9.09.2009

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 / Power & Responsibility : 3 of 5

Although my comic book tastes seem to lean to the DC side, I still love Marvel characters, too. I've been wanting to take a look at the Ultimate Marvel series, where classic heroes are "updated" into today's world, and finding this seven issue collection of the rebooted Spider-Man on PaperBack Swap was the perfect opportunity! The original Spider-Man origin story that everyone knows was only a single issue, so it's nice to see this re-telling spread out with much more detail. Truthfully, I was expecting this new version to be much more different, but all of the significant plot elements remain intact. The small changes are still interesting, though - Peter Parker is only 15 years old, Mary Jane is brainy like Peter, and Uncle Ben has a ponytail (I guess that one wasn't too significant!). The biggest change is that Norman Osborn and the origin of the Green Goblin (who is much more of a monster in this universe) is directly linked to Peter's spider bite, since the spider is from an experiment with a drug called "Oz" that also becomes the agent to create the Green Goblin. The artwork is all excellent, especially during a long aerial fight with the Goblin, and I thought the storytelling was well done (Uncle Ben's power and responsibility speech was delivered with excellent subtlety). I liked the extra time spent on Peter's short wrestling career, as well as his interaction with the high school jocks, but in general the story still feels like classic Spider-Man, retold with better pacing and care. After reading this, I don't really have the urge to keep digging into this alternate reality, although I definitely won't hesitate to pick up more Ultimate Marvel titles on PaperBack Swap if I run across them!

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