Welcome back readers, fans, followers, and True Believers from across the interwebs, to another exciting installment from your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Reviewer! This week we’ll be tackling an issue starring not one, but TWO Spider-Men, Earth-616’s Amazing Spider-Man Peter Parker and Earth-1610’s Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales, in what is Marvel’s first major crossover of both Spider-Men and of their Ultimate & 616 Universes. (Earth-616 is the designation for the mainstream Marvel Universe and Earth-1610 is the designation of the Ultimate Universe.)
Spider-Men #1, is a $3.99 Marvel Comic, rated Teen+, and originally released on June 13, 2012. Spider-Men #1 is written by Brian Michael Bendis and features art by Sara Pichelli, colors by Justin Ponsor, lettering by Cory Petit, and cover art by Jimmy Cheung. Spider-Men #1 also has three variant covers by Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, and Humberto Ramos, with Justin Ponsor and Edgar Delgado providing the colorist duties for them.
The issue opens, not unlike many a Spider-Man story before it, with Peter Parker web-slinging through New York City giving us a sweet opening monologue. He even stops a group of hoods leading the NYPD on a chase through the city without missing a beat. His internal-ode to the Big Apple is only interrupted when he sees an ominously strange flash of, in Peter’s words, “alien-like energy” burst out of an abandoned warehouse. Seriously, is there a supervillain real estate agent somewhere whose sole purpose is to pair up badguys with abandoned warehouses for all their dastardly hideout needs?! Anyway, upon further investigation, Peter discovers who is behind that flash of energy he saw, and he is not pleased to see Mysterio, or his big fishbowl helmet. After a brief skirmish, Peter ends up being sucked through a portal created by the same device that caused the flash of energy. When he comes to, he is completely disoriented and notices something is a bit off about his New York, and figures that it has to be Mysterio’s doing; it’s what he does, after all. Peter returns to the scene of the crime, and after a glass shattering entrance, he finds that the warehouse is now the loft of a poor young woman with a Spider-Man shaped hole in her skylight. Understandably shaken and confused, Peter leaves to clear his head and figure out what the hell is going on, when he spots a guy below being jumped. Peter does his hero thing and saves the guy. In a tip of the hat to Miles’ first appearance in Ultimate Fallout #4, the guy then promptly criticizes Pete for his lack of originality and all around “terrible taste” in costumes… and then there’s the small detail of him and everyone else knowing that Peter Parker IS Spider-Man! I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Aunt May. After being thoroughly freaked out, the issue ends with Peter aiming to head home, when suddenly- a wild Spider-Man appears! Peter Parker, meet Miles Morales, your alternate universe counterpart and successor. You boys play nice now, ya hear.
And away we go… to the art department! In my not-so-humble opinion, Justin Ponsor is the finest colorist in the business, and his color work is pretty much always Eisner worthy. You can expect no less from him here. Sara Pichelli, the regular series artist for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, is tasked with art duties for this issue & mini-series. Her work on Miles’ home title has been wonderful thus far, and she somehow manages to find a way to take things up another notch for Spider-Men #1. Simply put, Sara Pichelli’s art makes this book a joy to look at, and it’s also really cool seeing her renditions of 616 Spider-Man/Peter Parker.
For a five issue story based around the meeting of two amazing heroes, this issue perhaps takes a little longer than expected to get to the money shot of the two Spider-Men meeting, but considering how well it all plays out, I can hardly complain. Minor pacing issues aside, Spider-Men #1 is a great opening salvo in a mini-series that I, as well as Marvel, have high hopes and expectations for. If the rest of this series is as awesome as this first issue, then Spider-Men is going to be one hell of an adventure, and one I will be right there to read. If you’re a fan of EITHER Spider-Man, this crossover is a must read!!
I give Spider-Men #1 a well earned 4 Long-boxes out of five.
All images are property of Marvel Entertainment.