Warning: This blog entry has spoilers. If you have read and loved Ultimate Spider-man, or the Ultimate Universe in general, you will have a few events spoiled for you. If you read Ultimate Spider-Man and haven’t read that last few issues, just skip the parts marked spoiler, okay? There are only a few parts marked that, so there is no reason to not enjoy the rest. Unless of course you dislike my style. In which case, fuck you. I kick ass for the lord*.
*- If you know this reference, congratulations. You’ve just won free oral sex from me. A dude. So maybe not congratulations. Either way it’s happening.
I have been a life-long reader of comic books. Granted, not as many when I was a kid. I’ll be the first to tell you that I usually stuck to two characters when I purchased my two comics a month. Spider-Man and Nightwing. They seem like a strange duo to follow, eh? Well. I dug Batman, don’t get me wrong. I still do. I just loved the fact that Nightwing was Dick Grayson, former Robin. I liked how he was one of the few characters in comics that was allowed to grow up and even take on a separate alter-go of he own. Spider-man on the other hand, he was just awesome. Sure, he had the everyday problems of a guy his age. That was a nice bonus, but Peter Parker was a geek. He was into the same things as I was (School, not exactly the same subjects). But the biggest draw? He talked trash! His costume was cool as well (My favorite variation of which is his House of M costume), and his powers were A-class. Even if Nightcrawler had the same abilities, but with teleportation instead of a strength boost. Peter Parker led two completely different lives. He was something I could look up to. Hell, he even shared some personality traits with me. He was a bit nerdy (I’m a history major), he knew right from wrong, he day-dreamed, he was a bit of a loner, and when in Spidey garb he was a wise-cracker. Sure, I was a bigger kid when I was in high school (6’1 250lbs), I could have been considered a bit of a jock and I actually had girlfriends, but I was a joker, I had (and still do) zero tolerance for idiots who take advantage of people, I know right from wrong, and I despise ignorance.
Peter Parker was a smaller, in some ways cooler (The powers), others less (Friends/girlfriends) version of me. I started high school in the fall of 2001. This was a year into the publishing of the Ultimate Spider-man title. Which would go on to be the flagship of the Ultimate Universe. I was excited and had been following it since the first issue. As the years progressed and the Ultimate Universe fleshed out, I knew exactly how the early readers of Marvel felt. I got to see the introduction of the mainstay characters. Even if it was just an Ultimate version of a regular 616 character, it was new in that universe. I saw relationships grow, I saw introductions that formed huge bonds and loyalties in the regular universe happen and in some cases go down different paths. It was one thing that really kept me excited during high school. I started to like this version of Peter Parker more than the real version. As the 616 version started changing and doing ridiculous things, I had another version of him doing things and having discussions that were relevant to my age group. Though, I did have adult Peter in the 616 which I understood and felt still reflected my feelings, I connected a bit more with a character that had to find an excuse for skipping class.
As 616 Peter Parker had great stories and things happen to him on rare occasions (His powers changing a bit, the House of M storyline, his identity being revealed, FINALLY JOINING THE AVENGERS), Ultimate Spidey was consistently amazing. The villains were modern and seemed better thought out than their counterparts. A few character changes were even welcome, such as 616 characters being completely different in either power, status, or personality in the Ultimate Universe. I was enjoying everything that was happening in the universe as a whole and especially to Peter personally. I like how they decided to *SPOILER* decided to keep Gwen around as a sister type instead of the love of his life *SPOILER*. Things like that just seemed to make the character and the universe more interesting as a whole. They even managed to make the Clone Saga interesting and fun as opposed to what the 616 universe did when they did it originally. Save yourself some time, don’t google it. It was a laughing stock of a mess. Then an announcement came. An event was going to change the universe completely. The Ultimate Wave came and went. It killed…quite a few characters that I had fallen in love with and changed pretty much everything. Peter was still kicking, though. Which was great because they had teased his death multiple times in the cover art and in the story itself. As a matter of fact, the only thing that seemed to change for Peter was J. Jonah Jameson’s feelings about him and the number of his comic. Which, due to the awesome fans, didn’t last. I was happy, the stories faltered a bit, but got better. The art was a bit strange for a bit, but got better and everything was looking up for our teenaged hero.
Then another bomb was dropped. Bendis (the writer since the beginning) announces THROUGH MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS, instead of it being a surprise, that the next arc would be called “The Dead of Spider-Man.” I was taken back. A bit upset, and worried, but otherwise okay. Surely, Bendis was just going to do a dramatic story that didn’t really kill Spider-Man, but change a few things about the character, right? I kept my hopes up and sat and read through the mini-event they did between the Ultimates, the Ultimate Avengers (redundant?), and Spider-Man. *SPOILER*The shooting and the issues that followed it was great writing. The fight in his neighborhood was endearing and heart-pounding. Aunt May picking up a gun and shooting Electro, killing him, in defense of her nephew was simply amazing. Then in happened. Peter’s last words made me tear up, and the reactions to his death by everyone in the comic was spot-on and moving. The last panel? That made me want to shoot a fictional character in the head. If you’ve read it, you know what I am talking about. *SPOILER* *SPOILER* Now, after the Fallout, we discover what was promised. We find out who is wearing the costume that looks suspiciously like the one Alex Ross designed for the Raimi films. It isn’t what I had hoped for. A Peter Parker who survived and was placed under some Superhero witness protection. It wouldn’t have worked, but I would still have a character that I fell in love with over the years. Now, a lot of people seem to be up in arms over the new guy. By the way, his name is Mile Morales and he is a possibly gay, half-black half-Latino boy who has Spider-powers. While I am extremely hurt to see Peter go, I can’t help but think that Bendis has just created Ultimate Tarantula. Fan outrage, and a drop in sales will lead to the return of Mr. Parker under that mask. Either they will ret-con the whole death, or they will say that he was kept in S.H.E.I.L.D custody. They did it with Beast after all. Besides, I want to know how this new kid got his powers exactly. If they weren’t the same way as Peter, he can hardly be called Spider-Man. It isn’t about his race, or Bendis’ intentions. It is entirely about killing a beloved character just to replace him with a racially diverse version. If I want to read about that, I’ll read the admittedly awesome Blue Beetle series that DC is relaunching. Jaime Reyes is a cool teenaged insect-themed Hispanic superhero. And yes, I know spiders are arachnids, not insects. You missed the point.*SPOILER*
To bring is all together, Spider-man isn’t Nightwing. He isn’t a character that is part of some large network of spider-themed heroes. Nor is he the heir to a cowl, symbol, or dynasty. Peter Parker is Spider-Man. He doesn’t have a side-kick/ward he has been trying to replace him. Miles Morales is just some kid keeping the mask warm for Peter. This kid doesn’t have anything in common with Peter, has never met him in anyway that matters at least (we would have seen him before in the comics), and he seems to have spider-like abilities. Like I already pointed out, those reasons, coupled with the fact that unless he got his powers the same way as Peter, don’t make him Spider-Man. They make him an imposter that should be retconned out of existence. Or, at least given the mantle of Ultimate Tarantula when Peter inevitably comes back.