Back when it was released Spider-Men was a big event as it was the first big meeting of Peter Parker from Marvel-616 and Miles Morales from the Ultimate Universe. This crossover was also the first time we saw both the main Marvel-616 Universe interact with the Ultimate Universe in a substantial way. Now following the events of Secret Wars both universes have merged and we have both Peter and Miles in the same universe as Spider-Man. Though a team up between the two Spider-Man is not special what makes Spider-Men II intriguing is that we will learn the truth behind the Marvel-616 Miles Morales. This was the big hook ending of the original Spider-Men mini-series and now we are going to get a resolution on who this other Miles is. Let’s start find out the answers with Spider-Men II #1.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Both Peter Parker and Miles Morales, in their Spider-Man costume without their masks on, are tied up upside down and hanging over a destroyed blaming each other for their predicament. Miles is able to use his Venom Blast power to cut them loose but Peter hit’s his head hard on the ground.
Miles goes after the plane that is taking off as the person they are after is inside. Miles does not get there in time and the plane leaves the area.
Miles apologizes to Peter. Peter says that it isn’t Miles fault. He instead blames himself for allowing Miles to continue being Spider-Man.
A week earlier Miles is late to class but is able to impress his teacher by turning in his term paper on time.
Elsewhere Spider-Man (Peter) fights Armadillo. Spider-Man is left confused at how he ended up fighting someone that calls themselves Armadillo. Spider-Man ends up defeating Armadillo by removing his helmet and bashing his head in with said helmet.
Before he can celebrate his win Spider-Man notices a giant purple portal opening up somewhere in the city.
Back at Miles’ school Ganke talks to Miles about Barbara Rodriguez, who they’ve been in class with and he worked on a volcano project with. Miles comments on how cute she is with Ganke saying he is just noticing because he finally isn’t busy being Spider-Man.
Ganke gives Miles all the information he knows on Barbara. Ganke calls her over when Miles is too nervous to approach her.
Ganke, Barbara and Miles talk about their recent poetry assignment. Barbara then asks Miles about the rumors of Miles running an underground casino, selling mutant growth hormones and other things to explain sneaking out of the dorms. Miles jokes that he is one of the Jump Street cops.
Suddenly a giant object falls on the ground near the three. All the students then notice the giant portal opening up. Miles tries to sneak away but is noticed by Barbara. Miles still takes off and quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume.
Near the portal both Spider-Men meet-up at the warehouse where Ultimate Mysterio opened a dimensional rift that led to their first meeting. They both head inside and see that the same dimensional rift has appeared. Suddenly another universe version of Taskmaster comes out of the portal ready to kill both Spider-Men.
Elsewhere, a guy is greeted back home by someone who informs him that there is trouble in New York. The guy turns out to be an adult Miles Morales, with scars all over his face, who angrily states he has to go back to New York. End of issue.
The Good: Spider-Men II #1 does it’s job in setting up what the major mystery will be for Peter Parker and Miles Morales to solve. Immediately reminding readers of their first meeting in the first Spider-Men mini-series and using similar elements to the original crossover was a good way to go. At the same time, Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli are able to give us enough details that make Spider-Men II #1 an easy enough comic to read even if you didn’t read the original crossover.
Kicking things off with both Peter Parker and Miles Morales at each other’s head as they are already in the middle of their latest adventure together was a good way to set things up. It gives us a clear idea of how things won’t be going smoothly for both characters in Spider-Men II. But unlike the last time where we saw Marvel-616 Peter interacting with the entire Ultimate Universe it is clear that this will be contained to just Peter and Miles. Going with this contained route of just having the two Spider-Men teaming up will make this a much more personal story.
The past scenes also did a good job of establishing where Peter and Miles are in their respective lives. Seeing Peter saving the day as Spider-Man established how he has been more focused on his superhero life at this point in his career. What made this work even more is that it kept the focus on Peter as Spider-Man without having to address how he is the CEO of his own company. This allows Spider-Men II to be it’s own thing without getting heavy into the confusing continuity of Peter Parker.
In focusing on Peter as Spider-Man it also made seeing Miles in school and interacting with Ganke and Barbara stand out even more. Opening Miles part of the story this way showed us that he is in more of the traditional Spider-Man setting as the teen dealing with his school and superhero life. Bendis addressing the fact that Miles has been more focused on his Spider-Man life lately was a nice reminder of how Miles has been all over the place as Spider-Man in Secret Empire and Champions without directly talking about those comics.
Miles interaction with Ganke was Bendis at his best when it comes to writing witty banter. The two come off as genuine friends that are dealing with school together. Ganke putting Miles in the awkward position of talking to Barbara before he was ready added a nice bit of light heartedness to Spider-Men II. Bringing Barbara into the story furthered how all the students see Miles as doing something shady when he disappears to be Spider-Man. This is a plot thread that is hopefully addressed again as it could be a fun element to the story that Peter could possibly help Miles deal with in this mini-series.
The dimensional portal once again opening up at the same warehouse as the original Spider-Men does create a solid mystery of what exactly is going on. With both the 616- and Ultimate Universes merged there are a lot of questions as to the nature of this portal. Seeing a different version of Taskmaster come out of it this time around makes you wonder if there is more to this special portal than what we learned in the original crossover mini-series.
Also the fact that the 616-Miles Morales that we learned existed at the end of Spider-Men was made aware of the situation creates an even deeper mystery. Just from his appearance alone it is clear that this Miles is not as friendly as the Miles Morales we’ve come to know. His appearance also raises the question as to how much Peter knows about him since Spider-Men ended with Peter learning about the 616-Miles’ existance. That knowledge should create interesting drama between Peter and Miles as we learn who this other Miles Morales is and what he has been up to in the Marvel Universe.
Sara Pichelli delivered some excellent, high-quality artwork for Spider-Men II #1. Her artwork made Spider-Men II feel like a special mini-series on the level of other Marvel events like Secret Empire. She excelled at making both the action and talking head sequences stand out. The facial reactions she draws gave more weight to the dialogue between Peter, Miles and the supporting cast of this issue. She also delivers on giving the alternate universe Taskmaster and older Miles Morales a menacing look in their individual short appearances.
The Bad: Unlike the original Spider-Men the novelty of Peter Parker and Miles Morales interacting with one another was not here. With both characters now existing simultaneously in the same universe there is not special about the two teaming up since we have now seen that many times in the last few years. That lack of novelty does take away from what makes a Peter/Miles team-up special.
Overall: Spider-Men II #1 does exactly what it needed to do to create an engaging story to follow for the next few months. Brian Bendis did a great job establishing where both Spider-Men are at this point in their lives and the mystery around the older Miles Morales. All of this is wonderfully brought to life by Sara Pichelli’s artwork that furthers how Spider-Men II is a comic no Spider-Man will want to miss out on reading.