Superheroes come and go, but their legacies can live on. The latest example of this is the death of Ultimate Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the rise of a new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. However, this isn’t the traditional Spider-Man but the version from the Ultimate Universe and outside of the main universe and continuity.
Starting in 2000, the Ultimate Universe helps to tell stories of Marvel heroes from a modern day perspective and defer from having to deal with much continuity. For example, instead of the Avengers, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man are part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. sanctioned team known as the Ultimates.
Toward the end of the summer, Peter Parker met his fate in “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” #160 at the hands of his arch nemesis, Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. The Ultimate Universe explored the aftermath of this death in the limited series, “Ultimate Comics Fallout,” but soon a mysterious individual was seen wearing Spidey’s red and blue costume in issue #4. This character was later identified as Miles Morales, a half-Hispanic and half-African American youth.
On USAToday.com, “Ultimate Spider-Man” writer Brian Michael Bendis discussed how Miles as the new Spider-Man won’t change the ideals Peter held. “The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility… He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means.”
Oddly enough, Community star Donald Glover was campaigning to be Peter Parker/Spidey in the reboot. According to popwatch.ew.com, Bendis looked at Glover’s campaign as “a classic case of what-might-have-been.” In fact, Glover even wore a Spider-Man t-shirt in the opening scene of Community’s second season.
Since Miles’ first appearance in August, the character had room to grow and finally appeared in his solo series the new “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.”
In addition to this new title, Miles will also be donning a new costume to uphold this new character. Instead of the traditional red and blue Spider-Man outfit, Miles’ wardrobe is black with red covering the torso and mask.
Now, while Bendis has the task of developing and writing dialogue for Miles and company, artist Sara Pichelli has the task of designing this new hero and his costume. However, with the costume design, Pichelli worked to show this is Spider-Man for a new decade.
In an interview with ifanboy.com, Pichelli discussed what it is like creating characters for this new series. “I worked as a character designer for animation and I’m accustomed to creating new characters. It’s an amazing job, so when I can apply it to my comic book career, it’s the perfect mix! Giving the first impression to characters who will be protagonists of an important book like Ultimate Spider-Man is exciting!” she said.
Although, the Spider-Man costume design will be similar to the old-fashioned version and Miles will follow the timeless credo of responsibility from Ben Parker, one side note is how Miles will be much younger than Peter was in this heroic role.
Instead of being 16 like Peter was, Miles will be 13-years-old. Bendis, in a comicbookresources.com article, explained what this age gap will be mean. “When you’re that young, your eyes are wide open. It’s a perspective we haven’t really seen before in superhero comics.”
Now, although Miles was introduced to readers in “Ultimate Fallout,” “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” Volume Two #1, currently on stands, will take time to explore who Miles and how he came to have the same arachnid powers shared by Peter.
While reviewing the first issue, David Brother at ComicsAlliance.com wrote, “Despite my qualms about the length and price point, this first issue hooked me. Miles Morales isn’t Peter Parker, his status quo isn’t Peter Parker’s, and his powers have just enough of a twist (hinted at early in the story) that they aren’t exactly Peter’s either. I wanted Bendis to impress me with this issue, and he did. This is good comics, and the start of something cool.”
Although Miles has gotten a large amount of attention for becoming the new Ultimate Spider-Man, other heroes have been in similar situations.
After Superman died at the hands of Doomsday, Superboy, Steel, Cyborg Superman, and the Eradicator took part in replacing Kal-El. When Batman was sent back in time by Darkseid at the end of “Final Crisis,” former Robin, Dick Grayson, fought to be Batman in the miniseries, “Battle For the Cowl” (Following DC’s comic relaunch, Dick has returned to being Nightwing.)
As for Marvel heroes, James Rhodes/War Machine took over as Iron Man from Tony Stark for some time while T’Challa has been protecting Daredevil’s old turf, Hell’s Kitchen, in “Black Panther: Man Without Fear.”
While heroes may come and go, their names will live on forever. It’s hard to imagine a world where there is no Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, or Iron Man. The function these heroes have in society (at least in the comic book worlds) is that there will always be a way for what these characters stood for to live on and be honored one way or another.