Review by Frank Plowright
If the devastation of Ultimatum and Spider-Man surviving by the skin of his teeth wasn’t enough, when Ultimate Spider-Man was relaunched new artist David Lafuente began drawing him and his friends as if several years younger. Those friends are important as Brian Michael Bendis transforms the series into an updated version of 1980s cartoon show Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. In the Ultimate world several superheroes are detached from parent teams, and May Parker’s house becomes a home to them.
It’s been six months since New York almost drowned, and some things have moved forward for the better. Peter now has a relationship with Gwen Stacy, which is just as well as she’s also living in the Parker house, and instead of being vilified and accused of everything that goes wrong in New York, Spider-Man has some respect. Still, that doesn’t convert to cash, and Peter hates working in a fast food joint. As has been the case from the start, Bendis writes convincing teens complete with their daft arguments.
After the sort of realism supplied by Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen over the entirety of the previous series, Lafuente’s stylised people with manga quirks take some getting used to. It’s stylistically consistent, but the cast just don’t look like the people readers came to know. Still, it can also be said that the previous version grew too close to the normal Spider-Man, so Lafuente is making a clean break there. The hairstyles on the sample art do him no favours, though, well beyond ridiculous even on publication in 2009.
It might be assumed that after such a long run on the previous volume Bendis had worked his way through all Spider-Man’s primary villains, but here we have Mysterio and his illusions, and the next volume is titled Chameleons. Mysterio immediately makes a statement by dealing with the Kingpin, and along with him Bendis introduces the mystery of a new hero and amusing mother and daughter villains, although where he might be going with that is anyone’s guess. All things considered, The New World According to Peter Parker is the same smart superhero entertainment Bendis provided on the previous Ultimate Spider-Man series, so the only possible stumbling block is how greatly or not the art appeals.