In what may be the publisher's most aggressive move in the courtship of digital comics, Marvel announced this week plans to release all chapters of its much hyped "The Death of Spider-Man" storyline as digital downloads the same days the print versions go on sale in retail shops. The story begins in February and runs through Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates, and print copies are priced at $3.99. Unfortunately, so are the digital versions."The Death of Spider-Man" was dreamed up by Marvel's Ultimate Universe creators, Mark Miller and Brian Michael Bendis, and in the best tradition of the Ultimate line, is being billed boldly as "the most controversial comic book story of the century."

Digital editions of each chapter will be made available through the Marvel Comics App, developed by comiXology for use with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices. While the day and date nature of "The Death of Spider-Man" is absolutely a step in the right direction, pricing digital comics at $3.99 has been met with criticism by fans and industry observers.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #153 [DoSM Prelude]

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

Pencils by SARA PICHELLI & DAVID LAFUENTE

Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN

Rated T+ ...$3.99

On-Sale-2/2/11

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #154 [DoSM Prelude]

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

Pencils by SARA PICHELLI & DAVID LAFUENTE

Cover by ED MCGUINNESS

Rated T+ ...$3.99

On-Sale-2/23/11

ULTIMATE AVENGERS VS. NEW ULTIMATES #1 (of 6)

Written by MARK MILLAR

Pencils & Cover by LEINIL YU

Rated T+ ...$3.99

On-Sale-2/9/11