Monday, August 1, 2011

Who's the New Ultimate Spider-Man?

A couple months ago, Peter Parker died.  Well, Ultimate Peter Parker died.  Ultimate Spider-Man was created about a decade ago when Marvel launched a new line of re-imaged versions of classic Marvel heroes.  They were Ultimate Spider-Man, the Ultimate X-Men, the Ultimates (AKA the Ultimate Avengers), etc.  Ultimate Marvel was basically an opportunity to make its characters more easily accessed by newer readers.  It was a successful effort.  Unfortunately, entry level comics eventually collect their own continuity baggage and new readers from 2000 eventually become the older school readers of 2011.

A few years ago, they began shaking up the Ultimate Comics.  Many of their heroes and villains (Wolverine, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Giant Man, Wasp, Nightcrawler, etc.) were killed in a massive Ultimatum event.  That led to more character and conceptual shake-ups in the Ultimate Marvel line, leading up to June's death of Peter Parker.

Immediately after Peter's death, an image was released of the new Ultimate Spider-Man.  Marvel has been coy about the identity of this new Spider-Man, but it's been strongly hinted that the new Ultimate Spidey is a black man.  Or at least someone with a dark complexion, which has already prompted race-baiting Twitter comments from at least one New England-based comic book dealer.

I learned tonight that USA Today will be spoiling the new Ultimate Spider-Man's secret identity tomorrow morning, which prompted Newsarama to toss out their Top 10 Candidates for the New Ultimate Spider-Man.  Many of them are pretty silly, like Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson.  Others are very unlikely, like Captain America or the Spider-Friends.

The most likely choice is Ben Reilly, a scientist who tinkered a lot with Spider-Man's DNA who had successfully created a bunch of Spider-Man clones in the past.  There was a time when the regular Marvel Universe Spider-Man found himself replaced by a clone and that clone went by the name Ben Reilly.  If we're going with the theory that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is a black man, then the Ultimate version of Ben Reilly seems like a good choice, given his background.

But I really want it to be someone else.  I want Ultimate Marvel to re-image one of my favorite Spider-Man characters: Miguel O'Hara AKA Spider-Man 2099!  Miguel was created about a decade before the Ultimate Comic line.  He was a geneticist from the year 2099 A.D. who successfully recreated the abilities of the original Spider-Man when he accidentally re-wrote half his DNA with a spider's genetic code.  He has super-strength and agility, enhanced vision, talons on his fingers and toes, organic webbing, and venomous fangs.  And when it comes down to it, Spider-Man 2099 wears one of the coolest Spider-Man costumes in Marvel history.  If Marvel is serious about having the Ultimate version of its most popular character re-introduced as something other than Caucasian, Miguel is your man.  This version of Spider-Man was Marvel's first non-Caucasian web-slinger.  In fact, he's probably one of Marvel's first prominent Hispanic superheroes.

We will find out for sure tomorrow morning who is under those Ultimate tights.  I'm not holding my breath that we'll get to see more of Miguel O'Hara as Spider-Man every month, but that's my wish.  We will soon find out whether wishes come true...

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