Thursday, August 1, 2013
Identifying with Ultimate Spider-Man
After watching "Ultimate Spider-Man" on TV, I thought I'd check out his comic book counterpart. Not being conversant with Marvel's latest offerings, what I thought was "Ultimate Spider-Man: Volume 1" turned out to be "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Volume 1." (This volume begins a sequel series that also takes place in Marvel's Ultimate Universe). Oh well, at least the comic opens with an ample introduction.
As you can see (providing Blogger allows you to click on the images and enlarge them), Peter Parker is an ordinary teenager. He's done incredible things, and he's saved the world from villains numerous times. Yet what is his reward? He has to work at a fast food restaurant to earn his spending money. He has to be polite to customers who take out their frustrations on him. And he has to obey all the rules, even those that seem silly and uncool to him.
By portraying his protagonist's life in readily identifiable ways, author Brian Michael Bendis helps us identify with Peter Parker. We may not have worked at Burger Frog, but we've all had jobs that we were less than proud of. We've cowered before bosses, subsumed our identities, and only managed to carry on by promising ourselves, "Someday..." At least Peter gets to don his Spider-Man outfit at night, and try to make his world a better place. This little bit of freedom, and his contribution to others, soothes his ego, and reminds him that his current lowly status is not forever, but merely a passing phase. Thus we cheer him on as he flies above the streets of Manhattan. For to us, he is not merely Spider-Man, but he is also Peter Parker. And, in a very real way, he is also us.
The Ultimate version of us.
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