Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Review: Spider-Men #4 (Spoilers Within)

(This review contains spoilers for "Spider-Men #4", so consider yourself warned. It also has spoilers for Ultimate Spider-Man #160, but seriously, if you don't know that Ultimate Peter Parker was killed off more than a year ago and now a character named Miles Morales is serving as Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe, then you've got bigger problems.)

The last time a comic made me cry was "Ultimate Fallout #1", which dealt with the fallout (duh) of the death of Peter Parker in Marvel's Ultimate Universe. It hasn't happened since then, but "Spider-Men #4" came damn close.

This is the issue that I feel like this series has been building to, the one that fans were really waiting for. In this issue, Peter Parker from the primary Marvel comics universe (aka 616) finally had a chance to talk extensively with Gwen Stacy and Aunt May, and it was as emotional as you'd expect.

It was incredible to watch Peter and Gwen bond over the similarities and differences between their worlds, all the while seeing how Peter was quietly agonizing over telling Gwen about the fate of 616 Gwen Stacy. Knowing what Ultimate Gwen has gone through, I'm glad that Brian Michael Bendis avoided having Peter tell her, at least for now.

The stuff between Peter and Aunt May was also great, if only because they were able to share the memory of Uncle Ben, who may have been different in both worlds, but shared so many qualities. Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Miles was kind of in the background, geeking out a bit over Peter, web-shooters, and the situation in general, which I thought was a nice touch, and also helped keep things a bit light.

All that said, my favorite part of the issue was Mary Jane's reaction upon seeing Peter. It's easy to forget how emotional her relationship with Ultimate Peter Parker was. And, unlike Gwen, she hasn't had Aunt May to lean on in the time since. So seeing Peter, even a version of him, had to be harder on her than anyone else, and it was done so well.

The only downside to this issue is that it's the second-to-last one in this mini-series. But given some of the developments in the issue, particularly between Peter and Ultimate Tony Stark, there may be more than one issue left of 616/Ultimate crossover action. At least, we can hope.

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