Published by Steven White

In October 2013 the comic was cancelled following declining sales, this was followed by the Ultimate universe wide event Cataclysm in which the main Marvel universe Galactus comes to earth to absorb it’s energy, Miles travels to the mainstream universe to find out how they can stop the world eating behemoth.

The comic was very well received, while originally it was hard to imagine a Spider-Man book without Parker, Bendis told stories that allowed the reader to connect with Morales and thoroughly enjoy the new character without leaning too heavily of the legacy of Parker. Pichelli created the look of the character by giving thought to his personality and background; she also designed a new costume for the wall crawler, a black with red webbing and red spider logo.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was launched in September 2011 and headed by writer Brian Michael Bendis with art originally supplied by Sara Pichelli. The series continued elements introduced in the Fallout miniseries and the newly introduced Mile Morales, chronicling his adventures and struggles with his powers. Morales is a teenager of black Hispanic descent and the team were commended for representing a slightly more urban Spider-Man whilst not leaning too heavily on the racial elements, he was apparently inspired in part by the US president Barack Obama and American actor Donald Glover (of the sublime Community, go watch it on Netflix now). 

One of the strongest elements of the Ultimate universe is that with a new continuity creators were allowed to give characters new personalities and a new look and also they were not bogged down by ret cons and too much history, a rule seemed to be that dead meant dead in this new series of comics (although some writers didn’t always stick to this).
Following the Death of Peter parker arc the Ultimate Universe was relaunched completely with the tagline “Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn” the titles that were relaunched were Ultimate Comics: X-Men, Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, a miniseries Ultimate Comics: Fallout that dealt with the ramifications of the death of Peter Parker and finally Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.

Over the first two years reception and sales were very strong and the stories and artwork were consistently some of the best being published, there appeared to a strong partnership in Bendis and Bagley, many characters were introduced over the course of the publications history often with different origins, personalities and costumes.

Bagley left the title after issue 110 marking one of the longest runs by a writer and artist in Marvels history. The series ended with issue 133 followed closely by a two part tie in to the Ultimatum event. Though the series appeared to be cancelled it relaunched with art by David Lafuente, this was a fairly short lived relaunch as the comic book resumed the original numbering with issue 16 (150 in the old numbering) and continued through to issue 160, closing down with the incredible Death of Peter Park arc. 

The slow pace was alarming to the books first and long serving artist Mark Bagley, saying in an interview that the pace of the first 3-4 issues was slow and he was unsure what Brian was going for, originally he intended to stay on for six issues only Bagley was soon enticed to stay by the reception to the book. Bagley was known previously for his work on Amazing Spider-Man so had already had some experiences with the character but commented that he enjoyed being able to draw “real people” in the new comic as it took the focus away from masks.

The busy and talented but still reasonable unknown in the mainstream Brian Michael Bendis was the books first and only writer for the 15 year publication history. Bendis took the 11 page origin story from Amazing Fantasy #15 and adapted it into a seven issue story arc, with Peter Parker finally becoming the titular hero in issue 5.

The Ultimate Marvel line began with Ultimate Spider-Man, with 40 year of back-story published Bill Jemas felt that Spider-Man had become inaccessible to new readers and want to start again with a new version of the wall crawler. The critical and sales failure of Spider-Man: Chapter One from 1998 led Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada to be sceptical of the project.

The release of the comic Secret Wars this year will bring with it the end of Marvel Comics imprint Ultimate Comics or Ultimate Marvel after 15 years of publication history, with this news it felt appropriate to take a look at the beginnings of the Ultimate universe by looking at its first title and the one that paved the way for the rest Ultimate Spider-Man.



Miles Morales second solo series titled Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man deals with a living breathing Peter Parker (though no explanation has yet been given to how this is) who does not intend to return to his former life a superhero, the two team up to finally put an end to Norman Osborn who was responsible for the death of Parker in the original series closing. 

The current series is due to end with issue 12 and will be followed by Ultimate End which will be part of the Secret Wars story event. Ultimate End will be written by Bendis with art by Bagley, the two creators who originally launched the Ultimate universe. Following the conclusion of Secret Wars the Ultimate universe will merge with other alternate universes, following this Miles will become a member of the titular team of the new comic All-New, All-Different Avengers.

I hope this has helped to catch you up on the rough history of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic, join me in part two for a more in depth look along with reviews of some of my personal favourite arcs from the comics 15 year history.