Spider-Man II #1 (Marvel Comics)
Years ago, Spider-Men hit and brought Peter Parker and Miles Morales together. It was pretty big deal; especially since Marvel previously made it well known that the regular Marvel universe and the Ultimate Universe were never, ever, going to cross over. But, now that the Ultimate universe is no more and Miles Morales is living in the “regular” Marvel universe post Secret Wars, the release of Spider-Men II, again written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Sarah Pichelli, is in a weird spot. Can you make this series work now that we have Peter and Miles teaming up more often in the regular Marvel universe?
Yes and no. As much fun as it is to see Peter and Miles hanging out together and fighting crime, the magic is a little lost now that both characters are in the same universe. Bendis’ script has fun mocking this point a little bit, but it just reminds you that Marvel hasn’t really explained how Miles made his way into the main Marvel universe in a clear way. That being said, the main point of Spider-Men II isn’t why Miles is in the same universe as Peter, it’s about the mystery of the OTHER Miles Morales who existed in the 616 universe before Secret Wars smashed all the universes together. And even in that regard, we don’t get a lot of forward momentum. This issue is strictly an opening issue for the miniseries that sets up the adventure for our two Spideys.
Now usually I’d be a little ticked off over something like this, but I have to admit, there’s a certain charm to the way Bendis has Peter and Miles bounce off one another. While it’s frustrating to find this issue only barely start to get to the main plot (Peter and Miles come across a weird portal like the one from the original Spider-Men, and a weird looking Taskmaster comes out), the real strength of this issue is Bendis’ dialogue for both characters. It’s pretty damn wonderful, and makes up for the slow moving plot of this issue.
Also making up for the plot is Sara Pichelli’s art, which I’ve sorely missed on Miles’ Spider-Man series. There’s plenty to like in this issue for fans of Pichelli: from an awesome battle between Peter Parker and the Armadillo to hilarious scenes with Miles and Ganke at school, Pichelli once again proves that she’s one of the best artists in Marvel’s stable with Spider-Men II. Hopefully she’s finished enough of the book to prevent any major delays, but at the same time, I also hope she doesn’t get to the point where she has to rush.
While Spider-Men II isn’t quite as compelling as the original, there’s still a lot to enjoy with this opening issue. It also helps that this issue can be read without any knowledge of any of Peter or Miles’ adventures, or reading the previous Spider-Men miniseries at all, which his a pretty rare feat for any comic. What it may not have in plot, Spider-Men II makes up for it with characterization and charm, which is fine enough by me for this issue.