No, no, don’t change that channel, you read that right, Spidermen. No it is not a spelling error it is in fact the title of a five issue ark for our friend The Amazing Spiderman.
First a bit of background. As many of you know Marvel Comics runs two separate realities, the main 616 continuity and the Ultimate universe. While I don’t much care for Ultimate I had to play a bit of catch up to get what was going on. In the Ultimate universe Peter Parker’s identity was known to his aunt as well as several close friends. It became public knowledge however when he went on his one last spree to save all of New York before his death in the arms of Aunt May as he swooped in to save her life.
With the death of Peter Parker in such a splendidly heroic sacrifice he became the idol of New York. Kids wear his mask; he’s got his own balloon, the whole shebang. This also leaves the opening for Miles Morales to become the new Spiderman. A young boy from the rougher side of New York Miles has a few powers of his own like an envenomed touch that can paralyze his opponents, the severity of which Miles is learning to control.
Anyways, our normal, adult Spidey, runs into Mysterio and after a tussle ends up falling through a portal into the Ultimate Universe. Swinging around he notices the skyline is drastically different from what he is used to. People are acting strangely, saying he’s a jerk and is dishonoring the last man to wear that costume. Horribly confused Pete runs into a swinging Miles and the two fight, Peter horribly confused and Miles just pissed that someone would pretend to be his martyred icon. After many half completed sentences SHIELD takes things into their own hands. Everyone figures out that Peter is from the other comic seri- er.. Alternate Universe, and drunk Tony Stark begins crunching numbers.
Meanwhile Peter is being told stories and telling stories of his own. Eventually he goes out to visit Aunt May and Gwen Stacy (in Ultimate she didn’t die and lives with Peter and May) which goes over just as well as you’d expect. The boy you raised who died in your arms shows up at your doorstep seven years older... yeah there’s a fair bit of freak out that is very well done. More stories and comparing and a tearful good bye later and we cut to Mysterio being an idiot, being captured, being held in the Ultimate Universe (since he now knows Peter is Spiderman) and Parker returning home only to sit aghast at his computer when he searches up for his version of Miles Morales.
At only five issues Spidermen is a fairly quick and enjoyable read. The Spiderman brand has ever been a better source for an emotionally driven story rather than an action driven one and Spidermen has emotional drama in spades, almost none of it poorly executed. When Peter realizes he’s died in this world he immediately reaches out to his loved ones to reassure them that he is still alive in another place at least. Of course Aunt May and Gwen freak out on him, calling him an imposter and accusing him of tormenting them for his own sick amusement. At the same time he behaves as one would expect. He leaps to console his loved ones without thinking about the consequences of doing so.
The back and forth between the two worlds is handled very well. Gwen surprised that the punkish Mary Jane she knows is a successful model in another world. When she inquires about herself of course, Peter quickly changes the subject. Peter is surprised to learn that he and Kitty Pryde dated for some time in the Ultimates universe. Nick Fury is interested to learn that his alternate version is white and even more paranoid than he is.
Really the only negative note to the story would be Mysterio himself. In the last issue he figures that with Spiderman trapped on the other side he need only destroy his portal equipment and he’d be rid of the wall crawler for good. Unfortunately his curiosity gets the better of him and because he opens the portal again he is captured and Spiderman returns to his home.
Overall a very entertaining story with emotional highs and lows that sets up the Miles Morales mystery and story for the main continuity. Very well done and definitely worth reading.