is a major Marvel Comics
storyline by Brian Michael Bendis
published in the summer of 2012 centering on Spider-Man
. It is a Milestone Celebration
of Spider-Man's 50th year and serves as the first-ever crossover event between Marvel's two most popular universes — the mainstream
and Ultimate Marvel
The story involves long-time Spider-Man foe Mysterio
creating a bridge between two universes. The original Spider-Man, Peter Parker
, falls through it and across dimensions into the Ultimate Universe
. There, he faces a world where Spider-Man's greatest secret is public knowledge and where being Spider-Man led to an early demise for Peter Parker; a world where the child Miles Morales has stepped in to fill the gap as the second Spider-Man.Miles Morales
himself finally gets the chance to meet the hero whose name he earned. Hampered by lack of age and experience, Miles struggles to find a place in a world that extinguished the life of an older and stronger Spider-Man. Perhaps Peter's miraculous reappearance will reveal just what it takes to be the wallcrawler.
But the historic union is not without strings attached. Peter has to face some harsh truths in this new universe. His friends and loved ones are not as he knows them, and the reappearance of those he had thought lost forever taxes his guilt-ridden conscience to the core. Miles must deal with forces beyond his novice experience and shepherd Peter through the Ultimate universe. All the while, Mysterio runs both Spider-Men through a gauntlet of treachery and danger with more sophisticated illusions than ever before while his own ambitions are cloaked in secrecy.
With high stakes and dangerously untrod waters, the series provides a climax for not just the two Spider-Men, but the mythos of Spider-Man as a whole.A sequel has been greenlit.
Spider-Men provides examples of the following tropes:
- Always Someone Better: Even though he soundly kicks (the albeit disoriented at the time) 616 Spidey's butt, Miles starts believing that he is still not yet ready to take on the role of Spider-Man full time.
- Art Shift: In the 616 universe, the text is rendered entirely in upper-case; in the Ultimate universe, upper-case letters are only used when grammatically correct.
- Big Bad: 616 & Ultimate Mysterio. And no, that should not be Big Bad Duumvirate.
- Big "NO!": Mysterio, twice.
- Canon Immigrant: In-Universe, 616 Mysterio becomes this after Ultimate!Nick Fury keeps him in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody in the Ultimate universe rather than let him return to the 616 universe with the knowledge of Peter Parker's identity.
- Cassandra Truth: Subverted. 616 Spider-Man gives out the entire truth of his crossover to Nick Fury and the Ultimates. Fury believes him, saying that nobody would be crazy enough to say something like that.
- Cheerful Child: Oh, Miles:
- Continuity Snarl: The book is set after Miles and Aunt May's first meeting, but Miles doesn't have his web-shooters even though in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics Aunt May gave them to him the first time they met. The easiest explanation is that he ditched them between issue 14 and the Spider-Men story after running out of web fluid (which is mentioned as a potential danger in #14 of Miles' series).
- Covered in Gunge: Spidey's webs are rendered pretty realistically here, and when Peter yanks Mysterio by his face a little bit, the resulting web-fluid leftovers on his face are snotty little driblets.
- Covers Always Lie:
- Averted with the cover for Issue 3 which shows both Spider-Men being assaulted by a "who's who" of the Spidey rogue's gallery from both universes, though they fittingly turn out to be illusions caused by Mysterio.
- Played straight with the cover to issue 4 that shows a battle-scarred Peter cradling an unconscious Miles. Nothing of the sort really happens in that issue.
- Crazy-Prepared: Mysterio brought his A-game this time.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Despite being far more experienced, 616!Spidey is beaten soundly by Miles' advanced spider powers. Though he probably would have done a lot better if he knew about Miles' venom strike beforehand. And of course if he hadn't been in the middle of a major Freak Out. Or feeling fluish.
- Dead Alternate Counterpart: The Peter Parker of Earth-616 is trapped on Earth-1610, with his counterpart having recently died. He doesn't have the heart to tell Gwen that her counterpart on his Earth is dead too.
- Defrosting Ice King: Peter doesn't like the idea of there being another Spider-Man, but he finds it hard not to like the thirteen-year-old kid who hero-worships him and is in desperate need of a role model.
- Determinator: Mysterio refuses to back-down when faced with the combined might of The Ultimates and two Spider-Men. Twice.
- Dream Team: 616!Spidey teaming up with Ultimate!Spidey and later, the Ultimates.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Inverted. When Miles meets 616!Spidey, he mentions that he'd expected him to be shorter. Understandable, since Ultimate!Peter was a teenager, while 616!Peter is a full-grown man.
- Extremely Short Time Span: The whole series takes place over the course of less than two days. Sadly, this means that the two Spider-Men don't actually get to spend that much time together, which becomes all the more apparent when Peter is forced to leave immediately before the portal closes.
- Fanservice: For the ladies. For sticking through all five issues (or just jumping on to see the conclusion), the readers are awarded a scene with Peter in nothing but a towel lounging around his apartment. A small towel.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Played with when Mysterio gives Peter a vision of Aunt May getting impaled by Dr. Octopus — we see the tentacle go right through her torso and Ock is holding her up in the air, but the area immediately around the wound is wreathed in just enough smoke to cover up any gore.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The first ever directlynote between the Ultimate and the regular Marvel Universes, who were generally kept separate in order to preserve their qualities as distinct lines. It seems that rules can be bent for one of Marvel's greatest heroes' 50th anniversary.
- Kid Sidekick: Peter keeps Miles around as his sidekick despite being weirded out by there being another Spider-Man — in part because Miles was the first person in the Ultimate Universe he met and because Miles was obviously looking out for him.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Peter picks a fight with Miles on impulse, in part because he was feeling "fluish" and freaking out and that implicitly he wasn't taking anymore risks with Spider-clones after the debacle that was The Clone Saga.
- The Mentor: Peter starts playing this role for Miles a little bit too late, but he gives some rapid-fire tips just as he's phasing back to his own universe.
- Milestone Celebration
- My Greatest Failure:
- Ultimate Nick Fury considers the death of his universe's Peter Parker as this, which is why he gives more leeway to 616 Spidey.
- Everyone sees their potential greatest failure when Mysterio gases them as a distraction — Iron Man sees the rest of the Ultimates dead, Nick Fury sees New York in flames, Peter sees Aunt May being torn apart by Doc Ock, and Miles sees his uncle the Prowler having beaten his parents to death.
- Also, Peter doesn't seem to have taken the whole clone affair from his past very well.
- Near Villain Victory: See Nice Job Fixing It, Villain below.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mysterio's portal only opens from the 616 universe, so he manages to trap 616!Spider-Man not only in a world where everyone knows who he is, but where he's been dead for some time. He would've finally been rid of Spider-Man if he hadn't felt the need to open the portal up again to look at his handiwork.
- No Sell: Miles gets over Mysterio's fear toxins the fastest and is unaffected by the trauma of interdimensional teleportation that both Peter Parker and Mysterio fell victim to. Twice.
- Passing the Torch: Peter explicitly gives Miles his blessing at the end of the story.
- Race Lift: Lampshaded. Peter half-seriously refers to Miles as a race-lift of him before hearing the full story of Ultimate!Peter, and is bemused by a Samuel L. Jackson-lookalike introducing himself as Nick Fury. "Frankly, much cooler."
- The Reveal: There is no Ultimate Mysterio — it's just a series of remote avatars used by 616!Mysterio.
- Running Gag: See Too Soon. Miles had this for a bit in the regular Ultimate Marvel verse.
- Sequel Hook: Peter Parker makes it back to his home universe, relaxes, showers off, and decides to do a web search for Miles Morales. We don't see the results, but Peter can only bring himself to say "Oh my God."
- Should Have Thought of That Before X: Fury to Mysterio after deciding to keep him in the Ultimate verse.
- Take That: When 616!Peter is telling Ultimate Nick Fury about his 616 counterpart, Peter mentioning that he's white leads to Fury to smirk and reply "I'm sorry."
- Teleportation Sickness
- Too Soon: In-universe, not many people are happy that 616!Peter was running around in Ultimate!Peter's costume.
- The Unreveal: Two of them at the ending.
- Younger than They Look: Discussed Trope in-universe. According to Ultimate!Nick Fury, Since Miles is thirteen years old, all of the heroes look like they're eighty to him.