$3.99 / 32 pages
Published by Marvel Comics
If I’m Brian Bendis, I’m very happy to be working with Sara Pichelli, because she’s the reason to read Spider-Men #1. I really don’t mean to be harsh, but there’s honestly nothing here other than spectacular comic book art that would sway me to recommend this to a reader, unless they very much enjoy Spider-Man swinging around, mostly talking to himself about how much he loves New York. It’s a first chapter, except it doesn’t really even feel like enough to be called that.
We all know the premise now: Peter Parker of the Marvel Universe proper meets Miles Morales of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. If it’s your contention that it doesn’t matter why or how that happens, and you just want to see those two kids hanging out and cracking wise, then this will probably be just up your alley. Not in this issue mind you. Next issue definitely. This issue gets by on attitude, familiarity, and the promise of what’s to come, provided that the reader is well entrenched in the Spider-Man world, in both classic and new varieties. I think that’s what bothers me about it. There’s nothing outwardly wrong with the issue. It’s fun enough to swing through, and Spider-Man is Spider-Man, and something has gone awry, and hijinks will very likely ensue. Yet the other side of things is that this is as circular as circular gets. Putting aside the easy grab of Joe Quesada stating they’d be “out of ideas” if they ever did this story, this is the same ol’ thing, and while there is a market for that, it is dwindling, because even they are getting tired of walking up and down the same roads. Or at least I am. It’s possible that the story will surmount that feeling, but there wasn’t anything in the first issue to make me expect otherwise.
And yet, there is still Sara Pichelli. She’s one of the most exciting new talents to come along in a long time, and she meshes so well with Bendis’ sensibilities that the pages flow incredibly well. The storytelling is effortless and clean. Her cityscapes are equally impressive, and she and colorist Ponsor managed to give the two dimensions of New York perceptibly different feels. They are not the same place, and that comes across. Her classic Peter Parker looks like an adult male, where her Mile Morales looks like a kid. He should, because she’s the artist who brought him to life. I also really like that she’s very good at putting life into a Spider-Man mask that should be largely lifeless. It has to be done subtly, otherwise it gets weird. Her version of the mask seems to have textured, slightly mirrored eyes, and when she wants to express an emotion on Peter’s masked face, she tweaks the eye shape just so, and it really works. You have to look for the specific changes, but the feeling comes across instantly. The fact is, you can read through this issue without even reading any of the text, and you’ll know exactly what’s happening. The art is just that good.
If Spider-Men sounds like something that’s going to make you comic book happy, then by all means, read this. You’re going to get a well produced comic book that’s nothing you don’t expect. I can’t speak for what’s going to happen with the rest of the series, but as a first issue, it’s nothing I didn’t know from just reading the premise, and nothing happens in the pages to suggest otherwise. Yet, Bendis has the voices of these various Spider-Men down cold, and if you enjoy spending time with them, it will be worth it for you. It’s going to take a little something more to get me excited at this point though, and I don’t think it’s wrong to expect that from your comics.
Story: 2.5 / Art: 4.5 / Overall: 3
(Out of 5 Stars)
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