STORY: Brian Michael Bendis
ART: Sara Pichelli
Spider-Men is an event that, this author feels, might become a bit long in the tooth. Fortunately, Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli may have also recognized this, seeing as the series is only five issues, not quite a mini-series, but not a mega-event like Avengers vs. X-Men or last year’s ridiculously long and boring Fear Itself. Indeed, Spider-Men seems to be a perfect length; long enough for a popular character such as Spidey, while not overdoing it and losing readers in the process. Of course, this is all speculation after reading only Spider-Men #1. And actually, this first issue really should be called Spider-Men, Part 1: Peter Parker because Miles Morales is only on the final page, for one panel.
Bendis spends the entire issue in Peter Parker’s head, following his stream of consciousness as he swings around New York City and beats up some bad guys. Eventually, Parker sees a mysterious glow, follows it, fights Mysterio for a quick mo’, then gets sucked into the Ultimate Universe through the mysterious glowing….thing. A lot of things are left vague and open at the end of Spider-Men #1, and it’s hard to tell if it’s on purpose or if Bendis is just trying too hard to make Spider-Man more insightful than he is. And though Mysterio is supposed to be the ‘villain’ of this arc, he literally has less than a paragraph’s worth of lines, mostly relegated to lines like, “NO! Not you!” and the ever-popular-and-cliched, “You have no idea what I am capable of!”
And really, that is what irks me about Spider-Men #1: it’s not really a crossover yet. If Bendis wanted to do a lead-in to their meeting, he should have done it in an issue of The Amazing or The Avenging Spider-Man instead of taking 1/5 of his narrative about TWO Spider-Men and only focusing on the one. I finished the issue thinking Well, maybe issue two will be in Miles’ head, then immediately thought how boring and tedious THAT would be! Bendis is a great writer – one that seems to be a bit overworked these days – and I have faith that Spider-Men will get better, but based on this first issue alone, there’s a lot left to want for.