Loki: The Trickster tricked... by a mortal!?
Ultimate Spider-Man is an American animated series based on the superhero character published by Marvel Comics. Paul Dini (of DCAU fame), Brian Michael Bendis and Man of Action Studios (of Ben 10 and Generator Rex fame) are involved in the making of the show, which premiered April 1, 2012.
Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for one year when SHIELD sits up and takes notice. Nick Fury invites him to be professionally trained in superheroics, alongside other young heroes: Iron Fist, Power Man, Nova, and White Tiger. With SHIELD's experience and resources backing him, Peter might just become the Ultimate Spider-Man!
The show is action-comedy format, heavy on the characterization, with a healthy dose of Medium Awareness on Spidey's part.
- Actually a Doombot: In "Doomed", Spider-Man and the team fight and capture who they think is Dr. Doom, only to realize too late that it was really a Doombot that Doom let get captured so it could destroy the helicarrier.
- Actor Allusion: Drake Bell voices Peter/Spidey, a role he previously parodied.
- Adaptation Distillation: The symbiote's origins in the series are noticeably similar to that of the Ultimate version of Carnage; it's created from a stolen sample of Peter's blood.
- Agony of the Feet: Power Man gets a hot foot from a tiny Doombot.
- Alliterative Name: Peter Parker obviously, but also Ava Ayala (White Tiger).
- And subverted by Nova. Richard Rider's replacement, Sam Alexander, was created specifically for this show.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Spider-Man and White Tiger
- Applied Phlebotinum: This is the Marvel Universe, animated, so, yeah.
- Art Shift: The art shifts all over the place.
- Ascended Fanboy: Based on what was revealed for the 5th episode, Spider-Man is a massive fanboy of Iron Man and in return, Tony makes him his own Iron Spider armor. Also, White Tiger is a SHIELD fangirl and geeks out every time they are in the Helicarrier.
- Author Avatar/Almighty Janitor: Stan Lee appears as the janitor (see also Mythology Gag).
- Awesome By Analysis: Taskmaster
- Badass Bystander: Mary Jane Watson kicks a plate of slippery, messy cafeteria food under Thundra's foot to help Spidey win the battle of Empire High School.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Nick Fury!
- Baleful Polymorph: Thor is turned into a frog for most of "Field Trip." Despite this he's still pretty badass.
- Bash Brothers: Power Man and Iron Fist, they are usually seen fighting side by side.
- Big Bad: Norman Osborn is shaping up to be this.
- Big Damn Heroes: Power Man, White Tiger, Iron Fist, and Nova pull one in episode 2.
- Blah Blah Blah: How Spider-Man tends to hear Nick Fury once he's gone into lecture mode.
- Brain Bleach: Requested by Peter at the end of Episode 6.
- Bring Him to Me: Norman believes that Spider-Man can be used to create a new generation of spider-enhanced super soldiers and is not above hiring super villains to capture him as of episode one.
- The Brute: Thundra is a rare female example. She's the muscle of the Frightful Four.
- The Cameo: The Super Hero Squad and Spider-Ham in "Flight of the Iron Spider".
- Canon Immigrant: The new White Tiger, Ava Ayala, was created for the show and currently appears in Avengers Academy. The new Nova, Sam Alexander, was also created for the show and was introduced in the comics during the prelude to the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover.
- Coulson, as principal, is an immigrant from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Cassandra Truth: Fury and the rest of the team blow Spidey's concerns off about Black Suit Spidey being Venom returned. Spidey takes off to prove himself right -- and he is.
- Catgirl: White Tiger/Ava Ayala
- Character Filibuster: Literally everytime J. Jonah Jameson is on screen he's going on about how bad Spider-Man is.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Peter and Mary Jane. At the moment they're in the Just Friends stage though.
- Chirping Crickets: Spider-Man makes a joke about his new SHIELD webshooters that falls flat.
- There is also an occasion in "Back in Black" where a joke falls flat the same way.
- The Chosen Many: Nova
- Clothing Damage: Played for Laughs, as the tentacle-bot pinches Spidey's ass. He slaps it away and wins the battle, only to find out the hard way that the crowd is taking pictures of the hole in his Spidey-suit... which also reveals he goes commando underneath.
- After Iron Fist is freed from being stuck to a wall by Venom, most of his clothes vanish along with the symbiote's webbing.
- In "Back in Black" Spidey recalls how inconvenient his Spidey suit can be in comparison to Harry Osborn's Venom-slick-it-on, slick-it-off Spidey suit, including the time it ripped in the back and revealed his red polka dotted underwear... which might explain why he was going commando in the second episode.
- Combat Tentacles: The Venom Symbiote's main form of attack, in addition to whatever abilities its host has.
- Cold Open
- Cool Bike: The Spider-Cycle. It fires webs that it can drive on, and can drive on any surface Spidey can wallcrawl on.
- Cool Old Lady: Aunt May.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Lampshaded by Peter when trying to explain to Harry Osborn why using the Venom symbiote to be Spider-Man in a black suit just to feed his ego is a very bad idea.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: As in any Spider-Man show, Norman Osborn.
- Covered in Gunge: Spider-Man's first training session with SHIELD results in him getting slimed.
- Peter's sneezes in "Back in Black" produce a frightening amount of green discharge.
- Crossover Punchline: The Living Laser is beaten by being sent to dimension of The Superhero Squad Show.
- Curse Cut Short: Spider-Man webs Thundra's mouth shut just as she is about to sling a vulgar insult at him. He explains that he gagged her to prevent her from cursing in front of "the kiddies."
- Da Chief: Nick Fury. Like most versions of him, he's the "Top Cop"
- Deadpan Snarker: White Tiger.
- Nova as well:
(after Spidey lets the Venom Symbiote possess him to stop it from hurting anyone else) Nova: Ah, I wish we hadn't just had a special moment where you'd sacrificed yourself and junk. *proceeds to blast Venom*
- Denser and Wackier: Aside from Peter's Fourth Wall Imagine Spots, the show's tone is much more comical than your usual Spider-Man fare.
- Disappeared Dad: Norman Osborn is the "neglectfully absent/physically present" variation.
- Don't Try This At Home:
Spidey: (addressing the audience) Yes, I am riding the Spider-Cycle in a subway. No, I am not allowed to do this. And neither are you.
- The Dragon: Doc Ock, to Norman Osborn.
- Dramatic Spotlight: Peter gets one after a comment from Sam upsets Harry and Peter can't explain why he's hanging with Sam and the other new kids.
- Energy Beings: Living Laser, who is made of living photonic energy. Also the Hulk villain Zzzax in the episode "Exclusive".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Norman is genuinely distraught when he learns that the Frightful Four is attacking his son's school. Though he's mainly concerned with Harry's safety, making it more an Even Evil Has Loved Ones case.
- Evil Cripple: Doc Ock. Because of an accident, he lost the use of his limbs. He uses his metal arms to work,fight and move around. He's still menacing and looks rather creepy.
- Evil Redhead: Thundra of the Frightful Four.
- Expressive Mask: The Spidey mask is very expressive, though Peter Lampshades that you can't see all his expressions. Same goes for White Tiger.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: This trope is utterly given the finger. Mundane authorities use plain old bullets, and lots of them when needed, without any attempt to pretend otherwise. SHIELD has lasers, though.
- Fan Service: for the female viewers! Iron Fist, once freed from Venom and webbing, is stripped down to his matching banana hammock.
- First Kiss: Peter and MJ had theirs with each other when they were 12 years old, apparently.
- Five-Man Band: It's still early, but the teen heroes seem to fall into these roles.
- Flash Back: A couple, on Peter's part, relating to Uncle Ben, Aunt May, and his growing up with Mary Jane.
- Food Fight: Peter starts one against the Frightful Four to give him the chance to get away.
- Fourth Wall: Peter abuses the hell out of it, talking directly to the viewer. Basically, it's his trademark inner monologue visualized!
Spider-Man: Language, Thundy. Kids are watching.
- Freaky Friday Flip: Wolverine and Spider-Man have one in an episode (appropriately enough, the episode is titled "Freaky"), a plot taken directly from the Ultimate Spider-Man comic.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Spidey gets chibi good and evil Spideys helping him think through whether or not he wants to work with Iron Fist, Power Man, White Tiger and Nova.
- Unfortunately, the angels' dialogue very quickly devolves into a grudge match, which gets quite rough if Peter's reactions are any indication.
- And they agree on letting Taskmaster do what he wants to Flash Thompson, forcing Spidey to web them both out of the shot after saying, "Only Flash could get these two to agree on something."
- Going Native: The exact words used to describe Agent Coulson, who seems more concerned about the school budget and meatloaf than keeping an eye on the teen heroes.
- Gotta Get Your Head Together: The entire cafeteria's reaction to Klaw's sonic attack.
- Gravity Master: The Wizard has this ability thanks to his tech.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: As per the Ultimate Marvel version, Aunt May is quite the looker here.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Subverted. Peter and Mary Jane in this series have been childhood friends.
Peter: At 12, we decided to "get serious". [They kiss, and immediately go 'ewww!']
- Although this is keeping in with the comics, before Peter and MJ got a Relationship Upgrade.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Power Man and Iron Fist via Word of God
- Hologram: Fury appears to Spider-Man as one after his training session on the Helicarrier.
- Hot-Blooded: Nova is rather quick to act without thinking.
- Hot Scoop: In this adaptation Mary Jane is an aspiring journalism student and thinks she can get a job at Daily Bugle Communications, run by J Jonah Jameson.
- Hulk Speak: The Hulk, naturally.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: White Tiger and Iron Fist to the Venom-possessed Spider-Man.
- I Shall Taunt You: Spidey's preferred method of banter, with a sizeable dollop of Deadpan Snarker added.
- Idea Bulb: Played with. The lightbulb is over Peter's head, and a little chibi imaginary Spidey plugs it into Peter's ear to power it from his thoughts as he realizes something.
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Lots of speed swoosh, and trains passing by.
- Idiot Ball: Spidey's team as a whole has already seen Venom in action, been possessed (each member except White Tiger) by him and all of them are perfectly aware he is a shapeshifting symbiotic organism whose appearance changes according to his host. Yet, when a "mysterious" black Spider-Man shows up, not only is Peter the only one to recognize the symbiote, but when he points out the similarity, they dismiss it without any doubt, arguing that "Venom was huge, this is just a normal guy in a suit". Made even worse by the fact that Octavius, on the other hand, immediately recognizes his work.
- Imagine Spot: Lots and lots of them, including one where Spidey imagines how him trying to show up in costume and hide his true identity from Mary Jane. He also imitates the Christian Bale Batman voice.
Spider-Man: [running out of webbing as he falls from the Helicarrier] Okay, now I'm scared thwippless!
- In Name Only: The series is nothing like the comic book from which it borrowed its name and a few of its design choices.
- Ink Suit Actor: Agent Coulson is both voiced by and designed to look like the actor that plays him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Clark Gregg. Stan Lee as the school janitor also counts.
- Intrepid Reporter: In "Exclusive," MJ doesn't let a rampaging Hulk or an invisible energy being stop her from getting her interview with Spider-Man.
- Ironic Echo: In "Back in Black" Spidey starts the episode of sick, and eventually White Tiger warns him not to get her sick... guess what happens at the end of the episode.
- Jerk Jock/The Bully: Flash Thompson.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: J. Jonah Jameson. He compliments MJ on her video report for the Bugles contest, even though the video was very Pro-Spidey and he even gives her a new camera.
- Knight of Cerebus: Venom, after the relatively lighthearted first half of the episode he appears in, barring the parts with Octavius, the second half is accompanied by less Imagine Spots and jokes.
- Large Ham: Doctor Doom, naturally.
- Thor also counts, especially because he's voiced by Travis Willingham.
- Laser Sights: The SHIELD helicarrier has dozens, all pointed at Spidey the first time he comes calling.
- Legacy Character: It's mentioned that the White Tiger mantle is one that is passed down in Ava Ayala's family. Probably means we will hear of her older brother Hector (the original White Tiger in the comics) at some point.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted with Hulk in Exlusive, where Hulk ignores Spidey in favor of focusing on fighting Zzzax. Hulk even tells Spidey he doesn't want to fight "Bug Man".
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the three previous animated incarnations of Spider-Man; this series has yet to have anything dark.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Klaw from the Frightful Four!
- The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: On one side of the mirror, Peter. In the reflection, Spidey, alternately berating him for being a loser, and encouraging him to take Fury up on his offer to be trained by SHIELD.
- Marquee Alter Ego: The heroes tend to stand around in costume with their masks up or off, just as in the movies -- presumably so it won't be so jarring to fans when watching the movies.
- Martial Pacifist: Iron Fist, who is generally spouting philosophical advice, advises the symbiote to back up, lest he forget he's a pacifist.
- Morality Pet: Harry to Norman Osborn. While a he's Corrupt Corporate Executive and he kinda wishes he was more like Peter, he does seem to care for his son's well being.
- Mr. Imagination: Spidey. Not that Spider-Man's ever been particularly unimaginative, but it's usually spent on insulting his opponents or making jokes.
- Muggle Best Friend: Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson for Peter.
- Mythology Gag: In a couple shots of the trailer, the "Iron Spider" costume can be shown in all its red and gold Stark-designed glory.
Spider-Man: Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man reporting for duty!
- Spidey is still a terrible driver, but Lampshaded by Peter pointing out that in New York, driving is hardly necessary for getting from place to place, especially since he can thwipp thwipp.
- The first episode even has a reference to the first Iron Man movie (specficially, the scene where Tony tries to learn how to fly in his lab).
- Spider-Man sees a version of his Iron Spider armor, and comments it's been done.
- One of the SHIELD agents can be seen wearing a pair of webbed glider wings that look exactly like the ones made famous by Spider-Woman.
- White Tiger initially introduces Power Man as Luke Cage before he corrects her. In the modern comics, Luke no longer wears a costume or uses an alias while fighting crime.
- When Spider-Man first meets Curt Connors at SHIELD, the doctor has his right arm hidden up his sleeve, making it appear as though he's missing it. Most incarnations of Dr. Connors a.k.a. The Lizard are in fact amputees, having lost their arm during military service.
- The show's version of Dr. Octopus as handicapped and reliant on his mechanical arms may be a referance to the Marvel Noir universe's Dr. Octopus or to the mainstream Doc Ock, who is now wearing a cybernetic life-support system due to being crippled and dying from internal injuries sustained in his fights with Spider-Man.
- Likewise, Venom's origin seems to parallel the backstory of Marvel Adventures version of the villian, replacing the Tinkerer with Otto Octavius as its creator
- Venom's first host was Flash Thompson, who happens to be Venom's current host in the comics.
- A Stark tech invention "scatters molecules across multiple dimensions" -- including the one in which Peter Porker, the Amazing Spider-Ham exists. But the one that turns out to be important is the verse in which The Superhero Squad Show takes place.
- When watching the Hulk fight the energy villain Zzzax, MJ describes him as "Incredible".
- The device Harry has to contain the symbiote is similar to the device used by Spider-Man in Spider-Man Unlimited to hold his new costume.
- In the episode Back In Black, an imagine spot has Doop (of X-Force, later X-Statix) as Venom's sidekick
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Courtesy of Spidey's smart-aleck attitude.
Nova: The name is Nova, creep!
- Never Mess with Granny: Aunt May has Taken A Level In Badass. She is a tech at work, does yoga, and bowls, no longer the frail and helpless doting old lady.
- She even beats her nephew in a superhero fighting game.
- Never Say "Die": Danced around in some cases, averted in others as Spidey ruminates on dying within moments of joining SHIELD.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The team manages to lead a whole cadre of Doombots right onto the SHIELD Heli-carrier.
- Sam Alexander does some damage to Harry and Peter's relationship with a thoughtless comment about Harry's wealth.
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Harry while his father stares at a Spider-Man newscast.
Harry: ...and I thought I'd move to the sewers and train albino alligators for the circus. [[[Beat]]] ...Father of the year.
- Not So Different: Spidey says this about him and Hulk, since people also call Hulk a menace even though he's trying to do the right thing.
- Not So Stoic: Doctor Octopus loses it in "Why I Hate Gym", where, after being told that Spider-Man isn't at a High School, he starts destroying his own lab in rage.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Lampshaded when the team meets Dr. Doom.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Taskmaster lies to Doctor Octopus about Spider-Man's connection to the school so he can have another crack at the wall crawler.
- Pardon My Klingon/Unusual Euphemism: Spidey resorts to one when a sizeable chunk of the Osborn penthouse falls toward Harry and MJ
Spider-Man: Awww, schnitzel.
- Pet the Dog: Norman Osborn actually seems kind of angry that the Frightful Four attacked the school, showing what looks to be legitimate concern for his son.
- Phrase Catcher: "Thwipp Thwipp!" Said to Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
- Playing Possum: Spidey does this in his second battle against the Frightful Four.
- Powered Armor: Doctor Doom and Iron Man. Also, Spider-Man in the Iron Spider armor Iron Man gave him.
- Power Copying: Taskmaster
- Power Glows: Nova/Sam, at least when he is in flight and Iron Fist's hands glows when he is using his chi.
- Record Needle Scratch: The whole party at Harry's stops this way when Sam says, "Tell me you rented a lion!"
- Recursive Adaptation: The show is getting a comic adaptation called Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man starting in April.
- Retirony: Parodied. A Doombot in "Doomed!" says "three days 'til retirement" after he's slashed by White Tiger.
- The Rival: Nova and Spider-Man constantly bicker over who will lead the team, even though Spidey has more experience (a whole year).
- Rookie Red Ranger: Toyed with. Spidey is the newest member of SHIELD and lacks the others' discipline, but he's been a hero longer and has first hand experience in how to act when fighting threats.
- Rule of Cool: The Spider-Cycle. Though Spidey didn't like it at first.
- Running Gag: Spidey runs out of webbing at the worst possible moment.
- J. Jonah Jameson tirading on jumbotrons in the background of any episode. Said jumbotron is usually damaged or completely destroyed by the end of whatever fight occurs.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Thwipp Thwipp!
- Secret Identity: Peter, Danny, Luke, Ava, and Sam.
- Peter even endures being Stuffed Into a Locker by Flash Thompson on a regular basis to help preserve his.
- Lampshaded again by Spidey, as MJ offers to tell his side of the story against Jameson's "menace!" tirades. (See Imagine Spot).
- And yet again as Peter ponders Harry revealing to him that he's the new "Black Suit Spider-Man"... and why it's a terrible idea to reveal his true identity.
- Shock and Awe: Spidey has electro-webbing that, when grounded against metal, forms a high voltage circuit that effectively fries foes. Unfortunately, Spidey himself is part of the circuit and gets the shock as well.
- White Tiger Later gains electric claws.
- Sick Episode: "Back in Black". Somehow Spidey also manages to fight off Venom and Dragon Man while sick.
- Smug Snake: The Wizard, he's cocky and arrogant in both fights against Spidey, but he loses his cool when Spidey turns the table on the Frightful Four, especially in the second fight, where his team loses the numbers advantage.
- Split Screen: Once an Episode or more.
- Squee: Spidey's reaction to seeing Iron Man show up after taking out the Living Laser. Chibi Iron Man Cupids float around Spidey's head, complete with Heart Symbol
- The Starscream: Doctor Octopus to Norman Osborn.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Fury makes his entrance in the first episode. Bonus points for using the Helicarrier as a distraction.
- Sticky Situation: Pretty much the Trapster's shtick.
- Stuffed Into a Locker: By Flash Thompson.
- But Peter takes any chance he can get to turn the tables and stick Flash in the locker.
- Survival Mantra:
Spider-Man: I won't screw this up. I won't screw this up!
- Theme Tune Cameo: "Why I Hate Gym" has an Imagine Spot of Peter using his Spidey powers in Gym class and wowing everybody. Its background music is the "Ultimate Spider-Man" Theme Tune.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Spidey's notion before using his electro-webs for the first time -- on a tentacle-bot, while lying on electrified subway train tracks. As the subway is approaching.
Spidey: This will be pain.
- Title Drop: "The Ultimate Spider-Man" is tossed around to refer to Spidey's hypothetical SHIELD-improved self.
- Text actually appears around him when Fury says it!
- To Be Continued: Spidey himself says this word for word at the end of episode 1. Considering that it's a 2-parter, it makes sense.
- Too Dumb to Live: In episode 3, Spidey and his team decide to disobey Fury and attempt to capture a powerful villain to show they are good. The target they choose ? Doctor Doom. And as if that wasn't enough, they go to attack him in the middle of Lavteria, without provocation. Needless to say, Doom quickly comes up with a Xanatos Gambit to take advantage of the situation.
- Tracking Device: Used by the Trapster on Spidey in the first episode to track him to his school. Spidey finds the bug in the armpit of his costume, and flashes back to how it must've gotten there.
- Troll: An In-Universe example. Judging from Spidey's inner thoughts, he's willingly dumbing himself down with his jokes, refusing to correct others when they insult his intelligence. On at least one occasion he lets things escalate wildly (up to his team invading a foreign country without provocation, preparation, or support) turning down multiple chances to mitigate the damage, seemingly for kicks. Likewise, he's a capable leader, but refuses to act the part in favor of playing the clown.
- This may be partly to alleviate the tension between himself and Nova. And also because people take him less seriously and then are surprised when he shows what he's really capable of.
- Lampshaded as being Spidey's most potent weapon during "Field Trip" as he uses his words to trick Loki into changing Thor back.
- Troperiffic: The trope count went over seventy-five tropes represented before the second episode was finished. And there is no doubt the creative team is having a ball cramming as many tropes into the show as they can possibly get away with.
- A Twinkle in the Sky: Peter has an Imagine Spot of slingshotting Flash Thompson until he ends up one of these.
- Twinkle Smile: Nova has one in Episode 2.
- The Unexpected: Agent Coulson is under cover as the Principal of Spidey's school.
- Viewers are Morons/Viewers Are Goldfish: One of the primary criticisms of the show is that Peter's Imagine Spots sometimes do exposition that's already been explained, or in worse cases, explaining things that people will probably already have noticed five seconds ago (an example of this is when Peter finds out Harry is the new black Spider-Man, and after Harry hisses, Peter promptly points it out to the audience).
- Villain Takes an Interest: As in several other continuities, Norman Osborn takes a definite interest in both Peter and Spider-Man, sending the not-so-subtle message that he prefers Peter over his own son Harry.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Peter, but also the other heroes, after Nick Fury gets the idea to send them to school with Peter.
- We Can Rule Together: Taskmaster offers Spidey the chance to work with him over being brought to his employer because he says that he also worked on a team lead by Fury before Fury double-crossed him. Spider-Man's subsequent Imagine Spot is of him in an apron and cleaning Taskmaster's lair as Taskmaster lazes about on the couch in a pair of boxers.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Harry Osborn, as in most Spidey-continuities.
- Wild Teen Party: Harry throws one after feeling ignored by his father. It gets interrupted by the arrival of the Venom symbiote.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Spidey admonishes Loki for breaking the doors to Odin's chamber.
- White Tiger, Power Man, Nova, Iron Fist