Spider-Men: When Peter Met Miles

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Peter Parker has had a rough couple of weeks, with switching bodies with Doctor Octopus and dying and such. Spider-Men is a glimpse to a more lighthearted adventure, with him entering the Ultimate Universe and meeting the Spider-Man of that reality.

The only thing that I really wasn’t too keen on this story was how Peter winds up getting into the Ultimate Universe. Longtime illusionist and lame villain Mysterio has acquired some sort of trans-dimensional gateway that Peter accidentally activated, sending him to another reality where he meets Miles. Mysterio now has the opportunity to kill the two Spider-Men.

While dodging Mysterio’s robot avatars and such, the two bond. Miles really looks up to Peter, who himself is amazed on how respected the alternate version of himself was by the people of Ultimate New York. Knowing that he doesn’t belong, the Ultimates agree to help find a way to send Peter home.

The best parts of Brian Bendis’ story are when Peter meets up with this world’s version of Aunt May and Gwen Stacy, both of them who are still mourning the loss of their Peter. Things are also odd for Peter, as he’s talking to a version of a girl he was deeply in love with, but whose life was cut short in his reality.

This really was really made the book for me were these exchanges. Peter and Miles could have not punched a whole thing through it; the story was fine without any action. There was plenty; the Spidey’s and the Ultimates team up to stop Mysterio. The ending is a little odd; Mysterio learned a lot about Peter Parker’s secret identity and such by watching him through his device, and the Ultimates wound up imprisoning him in their world to keep Peter’s secrets safe. But mostly it’s important for Miles and the Aunt May and Gwen that he knows; they were able to get closure knowing that somewhere there is a Peter very close to the one that they knew who is living a wonderful life. 

When that Peter got home he Googled Miles, and we don’t know what he found online. But between that and Mysterio stuck in the Ultimate world there are two plot points to pick up at a later date. 

The art on this was by Sara Pichelli, whose work is really growing on me. I read that she does most of her work on a Wacom tablet and I’m amazed about how thin her line work is. It’s very clean and looks great.

Getting back to Spider-Men, I give it a glowing recommendation  It’s more a Miles than a Peter story, but it doesn’t matter which Spider-Man you prefer. It’s a great Spider-Man story all around.

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Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1-4

I guess I still have a case of Avengers fever. Since the movie Hawkeye was based on the Ultimate version I decided to give Ultimate Comics Hawkeye a read.

Johnathan Hickman uses the mini series to not only set up future story lines, but as a way to show how much the title carrier is Nick Fury’s operative of choice, recounting their first meeting.

Hawkeye is sent into the war-torn South Eastern Asian Republic, only to find out that the country has released  a biological weapon to exterminate the world’s mutant population.The SEAR also developed  a serum to create their own army of meta humans allowing them to have the upper hand in future military conflicts.

Unfortunately for them, these lab-created meta-humans have revolted, lead by the Ultimate versions of Xorn and Zorn (who respectively lead their own groups called the Celestials and Eternals). It’s up to Hawkeye to get the serum that created Xorn, Zorn and company before they get out of control.

There was just something about this story that was off. I thought it would be more of a black ops type story, but it veered too into the Xorn/Zorn/Celestials/Eternals. It wasn’t that it was poorly executed, it really wasn’t what I was expecting.

On the other hand, Rafa Sandoval’s art was great. I’ve never read anything that he was on, and I must say I was impressed.

Ultimate Spider-Man: DEAD

Death of Ultimate Spider-Man

Yes, this may be a spoiler for some since comics don’t come out till tomorrow. Quite frankly this is not a spoiler since USA Today broke the story.

For those unaware, Marvel (specifically Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen) killed off Spider-Man. Not the traditional one, but the one featured in the Ultimate comics since 2000. The Ultimate line featured revised, more modernized versions of the classic Marvel characters, featuring an updated Spidey. This version was independent, and allowed the creators to explore and reimagine the character and his world.

Spider-Man’s run lasted 160 issues, and tomorrow it comes to an abrupt end. Peter Parker dies saving everyone who is important to him–Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and his Aunt May–from being killed at the hands of arch-rival Green Goblin. Ultimately, he sacrifices himself on their behalf.

The Spider-Man mythos is built on tragedy and responsibility. It all goes back to what his Uncle Ben told him:

With great power comes great responsibility.

Peter ultimately becomes Spider-Man to seek revenge upon the robber-turned-murderer of Uncle Ben. Peter ultimately had the chance to prevent this, but he didn’t. This failing became his cross to bare, with him finding comfort because he was using his “great power” to make sure that no one would have to lose a loved one the way he did.

As Spider-Man was forged in death, its only fitting that the character ends that way. Spider-Man exists only because he failed to prevent the death of a loved one. Its only appropriate that his life was bookended by ceasing to exist because he prevented the death of his loved ones.

Bendis gave a great quote in the previously mentioned USA Today article.

Bendis had kicked around the idea of killing him for years. As the Ultimate Universe progressed, he saw ways to do things that hadn’t been seen before or explore brand-new relationships.

“We had talked about what Spider-Man meant and what it could mean and what kind of new stories you could tell,” Bendis says. “If he died saving Aunt May like he couldn’t save Uncle Ben, then you really had something.

“It occurred to me that if Peter passed away in a meaningful way, he could be the Uncle Ben character to a new Spider-Man, which then continues it to be a real Spider-Man story. Then it became more than just, ‘Oh my God, you killed him!'”

Ultimately, Spider-Man redeemed himself, which is a fitting end for him. He may have failed Uncle Ben, but he didn’t fail Aunt May.

This differs from when DC killed off Superman in 1992, as they always intended on bringing back the last son of Krypton. Marvel swears up and down that this is the end of the line for the character.

The tricky part is where they decide to go from here. Marvel has already announced that in the fall there will be a new Ultimate Spider-Man, and Bendis hinted that the new one will be influenced by Peter’s death.

Hopefully they won’t bring in some clones, as the one featured in the regular series only lead to more headaches. Until then, rest in peace Ultimate Spider-Man.