REVIEW: Spider-Men #5

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One of the best Spider-Man tales of both the Marvel and Ultimate Universes concludes with this issue. As Miles and Peter part ways, what impacts have this meeting left on each character? Many impacts, it seems, as Major Spoilers takes a look at Spider-Men #5.

SPIDER-MEN #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in SPIDER-MEN: Spider-Men #4 packed an emotional wallop. Reading almost like an epilogue to the Ultimate Universe’s “Death of Peter Parker” storyline, Ultimate Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane meet 616 Peter Parker who is stuck in their dimension. Seeing these characters deal with meeting Peter as an adult and watching Peter come to grips with the death of his “other self” was incredibly moving, and gave the cast of the Ultimate book a bit of closure and comfort. It was an amazing moment in the lives of all involved. The big-bad of the series, Ultimate Mysterio, made his move and escaped via dimensional portal into the Marvel Universe proper, looking to capitalize on an Earth without a Spider-Man.

THE ULTIMATE TEAM-UP CONCLUDES

This issue may not have the gravitas of the previous issue, but it is a satisfying denouement to a great series. For a scientific genius, Ultimate Mysterio makes a pretty boneheaded move that allows him to be pulled back into the Ultimate Universe where he lands face-to-faces with both Spider-Men as well as the Ultimates. After a brief struggle, the threat is contained, our heroes share a moment, and the pieces are put back in their places, closing the saga for good.

Perhaps.

Though this issue’s plot may sound a bit simple, the strength of the book lies in Bendis’ knack for dialogue. Bendis has always shined on Ultimate Spider-Man titles…he just GETS the voices of the characters. There’s some great lines in here for all the major players…Tony Stark is both curious and jealous of Mysterio’s tech, Nick Fury is as “matter-of-fact” as always. But the focus remains on Peter and Miles, who through their adventuring have developed a strong relationship…Almost one of father and son. As Peter steps into the portal to leave the Ultimate Universe, we have our last touching moment of the series, where Miles is recognized as a hero by the adults around him and given the original Spidey’s stamp of approval. It’s a great segment for Miles Morales fans, as it signifies a true step into the big leagues for the young hero.

As for that earlier “perhaps?” Well, in the final few panels, Bendis teases the answer to a question many fans have been asking…Where is the Marvel Universe’s Miles Morales? Judging by Peter’s reaction, a very interesting story is waiting to be told.

MORE PICHELLI PLEASE!

Much praise has been heaped on Sarah Pichelli’s artwork for this series, and while I don’t know if it’s possible to add more, I’m going to try. Pichelli can do it all. The characters in the series are picture-perfect. Motion is depicted realistically, facial expressions convey every emotion the characters feel, and the backgrounds are detailed and realistic without ever taking away from the scene. Marvel has to put Pichelli on more books, plain and simple. I could look at this art forever.

BOTTOM LINE: A MODERN DAY CLASSIC

The first four issues of the Spider-Men miniseries have not disappointed, and neither does the strong conclusion found in this issue. To me, Miles Morales has become the most interesting part of the Ultimate Universe. In such a short existence, the character has really found his footing and connected with me in a way I didn’t expect. His encounters with 616 Peter Parker (and Parker’s perspective of the Ultimate U.) have been emotionally resonant and extremely satisfying reading. As a result of this story, Miles Morales has made huge bounds into becoming a hero and Peter Parker has seen what a world affected by his death would resemble. These are extremely powerful plot points and they fit together seamlessly. This series is hands-down the best story to come out of the Ultimate Universe in a long time. It is essential reading for any fan of Peter Parker, Miles Morales, or excellent comics.

Rating: ★★★★★

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