Thursday, 28 June 2012

New Beginnings: Spider-Men Issues #1 & 2

Peter Parker is a name synonymous with the name Spider-Man, and now there's a new kid on the block - and one alternate universe over  - with links to the same monicker: Miles Morales.

Due to the walls of reality that have separated them in the past their paths would never have crossed but now, thanks to Brian Bendis, we can see in this five-part series what happens when all that changes.

Issue #1 opens with a standard web-slinging evening with Spider-Man tidying up petty crime and generally keeping New York a safer and more respectable Big Apple. Admittedly, he’s not the most loved and even the police are wary of him. It’s a hard night’s work in a city that is almost fighting back against him, oblivious to the knowledge that under the mask is a normal person, Peter Parker.

Although he enjoys his life, it isn’t the easiest and is always moving and changing around him. So it’s not surprising that when a weird light in a sinister warehouse he has to investigate it...

Although not as criminally intent as previous situations, Spidey is forced face to fishbowl with an old foe. As with previous fracas his fight is short lived and one-sided except for the unexpected twist of throwing him into an alternate universe complete with an alternate Spider-Man and a city who loved and mourned that world's Peter Parker.

Sara Pichelli has drawn the series and although she is known for her work on the Ultimate Spider-Man universe I was quite pleased to see that she adopted the more familiar Spidey style - in turn aided by a similar style of lettering. It’s a nice touch considering that it follows the universe that it is currently set in. It would have been very easy to run it all in one style but the effort, for me, has been appreciated. When the universe changes, so does the artwork, which I felt was a good touch in helping the reader to transfer across too.

This all continues into the second issue as well. Different universes get attention to the different styles.

Whereas Bendis spent the first issue mainly on Peter and him being thrust into a completely alien yet totally familiar setting, the second issue is him trying, or at least fighting, to come to terms with it. There’s a lot for him to take in, especially as the Spider-Man he is confronted with is clearly younger and inexperienced, with slightly different powers too. What’s more is that the reactions he receives point to something untimely for his respective self in this universe.

It’s only when he comes to meet a sort of familiar face in Nick Fury that things start to fall into place. It’s also an insight into what could have been had his life gone a slightly different way in his universe too. To try and soften the blow Miles is tasked with bringing Peter up to speed on everything and the pair set off in a SHIELD helicopter only to be shot down setting up the second issue's cliffhanger.

Both issues are well presented, as mentioned before the artwork has particular attention to detail not only in the actually drawing but also the thought and consideration behind it.

The story so far is fairly straight forward, and if honest, I maybe expected more over two issues especially from Bendis. We are 40% through the limited series and I’ve not really felt any real tension or something to really get my teeth into as it’s all working to establish itself. I can’t help wonder what it’s leading to or where it will be taken, but then I equally have to think what can really be done in three issues? That said, the revelation the Earth-616 Mysterio is also the Ultimate Mysterio will have lasting repercussions and is a great twist for fans of either universe.

I would say take a light hearted approach to this one, regardless of if you’re into the Ultimate universe or not. I’m sure there is plenty more to this than meets the eye but so far it hasn’t grabbed me completely.

Matt Puddy should mention that he doesn't really read anything from the Ultimate Universe himself, despite repeatedly being advised that he is missing out on some fine, fine stories...

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