Last week, it’ became official, and it’s officially no surprise to anyone that it will happen in the Spring, just before the next movie comes out: Peter Parker is returning. Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos have been killing it with this book. Slott’s been writing Spider-Man now longer than anyone, ever. And he’s still full of ideas, still keeping it fresh. This is an example where I trust the logic in the reboot, even if it irritates me that they are renumbering Amazing Spider-Man with #1 instead of #701. I’m an old-fashioned fan of sequential numbering. Sue me.
But at the same time, the Ultimate Universe is getting a complete facelift…And talent lift. When the UU launched 15 years ago, it was a grand experiment in updating Marvel heroes in the modern era. But with so much time passing it’s…Not modern anymore. And the stories have gotten stale. It really started with Ultimates 3 when Jeph Loeb killed everything and told stories that didn’t make any sense.
In April, after Galactus eats a bunch of stuff, the Ultimate U will be reborn with just a few books. Frankly, all of these titles have potential—mostly because of the people attached to them:
- Ultimate Spider-Man. Brian Michael Bendis has written every issue of this comic, and he’s stay on board for the reboot along with artist David Marquez. This is one of Bendis’ best titles, and always has been, so there’s no reason to break it. It’s the one thing in the Ultimate Universe that’s never been broken.
- All-New Ultimates. Mike Morales, the man behind the Ultimate Spider-Man’s mask, will lead a new team of young heroes in a book to be written by indie favorite Michael Fiffe. Fiffe’s “Copra” book has been praised by pretty much everyone as a great update of DC’s Suicide Squad concept. Personally, the book didn’t excite me—but I didn’t hate it. The art will be by Amilcar Pinna, who did some nice work on X-Men: First Class (a very underrated title). The team is pretty female-centric, and all teenagers: Kitty Pryde, Spider-Woman (who will now go by the name Black Widow, even though she’s still red), Bombshell, Cloak and Dagger. It appears to be a street-level book.
- Ultimate FF. The Fantastic Four haven’t had an Ultimate book in a while, and this one will be written by Joshua Hale Fialkov—who is currently writing for the Ultimate Universe—with art by Mario Guevara. I’m a fan of Fialkov’s writing, but I haven’t loved his Ultimate work. So, we’ll see. It looks like the foursome, based on the cover, are Falcon, Susan Storm, Iron Man, and Machine Man. Since the first two titles feature Spider-Man, we can assume this will be the “big threats” type book. Also, because there’s no Avengers. At least, not yet.
I’m reserving judgment on this. Marvel appears to be rebooting its titles regularly now, and I’m not against that concept, but so far the reboots haven’t improved the overall quality of Marvel’s comics. They still have a large number of good, solid reads; a few gems like Hawkeye; and a bunch of run-of-the-mill titles that are about as good as the best DC books out there. Marvel is still the leader in superhero storytelling (although a few upstart books are definitely giving Marvel a run for its money), and it makes sense that they’re trying to be the leaders in marketing as well.