Comicscape: Spider-Men (

By:Joel Rickenbach
Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why is it every time I go to write a Comicscape column recently it always involves some sort of controversy or mixed feelings? It's partially my fault, after all, I'm the one picking the subject matter, but keeping your finger on the four-color pulse of the comic world sure does court some drama. This week is no different, although it's not as hot button of a topic as Before Watchmen or gay marriage (Astonishing X-Men #51 out today!), but it is something fans have been a bit skeptical about.
At Comic Con circa 2005, Then Marvel Editor-In-Chief, Joe Quesada was asked by Newsarama if there would ever be a crossover between the “Regular universe” and the Ultimate universe. Quesada, apparently prepared for such fan boy questions, responded that he would “rather close down one universe than have them cross over because it meant they were officially out of ideas." When Spider-Men was announced a few months back, the internet had a field day proclaiming Marvel was officially out of ideas. However, Quesada is no longer EIC, and the motivations behind the crossover seem to be far more than fan service. At least, I hope they are…
Once we get past the fact that original universe Peter Parker will be meeting up with Ultimate universe Miles Morales, the next question that comes to mind is- too soon? Sure, Peter Parker has been kicking around since, well, Stan Lee was a strapping young lad, but Miles Morales is barely 10 issues into his existence. When you approach a story like this it’s usually expected that these two versions of the same hero will eventually have the time to swap war stories and bond “Wait, the Prowler is your uncle? Hilarious!” But I feel that Brian Michael Bendis is going for a different kind of story, and I think he’s on to something.

Spider-Man, simply put, is the soul of the Marvel universe. For better or for worse he’ll always be there, slinging webs and cracking jokes. Despite any storylines that change things for a brief amount of time, Spider-Man will also always be hard luck Peter Parker. We’ll always identify with him more than any other character because he’s the most human, the most like us. I do believe that Miles Morales is here to stay, he is a product of the world we live in today, and by nature is the new soul of the Marvel U, Ultimate or otherwise. He’s not going to replace, just coexist, and who better to show him the ropes than the original web head? One of the best aspects of the Miles Morales Ultimate Spidey, is his reverence of the departed Ultimate Peter Parker. Ultimate Pete didn’t make it as far as regular Pete, but he left his mark on the world, and certainly on young Miles Morales. So, instead of Miles communing with Ultimate Peter’s ghost, or Marvel finding some lame way to briefly bring him back, Miles will get the full-on web spinning experience from a spider of a different color. One who has seen and done everything, one who didn’t go out in a tragic blaze of heroics, but one who has dealt with the great power and responsibility all the way through to his adult life. Speaking of “With great power comes great responsibility”, as a life long Spider-Man reader, I have to admit to being a bit worn out on that phrase. How cool would it be if Peter Parker gave Miles Morales a new mantra? One that is backed up by a life of living by the original? That also speaks to my other wish for this series- I want it to count. We get far too many crossovers and events that end with “Well that was fun, now back to business” (see just about every tie-in book for DC’s Night of the Owls). I want Peter to leave a lasting impression on Miles, and vice versa. Miles using his experience with Peter as a point of inspiration would be fascinating, and Peter seeing a fresh take on what he does and who he is in Miles would be a great way to inject some life into the regular Spider-Man books. Yes, Amazing Spider-Man has been pretty good as of late, but I can’t help but feel that the status quo is just a reshuffled deck. And, yes, I realize just about everything I wrote above is pretty much a pipe dream. C’est la vie.


What about the book itself? Well, we're only one issue in, and it just hit shelves last week, but that's part of the problem. I was hoping that we would be past the "it's early" phase in the first issue. Some spoilers ahead- The biggest problem is it takes the entire first issue for Peter and Miles to meet, and that's only on a "To be continued" splash page. We have to wait at least another month to get to the stuff we really want to read. Why not make the first issue double sized? That way we can get past the set up, and into the meat of the story. As it stands it's just a big tease, and as a single issue can't really stand on its own. I know that's not uncommon these days, but I can't help but think back to last week's column about Action Comics #775, and how much story that issue packed into just 23 pages. There is an interesting bit of  history here- outside of being part of the ensemble cast of various Avengers books, this is the first time Bendis has written the regular universe Spider-Man. There's some solid storytelling on display here, however it feels a bit too "business as usual", as we have our hands held pretty tightly throughout. You almost get the feeling Spidey is encountering Mysterio for only the second time or so, instead of the villain-weary hero we know him to be. Credit does have to go to Sara Pichelli's art, her skylines and web-slinging are second to none, and her visual interpretation of Bendis' action is spot on. Overall this is a very engaging idea, and deserves to be handled with the utmost of care. The first issue is decent, but everything we're hoping to see is yet to come, so whether this book ultimately succeeds or fails remains a question, but a question to which I am only too happy to find an answer.

New Comic Book Releases for 6/20/12:

007 Magazine Archive James Bond Promo Posters And Artwork #1 (not verified by Diamond), $18.00

Indie Comics Magazine #5, $6.49

Cavewoman Bunny Ranch (Budd Root Special Edition), $6.95

Team Cul De Sac HC, $29.99

Kung Fu Panda #6 (Of 6), $3.99
Ramiel Wrath Of God #3, $3.99
Richie Rich #6, $3.99

Kade Mourning Sun GN, $14.95
Truman Virus GN, $14.95

Wonderland Alphabet HC, $11.95

Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Volume 18 TP, $7.99

Atlas Unified #2 (resolicited), $2.99

Soulfire Primer #1 (Cover A Michael Turner), $1.00
Soulfire Primer #1 (Cover B Michael Turner Sketch), $3.00

Crossed Badlands #8 (Jacen Burrows Regular Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #8 (Jacen Burrows Red Crossed Incentive Cover), $3.80
Crossed Badlands #8 (Gianluca Pagliarani Torture Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #8 (Raulo Caceres Wraparound Cover), $3.99

Beyond The Wall Exploring George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire SC, $14.95

Critter #1 (Cover A Fico Ossio), $3.50
Critter #1 (Cover B Ryan Ottley, $3.50

Bloodsworn MMPB (Warhammer)(Ulrika The Vampire), $8.99

Simpsons Comics #191, $2.99

Adventure Time #1 (Chris Samnee ECCC 2012 Exclusive Cover), $9.99
Adventure Time #5 (Cover A Chris Houghton), $3.99
Adventure Time #5 (Cover B Eleanor Davis), $3.99
Adventure Time #5 (Cover C James Kochalka), AR
Adventure Time #5 (Cover D Mike Krahulik), AR
Higher Earth #2 (Cover A Trevor Hairsine), $3.99
Higher Earth #2 (Cover B Phil Noto), $3.99
Higher Earth #2 (Cover C Frazier Irving), AR
Higher Earth #2 (Cover D Trevor Hairsine Sketch), AR
Higher Earth #2 (Cover E Frazier Irving Sketch), AR
Higher Earth #2 (Cover F Michael Golden CGC 9.8), AR
Planet Of The Apes #15 (Cover A Carlos Magno), $3.99
Planet Of The Apes #15 (Cover B Damian Couceiro), $3.99
Planet Of The Apes #15 (Cover C Carlos Magno), AR
Roger Langridge's Snarked #5 (Roger Landridge ECCC 2012 Exclusive Cover), $9.99
Roger Langridge's Snarked #9, $3.99

Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #74 (Deluxe Edition), $19.99

Bill The Boy Wonder The Secret Co-Creator Of Batman HC (not verified by Diamond), $17.95

Earthling HC (not verified by Diamond), $22.99
Earthling SC (not verified by Diamond), $12.99

Comic Shop News #1305, AR

Song Of Roland GN (not verified by Diamond), $20.00

G Fan #99, $6.95

Alabaster Wolves #3 (Of 5), $3.50
Angel And Faith Volume 1 Live Through This TP, $17.99
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth The Devil's Engine #2 (Of 3), $3.50
Baltimore Dr Leskovar's Remedy #1 (Of 2)(Ben Stenbeck Regular Cover), $3.50
Baltimore Dr. Leskovar's Remedy #1 (Mike Mignola Variant Cover), AR
Dark Horse Presents #13 (Phil Noto Regular Cover), $7.99
Dark Horse Presents #13 (Tim Seeley Variant Cover), AR
Dragon Age II Playing Cards (resolicited), $4.99
Gantz Volume 23 TP, $12.99
Ragemoor #4 (Of 4), $3.50
Silver Streak Archives Featuring The Original Daredevil Volume 1 HC, $59.99
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison #2 (Of 5), $3.50
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force Storm #5 (Of 5), $3.50

Batman Archives Volume 8 HC (not verified by Diamond), $59.99
Batman Beyond Unlimited #5, $3.99
Batman Vs The Black Glove HC (Deluxe Edition)(resolicited), $29.99
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Batwoman #10 (J.H. Williams III Regular Cover), $2.99
Before Watchmen Comedian #1 (Of 6)(Combo Pack Edition), $4.99
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Challengers Of The Unknown Omnibus By Jack Kirby HC, $39.99
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Young Justice #17, $2.99

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Trinity A Graphic History Of The First Atomic Bomb GN, $22.00

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Godzilla Legends TP, $19.99
J.N. Williamson's Illustrated Masques TP, $19.99
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Magic The Gathering Volume 1 TP, $17.99
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Mars Attacks Classics Volume 1 TP, $19.99
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series #5 (Splinter)(Cover A David Petersen), $3.99
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True Blood #2 (Cover A Tim Bradstreet), $3.99
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X-9 Secret Agent Corrigan Volume 4 HC, $49.99

Chew #27 (2nd Helping Edition), $2.99
Darkness #104, $2.99
Elephantmen #40, $3.99
Glory #27, $2.99
Grim Leaper #2 (Of 4), $3.50
Hardcore #1 (Marc Silvestri 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $2.99
Liberty Meadows Sunday Collection Volume 1 HC, $24.99
Los Angeles Ink Stains Volume 1 TP, $29.99
Nancy In Hell On Earth #3 (Of 4), $2.99
Near Death #9, $2.99
Rebel Blood #4 (Of 4), $3.50
Reed Gunther #10, $2.99
Saga #4, $2.99
Spawn Origins Volume 15 TP, $14.99
Walking Dead #99, $2.99
Witchblade #152 (Dennis Calero Top Cow Store Exclusive Variant), $10.00

Bloody Monday Volume 6 GN, $10.99
Fairy Tail Volume 19 GN, $10.99
Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex Volume 3 GN, $10.99
Gon Volume 6 GN (Kodansha Edition), $10.99

Stencil Wars The Ultimate Book On Star Wars Inspired Street Art HC, $29.95

Locus #617 (June 2012), $6.95

Alpha Flight The Complete Series By Greg Pak And Fred Van Lente TP (resolicited), $29.99
Amazing Spider-Man The Movie Prelude TP, $9.99
Astonishing X-Men #51 (Dustin Weaver 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
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Astonishing X-Men #51 (Phil Noto Create Your Own Wedding Variant Cover), AR
Avengers Academy #32, $2.99
Avengers Vs X-Men #1 (Of 12)(Jim Cheung 4th Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
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Avengers Vs X-Men Bookmark (Promotional Item), AR
Avenging Spider-Man #8, $3.99
Casanova Avaritia #4 (Of 4), $4.99
Daredevil #14 (Ed McGuinness Amazing Spider-Man 50th Anniversary Variant Cover), AR
Daredevil #14 (Mike Deodata Amazing Spider-Man In Motion Variant Cover), AR
Daredevil #14 (Paola Rivera Regular Cover), $2.99
Dark Avengers #176, $2.99
Dark Tower The Gunslinger The Man In Black #1 (Of 5), $3.99
Fear Itself The Fearless HC (Premiere Edition), $34.99
Hulk #54, $2.99
Incredible Hulk By Jason Aaron Volume 1 HC, $34.99
Invincible Iron Man #519, $3.99
Invincible Iron Man Volume 9 Demon HC (Premiere Edition), $19.99
Journey Into Mystery #640, $2.99
Marvel Universe The Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #3, $2.99
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Comic Reader #2 (Of 2), $3.99
New Avengers #27, $3.99
New Mutants #44 (Chris Stevens Amazing Spider-Man In Motion Variant Cover), AR
New Mutants #44 (John Tyler Christopher Regular Cover), $2.99
Punisher #12, $2.99
Secret Avengers #28 (Alan Davis Regular Cover), $3.99
Secret Avengers #28 (Dale Keown Amazing Spider-Man In Motion Variant Cover), AR
Silver Surfer Rebirth Of Thanos TP (New Printing), $24.99
Spider-Men #1 (Of 5)(Jim Cheung 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Spider-Man Trouble On The Horizon HC (Premiere Edition), $19.99
Twelve Volume 2 HC (Premiere Edition), $24.99
Uncanny X-Men #14, $3.99
Venom #19 (Sean Chen Amazing Spider-Man In Motion Variant Cover), AR
Venom #19 (Tony Moore Regular Cover), $2.99
Winter Soldier #7, $2.99
Wolverine #308 (Chris Samnee Regular Cover), $3.99
Wolverine #308 (Paco Medina Amazing Spider-Man In Motion Variant Cover), AR
Wolverine Back In Japan HC (Premiere Edition), $24.99
X-Factor #238, $2.99
X-Man The Man Who Fell To Earth TP, $34.99
X-Men X-Club TP, $16.99

Comic Books And The Cold War 1946-1962 SC (not verified by Diamond), $40.00
Super-History Comic Book Superheroes And American Society SC (not verified by Diamond), $40.00
Web-Spinning Heroics SC (not verified by Diamond), $40.00

Journalism HC (not verified by Diamond), $24.00

Buckaroo Banzai No Matter Where You Go HC, $49.99
Buckaroo Banzai Return Of The Screw HC, $39.99

Secret History Of DB Cooper #4, $3.99

Comics On Trial Volume 2 SC (not verified by Diamond), $25.00

International Rescue Thunderbirds 1964 Onwards Owners Workshop Manual HC, $24.95

Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay SC, $17.00
Superman The High-Flying History Of America's Most Enduring Hero HC, $27.00

2000 AD #1784 (not verified by Diamond), $5.25
Judge Dredd Digest Cursed Earth Saga TP, $11.00
Judge Dredd Digest The Day The Law Died TP, $11.00
Judge Dredd Megazine #324 (not verified by Diamond), $12.25

Drow Tales Volume 1 Moonless Age TP, $12.95

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Into The Volcano SC, $12.99

Scream Magazine #11 (not verified by Diamond), $8.99

Hero Petz GN, $8.99

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Art Of Luke Chueh Bearing The Unbearable HC, $34.95
Complete Flash Gordon Library Volume 1 On The Planet Mongo HC, $39.95
Johnny Red Volume 2 Red Devil Rising HC, $19.95
Star Wars Insider #134 (July 2012)(Newsstand Edition), $7.99
Star Wars Insider #134 (July 2012)(Previews Exclusive Edition), $7.99

Lost Dogs GN, $9.95

Robert Jordan's Eye Of The World Volume 2 HC, $24.99

Persona 3 Official Design Works SC, $39.99

X-O Manowar #1 (Arturo Lozzi 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99

Video Watchdog #168, $8.95

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Devil And Her Love Song Volume 3 GN, $9.99
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We Were There Volume 14 GN, $9.99

Unforgiving #5, $3.99

Alice In The Country Of Hearts Omnibus Volume 1 TP, $18.99
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Alice In The Country Of Hearts Omnibus Volume 3 TP, $18.99
Intrigues Of Haruhi Suzumiya SC, $8.99
Kobato Volume 6 GN, $11.99
Olympos Volume 1 GN (not verified by Diamond), $18.99
Spice And Wolf Volume 6 SC, $11.99
Sunshine Sketch Volume 6 TP, $11.99
Witch And Wizard The Manga Volume 2 GN, $12.99

Grimm Fairy Tales Angel (One Shot)(Cover A Mike DeBalfo), $5.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Angel (One Shot)(Cover B Photo), $5.99
Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.