Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Spider-Men #1

FROM THE PUBLISHER

History is made as Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales meets the one and only Peter Parker, your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!

SYNOPSIS

Peter Parker, from "The Amazing Spider-Man" (the comic, not the upcoming movie) is web-swinging at night, monologue-ing an ode to New York, when he breaks up a car-jacking. The cops try to arrest him, but he swings off and sees a mysterious light burst out of a warehouse. He swings to it, drops in, and encounters Mysterio. A fight ensues, one that Spider-Man quickly shuts down by webbing up Mysterio.

The light is still going, and Mysterio manages to free his hand and take a shot at Spider-Man. Spidey quickly dodges it, and the bullet hits the generator creating the light, which causes a vortex to spiral out of control.

When Spidey comes out the other side, it's daytime and the skyline of New York is completely different. He thinks it might be one of Mysterio's illusions, but dismisses that, and realizes it was the glowing light vortex. He drops into a skylight at the warehouse, but here it's not an abandoned warehouse, it's an apartment building. He makes his way out to find some answers. On the way, he breaks up a fight, and the man he saves thanks him, but tells him his costume is in poor taste, because it was Peter Parker's. Spidey is confused, and swings off to find some answers, when he runs into... Spider-Man!

REVIEW

It's so easy to be cynical about books like this. To pick up "Spider-Men" and think "Holy crap, what a cheap cash-grab! An Amazing-Ultimate crossover?! Is Marvel totally out of ideas?" Those may all be accurate thoughts, but they miss the point: this book was really good.

Brian Michael Bendis got to write Ultimate Peter Parker for more than a decade, and he brings that same joy, that same quippy nature, to Amazing Peter Parker, in both of the universes. The interactions with Mysterio were well done, and made it pretty clear that this was the Mysterio from the Ultimate universe, somehow in the Amazing universe. And then there's the big cliffhanger moment at the end.

Sara Pichelli's art really brought the story to life. I loved her run on Ultimate Spider-Man, and I'm glad to see she's back and playing with these characters again. Her perspectives in the swinging scenes really added something to what could've easily been a series of relatively static shots.

I think my only complaint with the issue would be that for something that's a five-issue miniseries, it took awhile to get to that big moment in the end, and not a whole lot happened, action-wise. Yes, Spidey's inner monologue was a good read, but it didn't tell us much we didn't already know. Hopefully things will move quicker in the next few issues.

I did like the decision to have Amazing Spider-Man end up in the Ultimate universe, rather than the other way around. It leads to so much more dramatic tension, including Peter Parker having to deal with being in a world where he's dead (and revered as a hero) and likely encountering Gwen Stacy. Dropping Miles into the Amazing universe wouldn't have had as big a culture shock for him.

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