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Ultimate Spider-Man was a superhero comic book series that was published by Marvel Comics from 2000 to 2009. The series is a modernized re-imagining of Marvel's long-running Spider-Man comic book franchise as part of its Ultimate Marvel imprint. Ultimate Spider-Man exists alongside other revamped Marvel characters in Ultimate Marvel titles including Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and The Ultimates.

The protagonist of Ultimate Spider-Man is Peter Parker, a science whiz teenager who lives in Queens, New Yorkmarker. He is bitten by a genetically altered spider and inherits its powers, including enhanced strength, agility and reflexes. When an armed thief, whom Peter had a chance to stop earlier but didn't, kills his uncle Ben, he feels guilty and dedicates his life to fighting crime as the costumed vigilante Spider-Man. Peter tries to balance school, a job, a girlfriend, his family life with his widowed aunt May, and his activities as Spider-Man.

Ultimate Spider-Man first saw print in 2000 under veteran Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley and writer Brian Michael Bendis, who expanded the original 11-page origin story into a 180-page, seven issue story arc. This duo continued to collaborate until issue #111, when Mark Bagley left the book and was replaced by Stuart Immonen. Bendis and Bagley's run on Ultimate Spider-Man set the record for longest continual run on a Marvel Comics series by two people, an honor previously held by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on Fantastic Four.

History

Ultimate Spider-Man was the first series to be published in the Ultimate Marvel line. Publisher Bill Jemas wanted to reinvent the Marvel Universe because he felt that, with over 40 years of back-story, it had become inaccessible to new readers, and he wanted to start with a reinvented Spider-Man. Initially, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada was skeptical because 1998's Spider-Man: Chapter One, a previous attempt at re-envisioning Spider-Man's early adventures, had failed both critically and commercially.

Though Spider-Man's original origin story in Amazing Fantasy #15 was only 11 pages long, Bendis's retelling of Spider-Man's origin was seven issues long. Bagley was at first wary of Bendis' notoriously slow pace in advancing plot, describing it as a "real shock" at first. Previously, Jemas intended the comic to feature single-issue stories only, but Bendis chose to make each story roughly six issues long.

The first several issues were greeted with enthusiasm from fans and critics, sold well, and gave Ultimate Marvel a boost in credibility. After the release of Ultimate Spider-Man (along with Ultimate X-Men), Quesada and Jemas broadened the Ultimate Marvel line with The Ultimates and Ultimate Fantastic Four. Ultimate Spider-Man #1 was voted the "ninth-greatest Marvel Comic of All Time" in 2001 by readers of Wizard: The Guide to Comics. In addition to critical success, Ultimate Spider-Man grew to outsell the flagship Spider-Man title, Amazing Spider-Man. Bendis would later describe issue #13, in which Peter tells Mary Jane his secret identity, as his favorite issue because it showed the trust that the Marvel editorial had in him.

As the series progressed within the next two years, reception and sales stayed strong, helped by the fact that Bendis and Bagley quickly found chemistry and enjoyed working together. Over the years, many 'mainstream' characters were introduced, often with different origins, costumes, or personalities.

On August 16, 2006, Mark Bagley announced he would be leaving the book as of Ultimate Spider-Man #110. Bagley and writer Brian Michael Bendis had worked on the series together since it began. Artist Stuart Immonen, already familiar with the Ultimate Universe from his work on Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men, took over after Bagley. Issue #111, named "The Talk", featured Immonen's art for the first time. The issue was divided into two parts, with Bagley covering the art for one section, and Immonen doing the other. Issue #133 was the final issue of the series before a two-issue follow-up entitled Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem was released, revealing the status of the title's characters after the events of Ultimatum. Despite the book's apparent cancellation, in August 2009 Ultimate Spider-Man was relaunched as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, continuing to be written by Brian Michael Bendis and being drawn by David Lafuente, who provided the art for the third Ultimate Spider-Man Annual.

Further information on story arcs can be found in List of Ultimate Spider-Man story arcs

Characters

  • Peter Benjamin Parker/Spider-Man is a shy, intelligent high school student who lives in Forest Hills, Queensmarker, New York Citymarker, with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May Parker. He is fifteen years old when the series begins. On a science field trip to Osborn Industries, a genetically altered spider bites Peter. Instead of dying as expected, Peter begins to inherit various superhuman powers. During a fight at his school, Peter blocks a punch from Flash Thompson, and this thrust of the punch breaks Flash's hand. He earns money to pay off the resulting medical bill by wrestling professionally in a costume the promoters provide. A burglar Peter refuses to stop later kills his Uncle Ben. Wracked with guilt, he modifies his wrestling costume and dedicates his life to fighting crime. He manages to complete his father's research on adhesives, creating a formula used to create artificial webs. Peter tries to balance school, a job, a girlfriend, his Aunt May and his life as Spider-Man, which proves to be difficult.


  • May Parker is an independent woman in her 50s who works as a secretary and regularly sees a therapist to deal with the death of her husband Ben. May used to hate Spider-Man because she believed he had no regard for innocent bystanders and hid his face behind a mask. In Ultimate Spider-Man #99, she learns Peter's secret identity, something that initially makes her angry, but after some time she accepts it. Aunt May seems to be scared of the idea of Peter risking his life on a constant basis, but supports him anyway.
  • Ben Parker is Peter's intelligent uncle who is killed by a burglar early on in the series.
  • Mary Jane Watson is Peter's girlfriend and next-door neighbor. She is the first person Peter reveals his identity to, and the one who often fixes his costume and treats his injuries. Although Peter and Mary Jane love each other, Peter's life as Spider-Man is often a burden on their relationship. She was once transformed into a creature similar to Norman Osborn's Goblin and Harry Osborn's Hobgoblin, except for long red hair all over her body. She has apparently been cured of this condition by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
  • Harry Osborn is the troubled son of Norman Osborn. Having witnessed the accident that turned his father into the Green Goblin, he was trained by a psychiatrist to repress these memories. Disturbed by recurring images of his past, Harry develops his father's aide Shaw as a second personality, who serves as Harry's guide to becoming the Hobgoblin. After transforming into the Hobgoblin, Harry is defeated by S.H.I.E.L.D., much to the dismay of Peter. As the Hobgoblin, his powers are similar to the Green Goblin's. He is murdered by his father in Ultimate Spider-Man #117.
  • Peter works at the Daily Bugle newspaper as a web designer. His boss is J. Jonah Jameson, the editor-in-chief who hates Spider-Man and runs a smear campaign against him, which stems from the death of his son John. His most important employees are his right-hand man Robbie Robertson and Ben Urich, the Bugle's star reporter whose articles help take down the Kingpin. Betty Brant is one of the secretaries. Ned Leeds also works there.
  • Gwen Stacy is a street-wise girl who befriends Peter and Mary Jane. Mary Jane is initially jealous of Gwen for the time she spends with Peter, but Gwen ultimately reveals that she loves Peter only as a surrogate brother. Her father is NYPD Captain George Stacy. He is killed by a criminal in a Spider-Man suit, and she blames the real Spider-Man for his death because he became someone criminals could copy in order to hide their identities. Aunt May opens her and Peter's home to Gwen after her mother refuses to take her. While living with the Parkers, Gwen is killed by Carnage, which instills in Peter even more guilt. In Ultimate Spider-Man #98, Gwen Stacy appears again mysteriously, alive and well, and in Ultimate Spider-Man #100, she is revealed, in a hideous twist of fate to be the new Carnage, along with being a clone of the original. In Ultimate Spider-Man #128, the Carnage symbiote was absorbed back into Venom (Eddie Brock), and an examination of Gwen by Tony Stark reveals that Gwen is a 'molecular copy' and is essentially the real Gwen come back to life. The examination has also revealed no trace of the symbiote.
  • Liz Allan, Mary Jane's best friend, for the majority of the series she's mutant-phobic. It was recently revealed that she herself is a mutant, namely, Firestar. Peter revealed to Liz shortly after that he was Spider-Man.
  • Fred "Flash" Thompson A bully who torments Peter Parker, and apparently had a crush on Gwen Stacy.
  • Kenny "Kong" McFarlane, A former bully of Peter, who now has an on and off friendship with him. Initially a big fan of Spider-Man, Kong eventually figured out that Peter is secretly Spider-Man. He's in the early stages of a relationship with Kitty Pryde.
  • Kitty Pryde is a member of the X-Men who dates Peter after he breaks up with Mary Jane. As her identity is public, Kitty wears a green and yellow masked costume when she fights alongside Spider-Man to avoid giving away his identity. Their relationship is hard as they live quite far away from each other. Their relationship is silently torn apart when Kitty sees Peter kissing Mary Jane. In Ultimate Spider-Man #106, at the end of the issue, Kitty turns up as the new student at Midtown High, following her leaving the Xavier Institute in the wake of Professor Xavier's death.
  • The Black Cat, Felicia Hardy, blames her father's death on the Kingpin. Taking revenge, she steals a priceless artifact that he was going to use on his comatose wife. Hardy is interested in Spider-Man romantically, but in Ultimate Spider-Man #85, when she sees that he is a 15-year-old boy, she vomits on his costume out of embarrassment.
  • Nick Fury, the tough, powerful, and connected head of S.H.I.E.L.D., wants Peter to join The Ultimates when he is an adult. In Ultimate Spider-Man #27, he tells Peter that he becomes property of S.H.I.E.L.D. when he turns 18 whether he likes it or not, but later replies that he will work with the Ultimates when that happens. It is unknown whether Fury will hold on to his promise as the Ultimates have broken off from S.H.I.E.L.D. At the end of the "Hobgoblin" arc, he personally told one of his subordinates that he wanted everything figured out about OZ, and after witnessing him angrily responding to Harry becoming the Goblin, Fury says "I think it's about time Peter Parker loses those Spider powers". During the "Ultimate Clone Saga", it is revealed that Fury had the Tinkerer create the Spider Slayers that were created to 'handle' Peter if he lost it. After the "Ultimate Clone Saga", Nick Fury has become more supportive of Peter. However, in Ultimate Power, he was taken to another universe, removing him from Peter Parker's universe. He later returned during the events of Ultimatum, to finish off Magneto with the help of the the X-Men.
  • Dr. Curt Conners is a professor at Empire State University who sponsors Eddie Brock's Venom project. He tries to re-grow the arm he lost in the Vietnam War with lizard DNA, accidentally becoming the Lizard. Using a sample of Peter's blood, he inadvertently creates Carnage. Conners turns himself into the police afterward for his creation of Carnage, which resulted in the deaths of many people.
  • Jeanne De Wolfe was a captain in the NYPD. She offers support and comfort to Spider-Man whenever the strain of being a crime fighter becomes too much for him. She was secretly working for the Kingpin, and was rumored to have been his lover as well. The Punisher killed her in Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2.
  • Richard Parker Peter's late father. Part of the team that helped to create the Venom suit, along with Edward Brock Sr., he had problems with how the suit was going to be used. Recently, Richard resurfaced, allegedly back from the dead, claiming he did not get on the plane Peter had always heard his parents died in because he did not want involvement in the Venom project anymore. Since that time, he has been working as an underground scientist for the CIA to combat Nick Fury if and when he one day got out of control. After Gwen Stacy returns to the Parker's old house, he reappears to try to clear everything up. In Ultimate Spider-Man #103, Sue Storm tests Richard's DNA to confirm that he is really an aged clone of Peter. He is last seen in Ultimate Spider-Man #104 aging more rapidly and dying. Before he died from old age, "Richard" requested Sue Storm and the rest of the Fantastic Four to look after Peter.
  • Spider-Woman: In Ultimate Spider-Man #98, while investigating Mary-Jane Watson's disappearance, Spider-Man encounters a mysterious masked woman who knocks him unconscious. The character is able to shoot organic webbing out of her fingertips, without the need of web-shooters. During a panel discussion at the New York Comic-Con, writer Brian Michael Bendis mentioned that the Ultimate version of Spider-Woman would make an appearance during the "Ultimate Clone Saga", which ran in Ultimate Spider-Man #97 - 104. In Ultimate Spider-Man #102, she rescues Peter from being arrested, and reveals that she is Peter's female clone, called Jessica Drew, but still retained all of his memories. She leads Peter to an Oscorp building in an effort to find MJ, where they end up finding the truth about Peter's clones. Jessica also discovers, much to her disgust, that her creator is none other than Otto Octavius. Together, they manage to defeat him. However, whereas Peter is ready to turn himself in to Nick Fury, Jessica promptly leaves to escape incarceration. Peter eventually finds her again, who tells him she has finally decided to embrace her Jessica Drew identity. After Peter updates her on MJ, Nick Fury, and Aunt May, and she gives him "the most awkward hug in the history of the planet." In Ultimate Spider-Man #129, she made her public debut as a superhero.


Villains

  • Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, is the unscrupulous CEO of Oscorp, an industrialist and scientist. He develops an experimental drug called "OZ". After witnessing Peter's spider bite and seeing the resulting effects that OZ has on him, Osborn injects OZ into his body, and is changed into an insane, powerful monster. He has a physical structure similar to the Hulk's and has the ability to generate fireball projectiles from his hands. He is a scientific genius, especially in genetics. He is killed by Carol Danvers after he requested it, due to feelings of guilt over killing his own son.
  • Doctor Octopus, Dr. Otto Octavius, is one of Osborn's scientists and an industrial spy. He is described as "scary smart" by Harry. The four cybernetic arms he uses to manipulate hazardous matter were permanently melded to his flesh in the explosion that turns Osborn into the Green Goblin. During the "Ultimate Clone Saga", Doctor Octavius reveals that he played a huge role in the creation of the clones. Also during the saga, he reveals that he in fact controls metal, similar to Magneto, and does not need actual "arms," but he's gotten good at using "arms." He seems to appear more often than the other villains.
  • The Shocker, a common criminal named Herman Schultz, who wears devices on his hands that shoot sonic vibrations. He has no fighting skills and is nothing more than an annoyance to Spider-Man, whom he has fought against on at least five separate occasions.
  • R.H.I.N.O.: The man who wears the Rhino suit has appeared several times to battle both Spider-Man and Iron Man and has caused a lot of damage in the process.
  • The Kingpin: Wilson Fisk is the head of New York organized crime. Fisk's wife is in a coma. He carried on an affair with police officer Jeanne De Wolfe, who he used to control Spider-Man.
  • The Enforcers are a group of henchmen that includes "Mr. Big" Frederick Foswell, whip-wielding "Montana" Bale, strongman Bruno "Ox" Sanchez and gunslinger "Fancy Dan" Crenshaw.
  • Electro, one of the Kingpin's hit men, Max Dillon gained his powers from genetic tampering.
  • Sandman, Flint Marko gained the power to turn his body into a malleable sand-like material when he underwent genetic tampering.
  • Kraven The Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff, is the host of an action reality show. He wants to kill Spider-Man to boost his ratings. After his defeat, he tampers with his DNA to become a gruesome wolf-like monster.
  • Venom, Eddie Brock, Jr., is a university student who was Peter's childhood friend. He is the son of Peter's father's long-time collaborator on an experimental power-increasing symbiote named Venom. Eddie comes into contact with Venom and becomes a monster with similar powers. He has a cameo in Ultimates 3.
  • Lizard: Lizard is created after Dr. Curt Conners tampers with his DNA in a leap for science, but it has drastic results and the ferocious Lizard is born.
  • Carnage is a vampiric organism created when Dr. Curt Conners experiments on his own blood, Peter’s blood, and some of the material from the Venom creation. Needing to feed on others constantly to repair his damaged DNA, he kills Gwen Stacy. In Ultimate Spider-Man #100, an over-worked Gwen Stacy transforms into Carnage. It is later revealed that this Carnage was cloned by Ben Reilly and Doctor Octopus as part of a government super-soldier program and later escaped after awakening prematurely. In the War of the Symbiotes arc, Venom absorbs the Carnage symbiote. This Carnage was referred to as 'The Stacy Project'.
  • Hobgoblin; exposed to the OZ formula like his father, Harry Osborn became the Hobgoblin, who is orange-skinned and has the ability to produce fire. When he first transformed, he was much larger than his father's original form, however when he returns he in issue #116 he is much smaller. He is killed by the Green Goblin in Ultimate Spider-Man #117.
  • Silver Sable is a mercenary who leads a group called the Wild Pack. Sable had a troubled childhood, ignored by her father and abused by her alcoholic mother. Her father hunted Nazis, and she forgave him at his deathbed and decided to follow in his footsteps.
  • Vulture is a disgruntled former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent called Blackie Drago, who has been hired by Elijah Stern, the Tinkerer. Drago's mission is to kill Donald Roxxon.
  • Mysterio: a mysterious magician who can create special effects and illusions with his mind.


Powers and abilities

Spider-Man possesses superhuman strength (although noticeably weaker than his Mainstream counterpart), agility, reflexes and equilibrium, the ability to cling to most surfaces, and a sixth sense that warns him of impending danger. However, his spider-sense is not as accurate as 616 Spider-Man, as he cannot pinpoint the locations of attacks whereas the 616 version is able to. Peter is an accomplished scientist for his age. Spider-Man's wrist-mounted web-shooters discharge thin strands of web-fluid at high pressure. On contact with air, the long-chain polymer knits and forms an extremely tough, flexible fiber with extraordinary adhesive qualities.

Spider-Man is also immune to vampirism, a fact Morbius informs him of in issue 96. After Spider-Man is bitten by a vampire Morbius sniffs him saying "You've done something to your blood... Your blood cannot feed a night crawler the way normal humans' blood can."

Video games

Released September 23, 2005, the Ultimate Spider-Man video game focuses on the return of Venom three months after his fight with Spider-Man. This game is canonical, and its adaptation was made into the comic book, beginning with issue #123.

The game Spider-Man: Battle for New York uses the look of the Ultimate universe, but the back story more closely resembles the regular Marvel universe.

Bibliography

See also



References

External links




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