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This page is for the comic and video game. For the western animated series, see here

Ultimate Spider-Man, comic series

  • Anticlimax Boss: Kraven the Hunter. He's built up as a highly skilled warrior who decided to take down Spider-Man. Peter isn't even remotely interested in fighting him (he'd just beaten Doctor Octopus at the time) but when Kraven insists, Peter simply dodges a few times then knocks him out with a single blow. Instantly lampshaded by Spider-Man.
    Peter: Huh. I thought he had super powers or something. Showbiz phony.
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  • Arc Fatigue: Many felt that the Double Trouble Doc Ock/Kraven the Hunter arc ran too long. For newer readers, this can be applied to the entire series: Brian Bendis's Signature Style of decompressed storytelling, while new and groundbreaking when the series debuted (to the point of being copied and imitated by just about everyone in the following decade), has since come under greater scrutiny from the comic reading public, if not fallen out of favor completely. As such, many of the storylines can come off as slow or padded by modern standards.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Ultimate Spider-Man greatly inspired some of the tropes in later Spider-Man adaptations and stories:
    • Unlike the original Earth-616 Spider-Man from the Mainstream universe (who was asocial and came from a Friendless Background during his teenage years), Ultimate Spider-Man has a confidant in Mary-Jane with whom he shares his secret identity, his worries, and who also serves as backup. This setup came into movies such as Spiderman Homecoming where Ned Lee (based on Ultimate Ganke) serves as Peter's "guy in the chair".
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    • Peter's role in the wider superhero community, being seen as Just a Kid, being underestimated by them yet getting mixed messages about how he's a Future Badass, was also incorporated into later adaptations, especially Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was never really the case with the classic Spider-Man who spent the majority of his time as a post-teenage adult superhero.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Kitty Pryde, who is either considered a welcome addition to the cast, or Bendis' own Creator's Favorite Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
  • Broken Base:
    • Miles' Venom Sting, which allows him to end most fight relatively quickly. Some like the distinction of his powers from Peter's while others feel that Bendis has used it as a crutch far too often.
    • Spider-Men, the crossover between the 616 & Ultimate universes to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man's first appearance — is it a great idea, or yet another case of Quesada dropping the ball, given his previous comments on the matter of a 616/Ultimate universe crossover. Is it too soon to have Miles meet 616!Peter since the former is still finding his feet as a superhero, or just a wasted idea since it comes the year after Ultimate Peter was killed and shortly before 616!Peter is as well? The latter in particular, as it completely dropped the plotline going through the end of "Men".
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  • Critical Research Failure: In issue 58, Bendis uses Portuguese for the Brazilian characters. While the translation is fine, there is a minor mistake. In Portuguese "Capitão" is the male word for "captain". Since the captain is a woman, it should be "capitã"
  • Designated Villain: Kingpin, in the first Black Cat arc. As things turn out, he had hired Elektra to retrieve an ancient tablet, that he had legally adquired, and that Felicia Hardy stole. He only intended to use it to wake up his wife Vanesa, who is in a coma.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: They do not allow you to fight in MMA contests because you are a minor? Jump in there and fight anyway! Or better not, things will not end well...
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Gwen Stacy. So much so they eventually brought her back and more or less said that even if she's a clone she's the same Gwen as before.
    • Jessica Drew is easily one of these, having minimal screen-time but a huge fanbase.
    • Kong.
    • Miles' supporting cast is getting popular, such as Ganke and Rio Morales.
  • Fanfic Fuel: In the first issue, Parker tosses away the spider after being bitten... and it lands on the chest of Mary Jane. Just one more second, and it could have bitten her as well.
  • Foe Yay: During the "Return of the Green Goblin" arc, we get to look at things through Norman's eyes during a conversation with Spider-Man. The voices in his head tell him things like "kill him" "skin him" "burn him" and "kiss him".
  • Franchise Original Sin: Many of the changes and issues people have had with Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Series, Spider-Man: Homecoming and other adaptations can actually be traced to them taking influences from Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • The entire Richard Parker Myth Arc in the Andrew Garfield films was disliked by fans for taking focus away from Spider-Man's actual superhero journey, and for some taking away his everyman Self-Made Man status by making him the special son of genius parents. Ultimate Spider-Man actually introduced the concept and theme. Peter's web-fluid was based on an incomplete formula by his father which he completed and Richard Parker was also the co-creator of the Venom Suit. It worked in Bendis' story because the comic only dealt with the backstory in a few stories, and tying Richard Parker to Venom made the latter more grounded than the alien origins in 616 as compared to the Amazing movies where Richard Parker's story is connected to the Osborns, and is tied to everything in Peter's life. Likewise, the comics repeatedly emphasize that Uncle Ben and Aunt May are Peter's true guardians and primary parental figures whereas the films downplay the latter in favor of his parents owing to the limited screentime in the film medium.
    • Some fans disliked Homecoming for making Peter Iron-Man's sidekick and for the MCU transforming the regular Spider-Man story and setting to better tie Peter's story to Tony Stark, feeling that it marked the point where Spider-Man the original teenage non-sidekick hero became the complete opposite of his original conception. This can also be traced to Ultimate Spider-Man where eventually Peter realizes that he's being groomed by Nick Fury and SHIELD into a future member of the Ultimates and like the MCU he is constantly dismissed as Just a Kid by both villains and heroes. What made it work in Ultimate Spider-Man was that this dynamic only came in gradually. Originally Peter's story and adventure was just like his classic 616 self, being independent, self-contained, and tied to his everyday life, and his dynamic with Fury only emphasized his loner nature (owing also to the fact that he was himself ambivalent about Fury and the Ultimates, owing to the general jerkiness of the latter) whereas in Homecoming, Peter latches on to Tony as a Parental Substitute Uncle Pennybags which struck fans as a drastic change to Peter's story and characterization.
  • Harsher in Hindsight
    • Back in the early nineties, one of the most famous songs by Italian band 883note  was titled "Hanno Ucciso L'Uomo Ragno", which is Italian for "They Killed Spider-Man". Fast-forward by twenty-years-or-so.
    • In "Cats and Queens", the focus of MJ's story was her wanting to run away from home so she and Peter could be married, with him saying he'll always be there for her. Also in the same arc, Black Cat tells him he'll have seven years bad luck. This was in 2004...
      • Similarly, every time the subject of sex came up between Peter and MJ, they resolve to "wait until they're older".
    • At July 2005's San Diego Comic Con, in response to the question the Ultimate & 616 universes crossing over, Joe Quesada stated that he'd rather close down one universe than have them cross over because it meant they were officially out of ideas. Fast forward to 2012, and Marvel announced that they will be having 616!Peter crossing over to the Ultimate universe to meet Miles.
    • Every discussion anyone ever has about Peter's future now that we know his eventual fate. And then shot to pieces after the reveal that he came back to life.
    • Early in 2003, the original Venom arc was published, which revealed in the Ultimate universe, the Venom suit was originally developed as a means to cure cancer. Fall of the same year, Paul Jenkins's first arc on the second volume of Spectacular Spider-Man revealed that one of the reasons the Venom symbiote was drawn to mainline!Eddie was because he had cancer.
    • If we consider everything that happened later, perhaps the Parkers should have sued the pants off Oscorp for the spider incident of the first issue.
    • In issue #13, MJ asks Peter why he doesn't go public with his secret identity. Peter says that this would have negative consequences for his loved ones, specifically asking what could happen if a man like the Kingpin knew his secret identity. About that...
    • In issue #88, Kitty Pryde tells Peter that it's not the time to tell the big secret to aunt May. He asks "When will it be time? When a SWAT team comes baring through my ceiling and arrest me?". Let's fast forward and check was everything going on when did May discovered the truth... Oh, Crap!.
  • Ho Yay: Apparently Miles and Ganke gave this off to Miles' parents...not that they mind. Doubles as Mistaken for Gay.
    Jefferson [after talking with Miles about his relationship with Kate Bishop]: Good to hear. For a while there I thought you and the Gankster had a thing going.
    Miles: What?!
    Jefferson: Frankly, your mother thought that years before—
    Miles: Mom thought that Ganke and I were...together?
    Jefferson: Nothing wrong with—
    Miles: Ew.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • A small detail, but in the 2004 "Hollywood" arc, when Peter fights Doc Ock on the set of a new Spider-Man movie, a black stuntman in a Spidey outfit hits Doc Ock with a camera. When he tells Spidey that he's just a stuntman, not the actor playing him, Peter says "I thought I got revamped there for a second..."
    • In one of the first issues, a photo can be seen that shows a young Peter with his aunt and uncle at Disney World. This was many years before Disney actually purchased Marvel Comics.
  • It Was His Sled
    • In the first issues uncle Ben is not a mere one-note guy who dies, but gets actual character development. Does this mean that they will keep him around? Nope. He eventually dies, just like the original. Not immediately, but soon.
    • Peter has a sudden pain in the wrists while trying his powers. Does this mean that he will have natural webbings? No: he made his own web shooters some episodes later.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The series at times reuses plotlines and ideas from the original even when they have become The Artifact. A good example is Ultimate Gwen Stacy. The original reason why 616!Gwen was fridged was precisely because she was a bland Love Interest and that it was only her death that made her interesting. Ultimate Gwen Stacy having a more interesting look and personality, and likewise not being Peter's Love Interest at the time of her death, and Mary-Jane being the love of Peter's life from the start, renders the entire purpose for her fridging non-existent. As such the arc where Carnage kills Gwen is more or less marking The Stations of the Canon and adding drama and tragedy to Peter's life, and of course when they returned Gwen back to life anyway, via a clone (who is both a clone and yet as good as the real thing), it made that entire issue pointless.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Averted, considering the one involved is the title character. Though eventually both Gwen Stacy and Peter came Back from the Dead anyway.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Kingpin, he makes Lex Luthor look like a chump. For example - he bought out the wrestling company that Spider-Man made his first few public appearances for prior to becoming a superhero, purely so that he could make money over Spider-Man's likeness & knowing that Spidey's choices were A) quit being Spider-Man, allowing his profile to fall & kill off the demand for Spidey merchandise so Fisk couldn't profit from him, but at the cost of being unable to stop his operations; B) publicly unmask to claim ownership of the Spider-Man likeness & stop Fisk from merchandising it, but making his loved ones targets for Kingpin; or C) let him get away with it. Fisk even points out that if Peter quits, he'll just hire a new Spider-Man to make sure that people still want to pay for Spidey merch.
  • Narm:
    • The final issue of Fallout ends with Nick Fury confessing to MJ how he feels responsible for Peter's death. In the middle of it, he admits he had been "grooming" Peter to be a super-hero. Not the best choice of words, given the unpleasant other connotations that word has in the twenty-first century.
    • In the middle of his long rant at Miles and Spider-Woman, Roxxon randomly yells "childcare" for no readily apparent reason.
  • No Yay: Bendis played up the Like Brother and Sister angle with Peter and Gwen so much that this was the reaction when they finally did hook up, it was given an in-universe Lampshade Hanging by MJ in bitter-hysterical-ex mode.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This was actually the second attempt by Marvel to reboot Spider-Man after the Dork Age of The Clone Saga. The first one was Spider-Man: Chapter One (in 1998-1999, about a year before this one) but it was poorly received and was nowhere near the success of Ultimate Spider-Man, mostly because it was a remake of Lee-Ditko's Spider-Man with the same plots and designs which many saw as an attempt to replace the imperishable classics whereas Ultimate Spider-Man really was a Setting Update and retelling with new takes on the classic characters. Many of the plot ideas and concepts from Chapter One were reused however such as Norman Osborn and Green Goblin being the Greater-Scope Villain connected to all the villains.
    • On the flip-side, something many younger fans and others also make a mistake, but since Ultimate Spider-Man was new and on the shelves when Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy came out, many have claimed, owing to similarities that it was some kind of movie-inspired tie-in. In fact the comics were published in 2000 (and of course given the time it takes to write and draw a comic, and several issues worth, it was in production in 1999), whereas the first movie came out in 2002, and Bendis' comics inspired the film for some details (and Bendis himself was invited to make contributions and suggestions though he admits little of it was accepted).
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Who made a better girlfriend for Ultimate Peter; Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, or Kitty Pryde. Have a lot of fun with that conversation, though the comics make it clear that it was always Peter and MJ from the start.
  • Signature Scene: Quite a bit:
    • As always, Uncle Ben's death.
    • Spider-Man's first confrontation and victory over Kingpin particularly when he figures out how to bust him, and when he claims victory by making fat jokes at him by literally reading it off a list.
    • Issue 13, "Confessions", where Peter tells MJ his identity and they immediately become a couple is considered the single best issue of the entire run.
    • The Ultimate Clone Saga, especially when Spider-Woman unmasks to reveal Jessica Drew as Peter's female clone making it awkward for both of them.
    • In the final issues of the "Ultimatum" tie in, where Manhattan has flooded many multi-storey buildings and entire high-windowed offices become aquariums, the scene where Jonah gazes out the window to see Spider-Man dive in underwater and save people is quite memorable.
    • The Death of Spider-Man of course has many scenes, but special ones include Peter Taking the Bullet for Captain America with Steve cradling him and insisting that he will be "the best one of us all" and the Shout-Out to The Death of Superman where MJ holds Peter's dead body.
    • From "Ultimate Fallout", Miles Morales' grand debut, complete with many people saying his outfit is "in bad taste" and then unmasking to reveal his face, confirming that yes a new star is born.
  • Tear Jerker: The first Fallout issue is this for pretty much every page.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans feel this way about the series. 'Tis a retelling though, so you can't win 'em all.
    • The main dislike is that Bendis took "teenage" Spider-Man to mean "incompetent" and that Ultimate Spider-Man gets unmasked all the time, not only to major villains like the Goblin but also minor random characters like Silver Sable. By comparison, 616!Peter went through his original high school arc (a mere 28 issues) with no one deciphering his secret and then later with only the Goblin knowing it albeit between spates of amnesia. Spider-Man was so competent that when Green Goblin finally unmasked him in OTL, he was shocked that Peter was Just a Kid since he was certain he was an Experienced Protagonist. The overall effect goes from Batman turning out to be as young as Robin, to Robin trying to be Batman and failing.
    • Some fans disliked the changes to villains. Norman Osborn becoming a giant goblin monster who can throw fireballs was a neat concept in theory but in effect it made him more of a Hulk or Captain America villain than a Spider-Man one, and also made him too similar to Curt Connors (i.e. scientist who turns evil by transformation).
    • The radical change to Venom in the Ultimate story was liked by some since it tied him into Spider-Man's mythos more easily than the alien-origin symbiote of 616, but the overall emphasis on Richard Parker as part of its Myth Arc and making Eddie Brock into Peter's childhood friend was seen as going a step too far since it dampened Peter's everyman appeal by making him the son of a genius scientist. The adaptation of this story in The Amazing Spider-Man Series was heavily criticized by many for this specific reason, since it overemphasized Richard Parker at the expense of Uncle Ben, who for most has to be Peter's real dad for the story to work.
    • Played straight with the transition from Ultimate Spider-Man to Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. The change of artist and shake up of status quo has resulted in a more Broken Base. The second transition to an entirely new main character was less so.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Having Spider-Man undergo training from the Ultimates to become a better hero was an interesting idea...that was introduced just before volume three. For what it's worth, that ended up being the basis of the otherwise unrelated cartoon. So presumably someone in development agreed.
    • Peter coming back from the dead, since nothing ever came of it, and the entire ultimate universe got blown up a few months later anyway. The idea of Peter and MJ eloping and going underground and presumably having crazy adventures on their own, has a lot of potential but now that's just gone. Although, the story Spider-Men 2, reveals that this universe is alive and well again.
    • The concept of Peter as essentially The Leader of his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (such as Johnny Storm, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Jessica Drew) set up in Vol. 2 in the Post-Ultimatum era was a pretty cool idea, with many seeing it as a chance for Spider-Man to come into his own and become a Marvel-wide superhero in the manner that he has never been able to do in the main continuity. Unfortunately, Bendis and others keeps Peter in Small Steps Hero mode and the concept breaks down in the "Death of Spider-Man" arc with the band breaking up and going homeless in the wake of Peter's death.
  • Too Cool to Live
    • Uncle Ben
    • Peter Parker
    • Rio Morales
      • Though in the latter two cases, they actually did come back.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Mary Jane was on the receiving end of one via Liz Allen in one story, which involves wearing incredibly skimpy clothing and dying her hair black. Said arc wasn't very popular. MJ herself even hates it, and quickly ditches it the first chance she gets.
  • What an Idiot!
    • Eddie Brock Junior gets major points here. After being told by Peter that their fathers' life's work is actually dangerous in the extreme, and that Peter, a guy with superpowers, barely survived using it for a few hours at most, Eddie decides the best thing to do is get the other sample he had hidden, and stick his fingers in it. And as a result he ends up stuck in a living nightmare, hunted by a megacorp with an unrelenting hunger driving him to eat people.
    • Kraven, who does not have any powers, taunted Spider-Man for a fight, insisted after his initial refusal, and that ended just as you would expect. So he gets an illegal treatment to get actual super strength, and announces in a TV interview that he'll hunt Spider-Man again. He had barely ended the interview, that the Ultimates are already there to detain him for illegally mutating himself.
    • Harry Osbourne saw his father experiment on himself, and blew up Oscorp. His house was blown up by a flying monster, that he knows it's his father, who kills his mother with a fireblast, and tries to kill him as well. And when he notices that he's still alive, he will go after him again.
    You'd expect
    That he goes straight to the police, explains what happened and asks for protection. Perhaps there's little they can do, but they are the best suited force for that (at least, that he can reach, SHIELD may be difficult to be reached by a mere teenager on his own).
    Instead
    Harry... goes to the school? Wait, what?
  • The Woobie
    • Shadowcat in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.
    • And, as always, Peter. By the end of the Ultimate Clone Saga arc, everyone wanted to give that kid a hug.
    • Mary-Jane Watson on a regular basis, especially with her crazy father interfering with her and Peter's relationship in "Cats and Queens"

Ultimate Spider-Man, video game

  • Awesome Music:
  • Broken Base: Whether this game or Spider-Man 2 is superior. Spider-man 2 is considered to one of the best superhero games ever made and was really innovative back in the day, which nobody denies, but it's graphicsnote  and the fact that only the console versions avoid The Problem with Licensed Games are points of contention. Whether or not the better graphics, larger map, Venom, the original story, the slight gameplay changes and the PC release make Ultimate an Even Better Sequel is up on the air. Pretty much nobody considers it an Contested Sequel, however, and both games are still loved by many.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Marvel Database (that is, the Marvel wiki) is usually pretty damn reliable, so you can take the fact that the Ultimate Marvel Universe and its version from the videogame aren't the same universe as borderline Word of God (which got confirmed anyway, as the Ultimate Spider-Man videogame fell into Canon Discontinuity). Flash-forward to the latest events and to Peter's death. Once you think about it, you realize that thanks to the videogame version of the Ultimate Spider-Man we still have an alive-and-well Ultimate Peter Parker - and an active and uncaptured Ultimate Eddie Brock.
    • Doubles as Heartwarming in Hindsight. Not just for Spidey, but for the Fantastic 4 and most of the X-Men, since there's a chance Ultimatum didn't happen.
    • Venom's wanted level you unlock post-game is clearly inspired by Grand Theft Auto's. However, unlike GTA, Venom's wanted level only has 5 stages to it rather than 6. And then Grand Theft Auto V did the exact same thing, with only five wanted levels.
  • Narm: Spidey's game over screen is pretty melodramatic, with the web-slinger exaggeratedly falling to his knees as the ashamed faces of his loved ones look on in the background. It becomes even more hilarious if you failed something as simple as catching up to the Rhino after you exposed his weakspot, making it seem as though Peter had absolutely failed everyone by not being able to stay close enough despite the villain only traveling to a parking lot not far from where they started.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In the video game, Venom's tutorial presents you with your first task of absorbing people so that you don't lose health, your first target? A child holding a balloon. In Spider-Man 2, everyone hated the missions of helping kids who constantly lose their balloons.

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