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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Review: Ultimate Spider-man Vol 1 & 2

 Ultimate Spider-Man is a retelling of the Peter Parker story in an alternate universe, updated to the 2000s.  The drawings are different, and the origin story gets drawn out into multiple issues instead of having everything compressed into one issue. I enjoyed some of the differences: for instance, Peter Parker instead of inventing the web-fluid, adapts it from a formula left by his father. The origin of Spider-man, Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus are all tied together into one coherent plot-line, instead of being different.

Peter Parker instead of being a goody-two-shoes all the time, behaves a little bit more like a teenager, with signs of rebellion, and occasional anger at his care-takers. There's a great reference to the uniquely dysfunctional American legal and health care system, where Peter Parker blocks a punch by Flash Thompson, breaks Thompson's hand because of his new found strength, and Ben and May Parker gets sued for hospital bills and Peter is left protesting against his guardians for defending himself instead of letting himself get beaten-up and bullied. I particularly enjoyed Peter Parker revealing himself as Spider-man to Mary Jane at the end of Vol 2, which eliminates all the stupid angsty stories of personal conflicts between the couple, preventing you from wanting to shake Peter and say, "You idiot, just tell her!"

Both Bowen and Boen enjoy the books enough to ask for more. That makes the series recommended.

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