Ultimate Spidey

The first comic that I ever bought was Spider-man number 8 in March 1991.

I was hooked.

Spider-man always seemed to be a more “accessible” hero than the other “big-two” of Superman and Batman. Spider-man could be me. I wasn’t going to become an alien from a doomed planet, and my parents weren’t murdered billionaires, but hey, I MIGHT get bitten by a radioactive spider, right?

Though it’s been several years since I bought a proper comic book (I’ve switched over to waiting for TPBs for stories that interest me), I still enjoy a good story told in comic book form. Buffy Season 8, Y: The Last Man, among numerous one-shots (self-contained stories) all sit on my shelf and have been read more than once.

When I don’t feel like wrapping my mind around Plato’s The Republic or Melville’s Moby-Dick (or Chemistry 101… man that’s a chore to read), I’ll pick up a no-brainer novel or one of my trade paper-backs, more often than once, it’s been one of the Ultimate Spider-Man books.

I started Spider-man, as I said, in March of 1991 with the “Spider-man” title by Todd McFarlane. From there, I moved over to “Amazing Spider-Man” around issue 314 or so; I can’t recall exactly, but I backtracked to where McFarlane started doing the work beginning with 298, with 300 being the introduction of Venom at the height of his popularity, it was a small victory to obtain that issue.

(Wow, this post is dipping deep into the nerd-o-verse… brace yourself… it will get worse)

What totally threw me off Spider-man, and comics in general for a while, was a single story-line; The Clone Saga. Basically, for those who aren’t familiar with it (I would imagine that’s all of you) the writers decided to “reboot” Spidey by bringing in a clone of him going by the alias of Ben Reilly. I’m not going to go into depth here, but suffice to say, it was monumentally stupid and basically replaced Peter Parker as Spider-man with this new guy. After the Clone Saga DECIMATED sales numbers for Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker was eventually brought back as the web-slinger, but the damage was done. Various other wild things have been thrown at the title since then such as Uncle Ben being brought back from the dead, Aunt May dying after learning Peter is Spider-Man and Peter and Mary-Jane getting a divorce. I didn’t follow these by buying the comics, but watched them from a distance as the title just hit rock bottom then kept digging.

Spidey's got a tough life.

Then along came the Ultimate Universe.

The Ultimate Universe was another reboot attempt, but this time, for the entire Marvel Universe. Beginning with Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men, these titles ran with the original universe books, but allowed an entirely new and modern take on the classic heroes without upsetting the existing canon.

And they’re good. Really good. Especially the Ultimate Spider-Man title.

Venom vs Spidey

Instead of Peter being a 30-something married man, they brought him back to high-school, updated all his friends and created new origins for everybody. All the classic villains show up, usually very similar to the original universe versions, but with many twists. For example, Venom, instead of being an alien symbiote from space, was a failed experiment undertaken by Peter’s father for a cure for cancer.

The Clone Saga... done right.

They even re-did the clone saga with a few friendly digs at the previous version and it was not bad at all; I really loved this story arc, especially it’s introduction of the Ultimate universe Spider-Girl (woman?) character.


The series is very well written and drawn with various artists undertaking the tasks for different story arcs. It’s a very “clean-line” style, which I personally prefer over some of the grittier, looser styles that have become popular recently.

Recently, the Ultimate Universe underwent some big crossover event called “Ultimatum” which, as I was only focused on the Spider-Man books, kind of came out of nowhere. I didn’t really follow it as it occurred mainly in Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men, but from what I gather via Wikipedia, the entire Ultimate Universe was tossed on its head with many characters dying and all titles restarting from issue 1 under a new imprint called Ultimate Comics, including Spider-Man.

So Ultimate Spider-Man has 22 volumes. Each of them can be picked up in softcover for between $10-20 on Amazon.ca (cheaper if you go through the marketplace in some cases). I highly recommend them.

My favorite volumes were volume 1, Power and Responsibility, and volume 17, The Clone Saga.

Give them a go if you’re at all into comics or willing to give them a try. I’m currently chewing my way through Ultimate X-men, and though so far I’m not loving it as much as Spidey, it’s a decent funnybook as well… and hopefully it will help me understand this whole Ultimatum thing.