Ultimate Spider-Man (2024) #1 Review

Spoilers for Ultimate Spider-Man (2024) #1, Ultimate Invasion, and Ultimate Universe #1 ahead.

Joe Meola ‘25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The Spider-Man fans have been clamoring for is finally back… but not exactly. Ever since the infamous 2007 “Spider-Man: One More Day” storyline, in which the titular hero’s longtime marriage to love interest Mary Jane Watson was erased from the history of the Marvel Universe, readers have been desperate for the return of a married Peter Parker (and perhaps eventually a parental Peter Parker) to the pages of their comic books. Marvel has since published stories depicting Spider-Man as a husband and father, particularly in the series Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which lasted for two volumes spanning from 2015 to 2018 for a combined 28 issues. 

Furthermore, the 2023 animated feature film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse features a version of Peter Parker who rekindled his relationship with Mary Jane following their divorce in the prior film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and is raising a baby with her. While these stories were generally well received by fans, they only brought about more demands for the restoration of this marriage in Marvel’s main comic book universe.

January 2024 saw the debut of a new volume of the Ultimate Spider-Man title, famous in past volumes for the return of stories featuring a highschool aged Peter Parker and the eventual debut of Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Traditionally, Marvel comic books bearing the “Ultimate” adjective are not set in the main Marvel Universe (Earth-616), but rather their own, new shared world, the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610). Due to events of the 2023 Ultimate Invasion series, the Maker, a villainous counterpart of Mr. Fantastic from the Ultimate Universe, has recreated and rewritten his world, creating a new version of the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1660).

The first ongoing series in this universe is the aforementioned new volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, depicting a new version of Peter Parker as a husband and father. While this may appear to be yet another alternate universe “What if…?” story of a married Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, it’s so much more. This new volume of Ultimate Spider-Man is part of a much larger narrative that will go on to span multiple titles. As a result, this story feels much more concrete and important to fans than something like Renew Your Vows, which was relatively self-contained.

Moving into the comic itself, Ultimate Spider-Man #1 released on January 10, 2024, and was written by Ultimate Invasion and Ultimate Universe scribe Jonathan Hickman with art by Marco Chechetto, famous for his work on the last two volumes of Daredevil. As previously mentioned, this version of Peter Parker is married to Mary Jane Watson, and the pair has two children, Richard and May. Additionally, this version of Peter Parker appears to be a bit older than his Earth-616 counterpart. While the latter is perpetually in his mid-20s, the former appears to be in his 30s or perhaps even his 40s in this premier issue.

Despite his age, Peter Parker has not yet become the web-slinging hero that fans know and love. Instead, he is merely a reporter working for the Daily Bugle under J. Jonah Jameson and… Ben Parker? That’s right, Uncle Ben is alive and well in this universe. At the start of the comic, Peter goes about his morning routine, having breakfast with his family and going to work. However, something about this particular morning is different. First of all, there is a mysterious “thing” that Peter needs to go to later with his wife, kids, and Uncle Ben. Second of all, there is an important conversation he needs to have with his wife. Before Peter and Ben depart from the Bugle, there is a brief exchange between Peter and Jonah in which Jonah gives Peter his tie and ties it for him while the two discuss Ben’s mental state. It is a truly heartwarming moment that both establishes Jonah as a secondary father figure for Peter in this universe and his friendship with Ben.

Image via Marvel Comics

Then, we learn that the “thing” is in fact a memorial service for those whose lives were taken in a deadly terrorist attack—believed to be perpetrated by this world’s Tony Stark, but in reality committed by the Maker—among those lives lost being May Parker, Norman Osborne, and Emily Osborne. Matt Murdock, a priest in this universe, leads the service, while Harry Osborne also speaks. While it is unclear whether or not Murdock is also Daredevil in this new Ultimate Universe, it is made clear that Peter and Harry never became friends like they did in both the main Marvel Universe or the previous Ultimate Universe, which will likely lead to an interesting dynamic between the two in the future.

Following the service, Peter and Ben return to the Bugle only to witness Jonah quitting in a fit of rage. It is explained to Ben that the Bugle’s advertisers want editorial to tone down its inflammatory content, and now that Jonah has quit, Wilson Fisk—the Kingpin of Crime on Earth-616—who has some unclear leadership position in the paper, wishes to promote Ben to Jonah’s position. Ben promptly quits, and he, Jonah, and Peter meet later at the Bar With No Name, while Fisk is attacked and nearly killed by this Ultimate Universe’s version of the Green Goblin.

Image via Marvel Comics

At the bar, Ben and Jonah decide that they’re going to open their own newspaper. Jonah leaves, and Peter and Ben have a discussion about making changes to one’s life. Peter explains that for the longest time, he’s felt like something has been missing from his life. As Ben departs, he leaves Peter with some advice that many readers are considering a new version of the “With great power, there must also come great responsibility,” line: “If you’re walking around half asleep… anesthetized by your own life… Then wake up.”


Peter has a similar conversation with MJ later that night, during which she gives him the advice of “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”

Image via Marvel Comics

Why does Peter want to make a change in his life, though? Why does he feel like something is missing? After Peter’s conversation with MJ, readers are treated to a flashback of the night before. In this flashback, Peter is visited by a hologram of Tony Stark. Tony gives Peter a spherical device containing a “picotech stealth suit”—which has the appearance of an all-black version of the traditional Spider-Man costume—and a “bio-organic catalyst”—the spider that was meant to bite Peter twenty years ago and grant him his abilities. Tony explains that “a great evil”—the Maker—traveled through time to prevent the creation of the world’s greatest heroes, including Peter, so that he and his associates could control the world. Tony is setting out to grant these heroes the abilities they were robbed of so that the world may be reclaimed from the Maker.

This scene introduces the idea that being Spider-Man is Peter Parker’s true destiny. His destiny was stolen from him by the Maker, and now he gets to choose whether or not to take it back and fill the void he’s been feeling within himself.

Image via Marvel Comics

The end of the flashback is interlaced with a scene of Peter going to the roof of his apartment building after his talk with MJ. He decides he wants his destiny back, allowing the spider to bite him and putting on his new costume. Thus ends the first issue of 2024’s Ultimate Spider-Man comic book.

Image via Marvel Comics

This issue was incredible. Hickman weaves a fantastic tale that is truly distinct from any preexisting Spider-Man story while still feeling like a Spider-Man story. This new version of the Ultimate Universe is certainly unique, and showing where Spider-Man, the debut character of the previous Ultimate Universe, fits into this altered universe is the perfect way to demonstrate how deep the Maker’s machinations run. The story being built in this series not only sets up a variety of possibilities for Peter Parker and his supporting cast, but also for the universe as a whole. It begs the question of who else’s destiny was stolen by the Maker, as well as the question of if or how these characters will come together to liberate the world from him.

As always, Marco Chechetto knocks it out of the park with his art. Peter and MJ have never looked better in the pages of modern comics, and the world around them is also drawn beautifully.

Image via Marvel Comics

This is a series you are not gonna want to miss, so if you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for?

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