two months, and issues in each volume take place relatively close to each other, so it probably could fit within a year. This also isn’t a fully realistic world, so a lot of stuff could happen in a short amount of time. Like I said, it’s just a nitpick I always have.

The other spoiler is the death of Spider-Man. Obviously I knew this was coming because I knew this is the comic Miles Morales appears in, but I still dreaded it. However, in terms of execution, I thought it was done well, and it kind of made sense from a story perspective.

Peter Parker feels that he let Uncle Ben die because he refused to stop the burglar that would later kill Ben. Peter did nothing because he thought it wasn’t his problem, and Uncle Ben was shot because of it.

But in the final issues of U.S. Peter Parker sees Captain America about to be shot by the Punisher. Peter didn’t have to save him, since he was busy fighting the Sinister Six, but he chose to intervene and take the bullet for Captain America. The wound would later lead to Peter’s death.

So originally Ben died from a bullet because Peter didn’t intervene, and now Peter dies of a bullet because he did intervene. And while he couldn’t save Ben, he did save Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane, so Peter at least died knowing that. While tragic, this event brings Peter’s story full circle.


So those are my thoughts on Ultimate Spider-Man. I’ll now be moving on to Miles Morales, which is what got me to read this series in the first place.

But what do you guys think of Ultimate Spider-Man? Whatever it is feel free to share your thoughts.

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