What Bendis does, right from the start–which Lee didn’t do–is make Peter Parker the hero; sure, Bendis is dealing with more pages so he has more time, but it took Lee issues to form Peter Parker. Bendis does it right away here. Maybe he does it a little easily–I mean, the scene in the mall with Peter getting bullied while mooning over Mary Jane, it does the trick immediately.
I remember the first time I read Ultimate Spider-Man, I was just shocked how much of Uncle Ben we got to see. Uncle Ben rarely hangs around in any retelling, so having him be a character–one to care about past an innocent victim–is a fantastic move on Bendis’s part.
The issue sets a lot up–Peter, Mary Jane, Harry, Norman Osborn… but never overdoes the set-up.
It’s no wonder it was such a sensation.