Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Spider-Men #2

Spider-Men #2 By Bendis / Pichelli 

That's Spider-MEN, not Spider-MAN. Over a decade since its high profile launch, Marvel have finally decided to published a crossover between the 'Ultimate' re imagining of the Marvel Universe, and the regular one that we all know and love. And as the character who launched the line, not to mention one who is currently celebrating his 50th anniversary, what better choice of star than Spider-Man. After last months issue one proved to be more prelude than full fledged instalment, this issue moves the story considerably forward, as we are treated to an extended meeting of Peter Parker and his alternate Universe replacement Miles Morales.

Characters who should be allies fighting over a simple misunderstanding is so common in superhero comics at this point that it is pretty much a trope, and with this in mind it is hardly surprising that the two 'Spider-Men's first meeting ultimately resulted in such a thing. Peter and Miles' duel in this issue does feel perfunctory and a little unnecessary, but it is good fun nonetheless and a logical way of bringing the two characters together. Miles' eventual victory over Peter could be classed as a little unrealistic, but given Peter's confusion it seems fair enough. The rest of the issue was just as believable, and I thought that Peter's gradual realisation as to his surroundings was handled very well.

The plot of this series remains a little murky however. Mysterio's involvement is a plus, and so far his Ultimate incarnation has been handled with aplomb, yet his place in the issue seems to guarantee the sort of enigmatic plotting that can lead to frustrating among readers. The excitement around Peter's entry into the Ultimate Universe is enough to sustain interest for the time being, but a more substantial narrative will be required in later issues. While Bendis' characterisation is very solid throughout, this issue also feels lacking in a little heart at times. Although once again, this will surely come to fruition later in the series, in these early issues it would have been pleasing to display a little more emotional response from the characters, even if it is only hinted at. 

These are both minor nitpicks though, and for the most part this is an encouraging issue after what felt like a half baked opening chapter. Bendis' script is smart, Pichelli's artwork is glossy and dynamic, and the plot is capably maintaining a constant air of intrigue. This is not a series anywhere near approaching classic status yet, but this second part feels like a solid foundation to build on.


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