Comics Anonymous

SPIDER-MEN #1-5 by G-Man

Brian Michael Bendis tackles a crossover between the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe in this 5-issue release – and as fan of Spidey from both universes I was hyped.

This crossover was ALWAYS going to throw up some interesting questions, other than the obvious “Would it work?” and the answer to that main question is yes, it does work.  It turns out to be an interesting release through the summer as Spider-man comes face to face with Spider-man.  That’s not something we’re new to with Marvel as different versions of Spidey have always crossed over but there was definitely something much more underlying with this one.  Mainly down to the fact that just last year, the Ultimate Universe version of Peter Parker’s Spiderman was killed off in a blaze of glory and probably one of the best Ultimate events I’ve read in recent years.  This lead to the introduction of Miles Morales….a new African American teenager set to take on the mantle of Spider-man in a Universe inspired by Peter Parker’s sacrifice.

While this series starts off with a face-off between Mysterio and Peter we get to see another evil plot unravel before the supervillains eyes, only this time we see Peter slip across into the Ultimate Universe and a whole new world that has the air of familiarity to it while being completely different.  What unfolds from here though is what you’d really expect, an initial fight between our two heroes before they team-up to try and take down Mysterio once and for all but it was never going to be that simple with the master of mystery.  We’ve soon got more battles on our hands as he messes with everyone’s head.

The main face-off is broken up with some key moments between the two Spider-men and even further when Peter heads to see Aunt May & Gwen who are still in their mourning period – resulting in all kinds of heartfelt and poignant results but an all-over confusion and anger gives way to the acceptance of fantastic events in a fantastic world.  The additional appearance of the Ultimates and Nick Fury combines in a long list of moments that have Peter questioning how the hell he ended up here and what else is the same/different between the worlds.  Couple that with Miles’ chance to see and fight alongside his inspiration and then gain his approval to continue as Spiderman and you have another of those key moments of revelation that could help shape the character in issues to come.

Bendis manages to keep all these different plot lines running in parallel as the main showdown between Mysterio and the superheroes from multiple worlds comes to its logical and expected conclusion.  As always, Bendis adds a hint of more crossover tales to come as Pete’s return to “our” universe sees him take a look for a certain Miles Morales and a teasing “The End??” graces the final panel.

The story is fun from Bendis and while it may have its likers and haters in equal measure – there’s no denying that as a summer run of 5-issues it’s kept up a steady momentum even with its multiple possibilities on the plot lines.  Backed-up with strong art from Sarah Pichelli as she weaves from set-piece to set-piece while including enough of those quiet, subdued moments that help balance out the story and the panels so well.  For me, the Death of Ultimate Spiderman was among the best events that Bendis has worked on and following that up with the arrival of a new Spiderman in the form of Miles worked much better than I imagined as the new Ultimate Spiderman.  I had high hopes for this and while it may not have reached the same levels – it entertained me for the duration.  So much so, that I’m hoping that the teaser of more becomes a reality sooner rather than later.



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