Most of the characters in the Ultimate universe are versions found in Marvel's main universe. There's a Nick Fury, a Captain America, and so on. But the new Spider-Man is not a previously established character. It's a completely original creation by writer Brian Michael Bendis. The new Spider-Man is a young man named Miles Morales. Morales is the son of an interracial couple, making him half hispanic and half black.
This has set off a discussion in comic fans on why this is being done. Several media outlets had Bendis talking about how great this is since those of racial minorities will have a major character to look up to. Some fans have countered why does the color of a hero's skin matter?
And I was thinking about how someone's skin color isn't just...well, a color. It often means they are raised differently. In a different neighborhood, with a different type of family, different religion, different challenges. Could you see a white, middle class Peter Parker, living in a suburb, dealing with gangs or drug dealers (outside of beating them up as Spider-Man)? No. It just wouldn't be a problem. But could a black Spider-Man living in a more urban part of town? Most certainly.
Now could this be a cheap ploy for publicity? Sure. But I'm optimistic. This could be a real good chance for Marvel to tell some unique stories to a mostly white, 20-50 something male audience.