Appearing in "Ultimate Commitment"
- Shirley Washington (First appearance)
- Devon Lewis (First appearance)
- Desiree Winthrop (First appearance)
- Professor Ramirez (First appearance)
- Jessica Carradine (First appearance)
- Anna Watson
- Desiree Winthrop (First appearance)
- Aunt May (Recap)
- Uncle Ben (Recap)
- Burglar (Recap)
- Jackal (Miles Warren) (Recap)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Recap)
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker (Recap)
- Gary (Only appearance)
- NPC security guards (Only appearance)
- Mr. Hanks (Only appearance)
- Wendall (Only appearance)
- Stark Enterprises (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Brother Vito (Mentioned)
- Seward Trainer (Mentioned)
- Reed Richards (Mentioned)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- New York
- Portland, Oregon (Mentioned)
- Spider-Man's New Suit (First appearance)
- Amanda's robotic pets
Synopsis for "Ultimate Commitment"
Visiting the graves of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, Ben Reilly thinks about how May used to tell him every morning was the first day of the rest of his life. He always thought it was a little corny until now.[Continuity 1] Ben has recently learned that he is the real Peter Parker and not a clone, giving him a new purpose in life.[Continuity 2] He wishes that his aunt and uncle were still alive today, as he could really use their advice. He remembers how they raised him as one of their own after his parents died.[Continuity 3] He also thinks about how a radioactive spider changed his life forever, making him become Spider-Man. However, at first young Peter Parker used his powers to find fame and fortune. That all changed when he refused to catch a burglar who later went on to murder his Uncle Ben.[Continuity 4] Still feeling the guilt of letting his Uncle Ben down, Ben Reilly has decided to become Spider-Man again and make up for that one moment of inaction.[Continuity 5]
That's when Ben's spider-sense begins going off, alerting to him to a mugging happening outside of the cemetery. Leaping up into the trees, Ben tries to snare the thief with his web-shooters. Unfortunately, he is out of webbing and has to tackle the thief to stop them from escaping. After stopping the mugger he is thanked by the flower vendor who was robbed. That's when Ben bumps into Anna Watson, the aunt of Mary Jane, Peter Parker's wife.[Continuity 6] She mistakes Ben for Peter and asks if Mary Jane is with him. Playing along, Ben tells her that Mary Jane is already in Portland and that he is in New York closing up some loose ends.[Continuity 7] He then tells her that he came to pay his respects to Aunt May and Uncle Ben. However, Anna has noticed Ben's tattered clothes, and scruffy appearance and asks if everything is okay. "Peter" assures her they are and quickly makes an excuse to leave. As he catches a bus, Reilly feels terrible for deceiving Anna Watson.
However, this is going to be a constant problem as long as he and Peter Parker look similar. This causes him to think of how crazy his life has been over the five years. After a battle, his clone -- thinking he is the real Peter Parker -- dumped Ben's body in a smokestack thinking him dead.[Continuity 8] He lived on the road for five years until Aunt May's health, he re-entered into the life of Peter Parker and later became the Scarlet Spider.[Continuity 9] Now that Peter has retired as Spider-Man, Ben has stayed in New York to try and figure out the next stage of his life.
Elsewhere a mysterious man arrives at a closed down movie theater. He commands a robot named Shirley to break the lock on the front door and goes inside. Inside he finds an alien landscape and wonders what he has gotten into. That's when his mystery employer's face appears in a massive holographic project. He tells the man -- named Armada -- that he is being hired to break into the Neural Port complex and recover the Digital Imagery Transmission Chip for him. Once he has the chip, this mysterious employer will have what he has long craved. Meanwhile, Ben Reilly finds himself trying to come up with a do-it-yourself method of creating more web-fluid as he can't just go to the lab at Empire State University for fear of being identified as Peter Parker. Going to a shadier part of the city he buys the over-the-counter ingredients he needs to develop new fluid. However, the cost takes a huge chunk out of his money, leaving Reilly to realize that he needs to get a job. To make matters worse, when he returns to the hotel where he has been staying the clerk at the desk reminds him that payment for his weekly deposit is coming due. After scrounging for the necessary make-shift utilities, Ben successfully mixes a new batch of webbing.
Hungry, Ben begins looking for somewhere to eat on the cheap, and stops at the Daily Grind a coffee shop near Centennial University. However, he is twenty five cents short of the full price. That's when the owner, Shirley Washington, tells Ben that the difference is on her as she can't let a man go hungry. Ben accepts the charity, but doesn't like the idea. Just as Ben sits down to eat his meal, a university student named Desiree Winthrop comes in with her entourage enter the coffee shop. She is a fashion student who just put on a successful clothing display at the university. Desiree has issue with the fact that Ben is sitting at her usual table, but as he is finished eating he gives it up for her. On his way out, Ben tells Shirley that he will pay her back for what he owes. At that moment, at the Neural Port Complex, Armada uses his robotic drones to take down the exterior security. Meanwhile, Ben Reilly takes inspiration from Desiree and breaks into the fashion department at Centennial University. There he goes through the scrap cloth to find materials to fashion himself a new Spider-Man costume. He decides to forego the classic design for a new design but finds it difficult to think up of a suitable design. As Ben begins working on a new costume design, Armada takes down the security at the Neural Port Complex. After putting the finishing touches on the costume, Ben spots a bottle of hair dye and decides to make another change, this time to his physical appearance.
Back at Neural Port, Professor Ramirez runs a test on the DIT chip, impressed with the way it can create lifelike three dimensional images for all to see. After a successful test, Professor Ramirez is congratulated by his colleague, as this technology will revolutionalize the entertainment industry among other professions. That's when Armada comes bursting into the lab who has come to steal the chip. By this point, Reilly has put on his new Spider-Man costume and decides to go out web-slinging for the first time in his new identity and finds the experience liberating. As he swings across the campus of Centennial University, he is spotted by a student named Jessica Carradine. Jessica is glad to finally catch Spider-Man in action and abandons her date to find her camera. She manages to catch a photo of the wall-crawler just as he stops at the Neural Port building. His spider-sense goes off and he notices the female photographer, but figures the danger is actually coming from inside the building. The web-slinger's hunch is correct as Armada has just got his hands on the DIT Chip. He is about to execute Professor Ramirez when the wall-crawler interrupts. Furious, Armada unleashes all his robotic drones on the web-slinger. When Spider-Man tries to web them up, his web-shooters jam forcing him to smash the robots with his bare hands. This upsets Armada who has an emotional attachment to his creations. Not wanting any more of his drone destroyed, Armada grabs the Professor and the floating sphere containing the DIT Chip. Unclogging his web-shooters, Spider-Man goes after Armada. As they struggle in the air, the wall-crawler manages to snag both Ramirez and the chip, but expends all his webbing breaking their fall. That's when Armada's drones swoop down and take the chip and flee with their master.
After Professor Ramirez explains what the chip is for, the wall-crawler promises to try and get it back. When Ramirez offers to pay Spider-Man $100 for saving his life, the wall-crawler turns down the much needed money and asks for a quarter instead. Soon, Armada delivers the chip to his employer who turns out to be Spider-Man's long time foe, Mysterio. At that same moment, Ben Reilly returns to the Daily Grind to pay back the quarter he owes Shirley Washington. She almost doesn't recognize him with a shaved face and bleached hair. When he tells her that even though he's broke, he doesn't have to look that way. Hearing that he is looking for a job, Shirley explains that she just fired some thieving employees and offers him a job, starting the next day. Ben agrees and convinces her to give him an advance on his salary so he can pay his bills. After this bit of good fortune, Ben pays a visit to the grave of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben to tell them the good news. Leaving flowers, he tells them that after everything he endured that day he realizes that there is still a need for Spider-Man and that he will still live up to his life lesson: With great power comes great responsibility.
- Everyone thinks Aunt May died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. However, the woman who died and is buried next to Uncle Ben is an impostor as revealed in Spider-Man #98.
- Ben was recently told that he was the real Peter Parker in Spectacular Spider-Man #226. However, this was a lie orchestrated by the Green Goblin as revealed in Osborne Journals #1.
- These are actually Peter Parker's memories, although the clone has memories of Peter's life all the way up to Amazing Spider-Man #149. Peter Parker's parents died while on a government mission about 20 years prior to this story as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- Ben Parker was murdered by the burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- Peter Parker retired as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229. Although Ben continued being active as the Scarlet Spider he was forced to give up that identity when his reputation was destroyed in Web of Scarlet Spider #2.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- At the time of this story, Peter and Mary Jane had moved to Portland, as seen in Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #1–4.
- The Jackal created a clone of Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #149 and they fought to the apparent death. Peter dumped what he thought was a dead body in a smokestack in Amazing Spider-Man #151. How the clone survived is explained in Osborne Journals #1. As stated above, Ben Reilly is mistaken by thinking Peter Parker was the clone and he is the real Spider-Man.
- The real Aunt May suffered a stroke in Amazing Spider-Man #391 but was secretly replaced with an impostor during the next issue. Ben's return and adoption of the Scarlet Spider identity is a brief synopsis of the Power and Responsibility and The Exile Returns story arcs.
Power and Responsibility Web of Spider-Man #117 Amazing Spider-Man #394 Spider-Man #51 Spectacular Spider-Man #217 The Exile Returns Web of Spider-Man #118 Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Spider-Man #52 Web of Spider-Man #119 Spider-Man #53
Events in this story occur behind the scenes that affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Mark Bagley designed the new Spider-Man costume.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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