By <i><a href=http://twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a>, and <a href=http://twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>As of June's <b>Ultimate Spider-Man #160</b>, the "Ultimate" version of Peter Parker Marvel's most iconic hero is dead. <p>In his place is a new Spider-Man, one to be introduced in this week's <i>Ultimate Fallout #4</i> and then star in a new <b>Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man</b> series, starting in September. The identity of the character has yet to be revealed, but as Brian Michael Bendis who's written every issue of every volume of <b>Ultimate Spider-Man</b> since the title's inception in the fall of 2000 <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/ultimate-comics-universe-reborn-4-110505.html>said in May</a>, "those elements of what Spider-Man means, and what he stands for, will continue into the new series." <p>Whoever the new Spider-Man is, it's already gotten the attention of the mainstream press: <a href=http://twitter.com/#!/BRIANMBENDIS/status/98181064710815744>according to Bendis himself</a>, the news of Spidey's identity will break in <i>USA Today</i> early Tuesday morning. <p>So mere hours before that revelation, we here at Newsarama have examined the 10 candidates most likely from our perspective to be the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to speculate along with us. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
What's that? Peter's dead? Admittedly, he sure looked that way at the end of "Death of Spider-Man," but you could've said the same thing about Norman Osborn when he was shot in the head by Carol Danvers in the original USM series, but he returned for "Death of," so who knows what kind of healing powers Peter has hidden up his webbed sleeves? <p>After all, the life-saving Goblin powers come from a derivative of the same drugs that gave Peter his powers, remember. And the story <i>was</i> called "Death of Spider-Man," not "Death of Peter Parker," so who knows? Though <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/death-of-spider-man-ending-110621.html>Bendis told the <i>New York Post</i></a> that "There's a real point to this and the point doesn't work if we don't stick to our guns," maybe there's a curveball or two waiting around the corner.
Back in the early days of the Ultimate Universe, it would always be fun to see how classic Marvel characters would get introduced in the new continuity. ("Oh, hey, Cable is future Wolverine!" "Look at that, Deadpool has an exposed brain!") <p>In recent years, that hasn't been nearly as much of a focus in the comics, probably because so many iconic characters have already shown up in the Ultimate books at this point. But since <i>Ultimatum</i> killed off so many famous faces, maybe it's time to go a little deeper on the bench. <p>The list of characters, especially ones from Spidey's side of the MU, who have yet to be Ultimized is not exactly A-list, though. Um, how about Hobie Brown, the Prowler? The mainstream version of the character is a frequent Spidey ally, and he'd fulfill the prevalent "black Spider-Man" rumors (as would another entry later in the list). <p>Then there's the rumor that it might be an Ultimate version of Miguel O'Hara, better known as Spider-Man 2099. As a Latino, it would similarly drive some attention due to much-needed superhero diversity, and the character has starred in a couple of recent Spidey video games last year's <i>Shattered Dimensions</i> and the upcoming <i>Edge of Time</i>, out this fall.
Poor Ultimate Gwen Stacy. <p>Sure, she may not have died after being thrown off a bridge by the Green Goblin, but she's had much worse happen to her including being killed by Carnage, only to then have her personality and genetic make-up stolen by him so that Carnage essentially <i>became</i> Gwen. Which means that Ultimate Gwen Stacy <i>also</i> has the power potential to be the new Spider-Man, if you think about it and, given that she loved Peter and was there when he died, she's also learned that with great power comes great responsibility. <p>Perhaps it's time that she stepped up to make a difference, and what better way to honor Peter's legacy than trying to continue it?<p>And while Mary Jane isn't in the 2012 <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i> film, Gwen definitely is. Perhaps not an indication of anything either way, but worth keeping in mind.
As far as the mainstream media goes, "Captain America Is The New Spider-Man" is one of the headline-grabbiest moves Marvel could possibly make. After all, <i>Captain America: The First Avenger</i> is currently No. 3 at the box office, and Spider-Man is, well, Spider-Man. Plus, such an unconventional move would really capture that "yeahbuhwhat?" factor always crucial in getting people's interest. <P>And it would actually kind of make sense. As detailed in <i>Ultimate Fallout</i>, Captain America blames himself for Spidey's demise the bullet Peter took was meant for Cap, after all and <a href= http://www.newsarama.com/comics/next-big-thing-ultimate-universe-110502.html>Jonathan Hickman has noted</a> that there's a reason why Steve Rogers isn't in the initial lineup of <i>Ultimate Comics: Ultimates</i>. So maybe his next move is to honor Peter's legacy in the most literal way possible? <P>One major problem: Unless there's some major red herring action going down, all of the teaser images released thus far of the new Ultimate Spider-Man are much more Scrawny Steve than bulky Cap.
Is looking for one replacement Spidey thinking too small? Perhaps. After all, when you consider the various characters Ultimate Spidey has come in contact with throughout his 10-year run as the Ultimate Universe's favorite superhero, there's definitely the skill set there to come up with a team of people dressing up as Spider-Man in honor of Peter's sacrifice. <p>If nothing else, Kitty Pryde is already used to operating in disguise, and you know that Johnny Storm probably wants to punch something in order to work through his grief. Team Spider-Man really could have potential, and Bendis <i>did</i> pretty much turn the last run of USM into a team book, after all.
MJ has been an integral part of the cast since the very beginning of <b>Ultimate Spider-Man</b>, and took a rather proactive role during "The Death of Spider-Man," going so far as to ram a truck into Green Goblin during the story's fateful battle. She's continued to get involved further in <i>Ultimate Fallout</i>, chewing out Nick Fury and writing up an exposé about "how the world killed Spider-Man." <p>The same gender-trickery logic that applies to Gwen Stacy could work here, too, though unlike Gwen, she doesn't really have any capacity for superpowers at this point, at least. But in the world of superhero comic books, such an obstacle can be easily overcome.
Strangely absent during the entire "Death of Spider-Man" story arc despite having been reintroduced with #9 of the relaunched series, Peter Parker's female clone don't ask is definitely a strong possibility for the new Spider-Man. <p>For one thing, she's already got the powers and the experience, for another, she's pretty much already Peter Parker in terms of personality (being, you know, a clone), and for a third thing, Bendis has experience in revealing that "male" characters are actually female: Remember when Ronin turned out to be Echo in a weirdly-padded costume?
Yes, Harry's as dead in the world of <b>Ultimate Spider-Man</b> as he was in the mainstream Marvel Universe pre-"Brand New Day" and at the end of <i>Spider-Man 3</i> when he fell victim to a fatal case of Goblin Glider impalement, a malady that seems to be a real problem in that family. <p>Except Harry was exposed to the same Oz Formula that turned his dad into the Green Goblin, which is, as noted earlier, what helped Norman cheat death. So why wouldn't Harry be able to maneuver the same fate for himself? Spidey died stopping Harry's crazy dad, and if he is indeed still kicking, it seems logical that Harry would want to their honor their friendship as best as he can.
Potentially the most likely candidate for two reasons alone. Firstly, that name has history when it comes to replacement Spider-Men, and secondly, as one of the series' few non-Nick Fury African-Americans, he'd be the obvious choice if the much-rumored "Black Spider-Man" rumor turns out to be true. <p>The fact that Ultimate Ben Reilly happens to be a scientist who we have seen tinkering with Spider-Man's DNA previously (creating Ultimate Carnage, as well as five other Spider-Man clones) just means that, if he <i>does</i> turn out to be the new Spidey, it won't be coming entirely out of nowhere.
Marvel writers and editors have repeatedly said in recent interviews that the Ultimate Universe is the place where anything can happen. As Marvel editor-in-chief <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/ultimate-comics-universe-reborn-110503.html>Axel Alonso said in May</a>, "Things you'd never be able to get away with in the Marvel Universe can in fact happen." <p>So if that is indeed the case, why reveal the new Ultimate Spider-Man to be someone that fans have been reading for years already? <p>Making the new Ultimate Spider-Man someone truly new would be a bold move, and depending on just who the character is, could generate them huge publicity. African-American Spider-Man? Latino Spider-Man? Asian Spider-Man? Gay Spider-Man? Female Spider-Man? All of the above? Any of that is possible with a new character. <p>Dramatically, a brand new character may seem a bit out of left field, but perhaps that's why the character's being introduced in <i>Ultimate Fallout #4</i> instead of September's <b>Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1</b> to give a little time to set things up a bit. <p>Feel free to let us know your own speculation as to the identity of the new Ultimate Spidey on <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama>Facebook</a> or <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama>Twitter</a>, and keep reading Newsarama for more on <b>Ultimate Spider-Man</b> as it develops.