Comics : Ultimate Spider-Man #3

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Issue three in Marvel's exciting new series featuring a young Peter Parker. Last issue Peter's new powers continued to manifest, resulting in him breaking Flash Thompson's hand in a schoolyard brawl.

Norman Osborn was informed that the changes to Peter following the spider bite have stabilised, so Osborn started planning to repeat the procedure on himself.

I'm impressed with the cover layouts for the Ultimate Spider-Man series. The logo is impressive and clear, and the colored sidebars and large issue numbers make it easy to identify each specific issue. Not to mention the cover art itself. Spidey is very cartoonish, on a realistic painted background. And, for those of you that might not know, Marvel have been releasing two cover variants per issue, spaced two weeks apart.

In Detail...

"Wannabe"
Ultimate Spider-Man #3
Jan 2001 : SM Title
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Co-Plot:  Bill Jemas
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Art Thibert
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Komikai Ultimate Spider-Man (Promo Reprint) #3
 Reprinted In: Marvel Must Haves #8
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Ultimate) #1
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Collected Edition (Reprints #1,2,3)
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Spider-Man Reprints (Hardcover) #1
 Reprinted In: Ultimate Tales Flip Magazine #2

The story begins with Osborn and his assistants viewing security camera footage of Peter Parker being bitten by the OZ-infused spider specimen 00. Osborn is convinced that the OZ drug is ready to be tested on a human. But, instead of the spider venom, Osborn wants to mix it with his own DNA to try to enhance his own strengths. I'm guessing chronic feedback effect here, people.

Peter and the gang are at the Tuesday UCW Spankdown Wrestling, and Crusher Hogan is taunting the crowd into challenging him. Kong decides to give it a go, there's $500 to be had. However, the announcer states all challengers must be over 21. Later that night, Peter is working on a wrestling mask to hide the fact that he's under 21 from the Spankdown organisers. He wants a shot at that $500 to help Ben and May pay for Flash Thompson's medical bills.

We cut to the next Spankdown Crusher Hogan challenge, and Peter springs into the ring wearing red and blue sweats and his new full face mask with distinctive bug-like eyes! He performs a perfect smackdown move on the huge Crusher, taking the $500! He is offered a spot on the Monday night show.

The next day at school, all the students are talking about the mysterious new wrestler who beat Crusher Hogan. Mary Jane is trying to organise some study time with Peter, but she can't get his attention. The Basketball coach convinces Peter to take over Flash's position with the school team. (Flash has his hand in a cast and can't play for some time). Due to Peter's new-found spider powers, he is an absolute star on the court! They win 114 to 26!

MJ again tries to set up the study night, but Peter can't be there because he has to perform at the wrestling. Looks like our hero is unlucky in love!

Monday night comes, and Peter, dressed in his red and blue costume, repeats his awesome defeat of Crusher Hogan, this time in an actual wrestling match. The announcer grabs Peter's arm and proclaims him the "Amazing Spider-Man"! That's it, a hero is born! After the show, the announcer pays Peter and hands him a professionally made costume. Peter races home and tries it on, it's the red and blue spandex with white eyes that we all recognise as Spider-Man!

Back at Osborn Industries, Harry stumbles into a lab where Norman is being strapped into a hi-tech looking machine, ready for the OZ procedure. Harry is hustled out the door, but not before he can see something horrible happening to his father...

In General...

I loved Peter's first attempt at a costume! The red and blue were there, the eyes were taking shape, and it was a believably lame 15 year old's attempt at something like that!

I also loved how when he got the spandex suit from the UCW, he was already thinking about adding the spider motif and webbing designs to the red sections of the costume. There's just something about being right there on the ground floor as such a famous superhero takes shape! I can hardly wait to see him swing into action against crime for the first time!

I also thought it was clever how Peter's number on the Basketball team is 00, the same as the number on the spider that was responsible for him being there, jamming the ball and dominating the gameplay!

The romantic tension between MJ and Peter is building nicely. It's nice to see that even though Peter is becoming much more of a hit with his schoolfriends than in the original version, he still has troubles in this area.

Overall Rating...

Nothing to criticise here folks, this comic was top stuff. The emergence of The Amazing Spider-Man in the wrestling arenas is amazingly current, considering the popularity of the WWF right now. Even though this is true to the original, it seems more plausible today than it must have back in the early 60s. I loved the evolution of the classic Spider-Man costume. 4.5 webs, well deserved!