RU takes a look at the mini-series that finally brought the regular Marvel Universe in contact with its Ultimate counter-part, and wonders if well enough should have been left alone.
Almost 13 years ago Marvel launched Ultimate Spider-Man, followed closely by The Ultimates, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and Ultimate X-Men. This new, Ultimate, universe was a re-imagining of the Marvel universe (616) for the 21st Century. Ever since then, fanboys have been clamoring for the eventual 616/Ultimate crossover, and their dreams came true in 2012 with the publication of the Spider-Men mini by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.
Spider-Men was a five issue crossover series between the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and Miles Morales, the current Ultimate Marvel version of Spider-Man. The general gist is that through a comedy of errors, and some other poorly explained shenanigans, the 616 version of Mysterio accidentally sent Peter Parker through a wormhole to the Ultimate Universe. From there you have the predictable fight between the Spider-Men, Parker goes to visit the Ultimate May and Gwen, learns of his alter’s death, and is, in general, a downer. Finally, the Ultimates and the two Spider-Men team up to stop the 616 Mysterio and the Ultimate Mysterio, a cross dimensional avatar used by the 616 Mysterio (this is rather hard to keep track of, and I’m writing it) from doing whatever it was that he wanted to do and sent Parker home.
Yea, that’s basically it.
The writing in Spider-Men, a fantastic concept, falls flat in almost every way. There is little to know sense of danger in the story. There is never any feeling that there is a chance that Parker won’t go home, that the day won’t be saved, and that the risk to anything is real. Even the lack of action isn’t the biggest disappointment; Ultimate Spider-Man (or whatever its name is now) was always able to capture the emotional aspect of a story and work it. I have no shame, and I admit that the Parker run of Ultimate Spider-Man got me emotional many times, including Fallout, but this, this was a big bag of meh. Even the Parker/May/Stacy bits felt forced and unemotional. The highlight of the whole collection was the last page as Parker decided to do a search for Miles Morales in the 616, and the look on his face.
Spider-Men’s art is your typical super-hero art, nothing drastically bad about it but nothing notable either other than at least she’s not Greg Land.
Spider-Men is the new poster child for unimportant minis. There are no lasting effects in either universe and it only served as a springboard for its own sequel. I was upset that I didn’t preorder the hardcover months ago, now I am glad I suffered though the library queue instead; I’d hate to know what it felt like to spend money on this.