“Spider-Men” #2 is quite simply a fun comic book with dazzling art. With two Spider-Men present in one story, it’s bound to be good, right? Sure, if the art is good and the writer knows how to write Spider-Man and Peter Parker. In this case, Brian Michael Bendis does just that. Not only does Bendis write a solid Spider-Man and an empathy-inducing Peter Parker, he also delivers a very strong, star-struck Miles Morales.
Although I am not a regular reader of “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” I am familiar enough with Morales to enjoy the wide-eyed innocence that he brings to his confrontation with Peter Parker. Bendis matches that with the smart alec posturing readers have come to expect from the 616 Spidey. The standoff between the two of them matching experience and powers against one another is amusing. The final outcome between the two Spider-Men is exactly the type of thing that makes comic books such a wonderful escape and magnificently demonstrates just what makes Miles Morales different from (yet so very similar to) Peter Parker.
As for the art, Sara Pichelli’s work almost defies description. I say almost, because I can say her art is great, extraordinary, wonderful, dazzling, and superb. Unfortunately those words don’t really pay proper respect to the stunning combination of characters, movement, detail and background that Pichelli commits to the page. Truly the best way for you to appreciate Pichelli’s art is to see it. Pichelli is unafraid of playing with page composition and more than once takes the action across the gutter to deliver some truly magnificent compositions that let both Spider-Men cut loose.
The colors from Justin Ponsor integrate quite seamlessly with Pichelli’s art, which is exactly what is called for here. Ponsor assists with depth, lighting and mood, emphasizing much of what Pichelli does so wonderfully. Rounding out the visual package is the confident lettering from Cory Petit who aptly displays the differences between the two worlds in the treatment of the word balloons. While I’ve never been a fan of the “Ultimate” style with the initial cap set-up, I have to admit it simply works in this story, especially when juxtaposed with the standard comic book format of all caps that I’m more comfortable with.
The worst infraction I can find in this issue is that it appears as though both Peter and Miles have taken drama lessons with Howard the Duck, with each of them exclaiming “Waaagghh!” during their tussle. Other than that, this is a solid team-up comic complete with a fight between heroes stemming from a misunderstanding that is cleared by issue’s end.
Underneath the marvelous Jimmy Cheung covers, “Spider-Men” has a story that is exactly why everyone reading this got into comics: great characters, snappy dialog, zany adventures and, most importantly, fun. In a time when too many comics focus on the next big event or the great multimedia tie-in, it’s nice to have a comic that just wants to be itself, entertain fans, and have fun doing it.