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(Image credit: PlayStation/MKIceAndFire on YouTube)

I was not prepared for Peter Parker’s haircut in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 to send me on a 23-year-old nostalgia trip, but this unexpected little Easter egg hit my latent Spidey fandom way harder than any deep -ut costume or character cameo ever could.

This is where I give a very minor early game spoiler warning. One of the earliest missions in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 flashes back to the high school days of Peter Parker and Harry Osborn, with a relatively brief stealth sequence where the pair break into the school after hours in an effort to retrieve a thumb drive from Pete’s locker.

I won’t get into too much more detail about what happens in-game – you can play it for yourself as of today, after all – but I was pretty immediately taken aback by Pete’s hair in this sequence, which is a pretty distinctive middle part style with a bit of shag around the sides. It also happens to be the exact same hair style that a high school-aged Peter Parker wore in the legendary Ultimate Spider-Man comic series.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Ultimate Spider-Man was first published in 2000, and offered a break from the complicated continuity of mainstream Marvel comics with a fresh start in a new universe and a new Spider-Man. Comic book reboots are a dime a dozen, but writer Brian Michael Bendis (one of the best Spider-Man writers) and penciller Mark Bagley (one of the best Spider-Man artists) made this run something special with a grounded, modernized take on Peter’s high school days and compelling reimaginings of Spidey’s classic foes.

The comic series also hit its height around 2002, just as the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film was making a new generation of kids curious about comic books. I was a part of that generation, and I dove into Ultimate Spider-Man in a big way after that movie – for my money, that comic run remains the definitive take on Spider-Man to this day.

A big part of why Ultimate Spider-Man hit so hard was that it spent a lot of time ‘behind the mask,’ so to speak. Spider-Man stories have always been at their best when they put Pete’s duties as Spidey at odds with his personal life, and Ultimate Spider-Man had just the right amount of cheesy high school drama to make it feel relatable and modern back in the mid-2000s. The most memorable issue of the whole run remains the one where Pete tells his secret identity to Mary Jane – no web-slinging, no super-villains, just 22 straight pages of a couple of teenagers exploring their relationship with each other.

That’s why it’s so delightful to see this kind of Easter egg throwback to Ultimate Spider-Man come not in the form of anything superheroic, but rather in a slightly dorky haircut for a young Peter Parker. For me, two decades of real-world nostalgia made the in-game flashback feel all the more meaningful.

If you want to see some of the more traditional Easter eggs, check out our guide to all the Spider-Man 2 suits. 

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 Opinion One small mission in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 hit my nostalgia centers in a massive way  Read More