Spider-Men #4


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Spider-Men #4


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Sara Pichelli
  • Inks: Sara Pichelli
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 8, 2012

Bendis and Pichelli deliver the kind of crossover that’s simultaneously quiet, big, and filled with emotion.

Unlike much of comic book fandom, I didn’t really bat an eye when they announced this series, crossing over the Ultimate and proper Marvel Universe. It was something that was inevitable under the right circumstances. I was indifferent, teetering on the edge of looking forward, because as much as I really like Miles Morales, it would be nice to see any kind of Peter Parker presence in the Ultimate world.

Bendis and Pichelli have been going strong in the first three issues, but it’s here in issue number four that the plot reaches an emotional release. The kind of moments that this type of project was made for – sure it’s fun to run "what ifs" in your head about who would win in a fight, but the real satisfying "what ifs" have to do with the heart (mushy, I know, but prove me wrong you big softies).

Without spoiling the details, in this issue characters from both universes get to have meaningful interactions that wouldn’t be possible in their own worlds. It’s wholly satisfying and in more than one way, a bit heart breaking. I would’ve gladly read a five issue miniseries of just this handful of scenes.

That’s not to say that the series as a whole is weak; it’s not. There is a whole lot going on but Bendis and team are able to whisk through it all with no wasted time or words. This series isn’t bloated or light, striking just the right balance of tone and pace.

Speaking of the team, artist Sara Pichelli is delivering her career best, portraying a colorful world full of emotion, danger, and wonder. It’s hard not to be impressed with the acting chops with which she imbues her characters. This is top-notch stuff, reminiscent of classic Spidey tales and the former status quo of Ultimate Spider-Man. I didn’t realize how much I miss Ultimate Gwen, May, and MJ until they showed up here.

This is a series that, when all is said and done, will be a fine collection that illustrates the best of both worlds. With one issue left, it feels right for something this massive to happen so quickly. Like all the biggest moments in your life, they happen in a flash and define you forever. I have a feeling that this exercise will inform Miles Morales as a character for decades to come and that is something that’s truly exciting.

I am so grateful that Marvel has taken this “forbidden” leap across universes in a classy and confined way. This isn’t the bombast of Ultimatum (“everything will change”) or visual noise of Fear Itself (“everything will change”). This is something that’s seemingly small in comparison, but so much closer to the heart, that any changes coming out of it will be bigger than any continuity shift or new costume.

I urge fans of both Peter Parker (of any universe) and/or Miles Morales to pick this up if you haven’t been. It cuts to the chase of what makes both universes work and how the legend of Spider-Man can endure change as long as that motto rings true (you know what I’m talking about). This will make a fine addition to any shelf and a story I would share with the uninitiated.  

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