In an effort to make its heroes more accessible to a new audience, Marvel Comics launched its “Ultimate” line with Ultimate Spider-Man in October 2000. The concept is simple: the Ultimate titles—which soon included Ultimate X-Men and a Marvel Team-Up-style book entitled Ultimate Marvel: Spider-Man and…start from scratch. They reintroduce the classic Marvel super-heroes with new origins, new or tweaked looks, and refurbished supporting casts and allow readers to get in on the ground floor of a universe that is separate from Marvel’s long-running mainstream continuity.
Ultimate Spider-Man begins with “puny Peter Parker” at once suffering humiliation at the hands of high school bully Flash Thompson and his popular entourage and basking in the warmth of the love of his surrogate parents—his uncle and aunt, Ben and May Parker. While touring Osborn Industries on a class field trip, Peter is bitten by one of the medical research facility’s test specimens—a spider—and injected with an experimental drug called Oz that gives him super-powers that mirror the natural abilities of a spider. The spider-powers are both a blessing and a curse to Peter. They allow him to stand up for himself at school and to make money for his financially strapped household. But his newfound popularity at Midtown High and his growing fame as a masked professional wrestler called “The Amazing Spider-Man” cause him to lose sight of his priorities and lead to the tragedy that will be the most significant event in the young hero-to-be’s life.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis (Powers) and artist Mark Bagley (Thunderbolts) take Spider-Man back to his roots and make him relevant again in this inaugural series that looks to be an exciting line of Marvel Comics.