Comic Review: Spider-Men #1 / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Art: Sara Pichelli / Publisher: Marvel / Release Date: Out Now
What’s better than one Spider-Man? Two Spider-Men! With Spider-Men #1, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli (currently the superstar creative team behind Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) make worlds collide, as the mainstream Earth-616 continuity and the Ultimate universe meet in one of the most highly anticipated comic events of the year. Marvel has encouraged the ever-increasing hype around the project and Bendis and Pichelli succeed in reminding us why we all fell in love with Spider-Man in the first place.
Spider-Men #1 begins with Peter Parker, in the Earth-616 universe, lamenting his poor luck with girls while his inner monologue reveals that New York City is really his one true love. It’s classic Spidey, full of high-flying acrobatics, (mostly) clever quips, clashes with well-meaning NYPD officers, and an over the top villain. Mysterio is the issue’s Big Bad but there’s something not quite right about the mystical bubble-head that Spidey encounters. In true Spider-Man fashion, what should have been a routine villain stomping goes terribly awry and Peter Parker finds himself face to face with someone wearing frighteningly similar spandex jammies.
Bendis and Pichelli, currently working their magic on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man with grade-schooler Miles Morales in the title role, are the perfect pair to bring together the old and new Spider-Men. The Ultimate version of Spider-Man has been a bit of a throwback to the good old days of the misadventures of the teenaged Peter Parker, as Miles similarly struggles to balance school, family, and vigilantism with varying degrees of success. At its heart, the figure of Spider-Man was originally about navigating the murky waters of adolescence and the character of Miles Morales has more in common with Peter Parker than he thinks.
Considering that in Miles’ world, Peter Parker died a hero’s death right before his very eyes, it’ll be interesting to see how the Ultimate versions of Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, and Nick Fury deal with the Earth-616 Peter Parker’s dimensional transgression. Readers will have to wait until the second issue to witness the real clash of Spideys, as the first chapter focuses largely on setting up the collision of worlds but the mini-series gets off to a pitch perfect, web-slinging, wise-cracking start.