Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is written by Jonathan Hickman and published by Marvel. Artwork is by Marco Checchetto, colours by Matthew Wilson and letters by VC’s Cory Petit. Variant cover art (left) is by Ryan Stegman.
Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold. Grab your digital copy from Amazon Comixology right here.
THE NEW ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN FOR A NEW ULTIMATE UNIVERSE! Visionary writer Jonathan Hickman (HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X) and acclaimed artist Marco Checchetto (DAREDEVIL) bring you a bold new take on Spider-Man, with this, the debut title of the new line of Ultimate Comics! After the events of ULTIMATE INVASION, the world needs a hero…who will rise up to take on that responsibility? Prepare to be entangled in a web of mystery and excitement as the all-new ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comic redefines the wall-crawler for the 21st Century!
I can’t quite believe I’m typing these words. But almost a quarter-century after Marvel’s first Ultimate Spider-Man series the title is back and under the watchful gaze of writer Jonathan Hickman. As the publisher seeks to launch a new Ultimate universe the legendary Wallcrawler is ushering in the project’s first ongoing series.
A brand new #1 in a brand new universe gives Hickman carte blanche to create something wholly original. Without the weight of decades of storytelling on his shoulders, his first chapter of the story is certainly refreshing. Immediately apparent is a lack of immediacy when it comes to suiting up the now adult Peter Parker. It certainly seems like Marvel has allowed Hickman to work at his own pace, setting the scene in great detail before establishing his iconic super hero identity.
In a nutshell this new Ultimate universe arrives at the hands of The Maker, an evil version of Reed Richard’s from the original incarnation of the Ultimate world. The Maker travelled back in time and stopped Peter from being bitten by the radioactive spider in his teens. After successfully stopping Spider-Man from being created, The Maker set about stopping all heroes from existing. No, that doesn’t mean this world is a hellscape overrun by super villains. In fact, this version of Peter is living a very happy life with his wife, Mary Jane, and two young children. It’s a life which many fan has dreamed of for Peter. Right from the outset Hickman is making dreams come true.
Then there’s Uncle Ben. Not only is he still alive but he’s co-running The Daily Bugle alongside his apparent life-long friend J. Jonah Jameson. This one is a really interesting new status quo for Peter’s uncle. Particularly when the book factors in recent horrific events. Prior to this issue this version of Earth saw an attack which society has been duped in to believing happened at the hands of Tony Stark. But we know otherwise. With many dead it’s revealed in a huge twist to the Spider-Man mythos that May Parker was one of the victims. It puts a new spin of the grief which Peter feels. Having lost his parents we learn he grew up in a loving home, losing May only in the recent past.
All of this history is painstakingly established across Ultimate Spider-Man #1. Whilst there are a number of glimpses of other characters and the beginnings of a villain. The crux of this issue is about world building, something which Hickman has proven time and time again that he is capable of. As someone who struggles to follow mainstream Marvel continuity, this book was a refreshing change of pace. Similarly to how Brian Michael Bendis approached the book back in 2000, Hickman understands that Peter needs to exist as a protagonist almost as much as Spider-Man.
But no matter how settled this Peter is with domestic life, he’s always felt like something was missing. So in it’s climax, after an astoundingly well written heart-to-heart with MJ, Peter opens a mysterious objet which sets major events in motion.
Marco Checchetto and colourist Matthew Wilson are a dream team for Ultimate Spider-Man. Checchetto has done amazing work on Daredevil and so I was excited to see what he and Wilson could do with Spider-Man. All of the edge and grit that the pair brought to the Man Without Fear is here. The adult Peter retains some of the awkwardness of his teenage self, whilst MJ is every bit his equal. There’s also a wonderful family resemblance in their children.
Both artist and colourist brings a warmth and humanity to their characters which is completely in line with Hickman’s story. Checchetto has a fundamental ability to capture the personality of each character on the page. Whilst Wilson’s colour palette is significantly far removed from that of the mainstream universe. Together their work makes Ultimate Spider-Man #1 a compelling beginning to a brand new universe.
Exquisitely paced, elegantly written and beautifully rendered, Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is the Peter Parker book I’ve been waiting for.