This morning Marvel Comics readers learned that, yes, the Spider-Men at the heart of the teased story "Spider-Men" are the two they were thinking of: Peter Parker and Miles Morales.
This June, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's original Amazing Spider-Man and the headline-grabbing star of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli's "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" will meet in a five-part series by the same Ultimate creative team. In a story in the New York Daily News, Bendis spoke to the appeal of Morales, saying "Someone had once said to me, 'When I was a kid, I could only play Spider-Man. I couldn't play Batman or Superman because my friends would say you're not the same color, but I could play Spider-Man because when I fantasized about Spider-Man. He looked like me under the mask.'"
And here on CBR, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso gave the early word on why after years of speculation and outright fake outs ("Marvel Zombies" anyone?), the House of Ideas finally decided to let their two most popular fictional realities clash, what role each Spider-Man would play, what possible threat could bring Peter and Miles together and more about the ins and outs of "Spider-Men."
CBR News: Axel, bringing the Ultimate Universe and the core Marvel U together is something that people have been talking about and looking for for years at this point. What was it that finally made now the time to cross that threshold with "Spider-Men"?
Axel Alonso: Having Miles Morales bump shoulders with Peter Parker in the year we're celebrating Spider-Man's 50th Anniversary was just too delicious to pass up. Here's an enormously popular new character who's embarked on his maiden voyage as a superhero meeting a veteran superhero from another universe. What a story. As we began discussing the possibility, Brian [Bendis]'s story started to take shape and we knew we had to let him do it.
Let's talk about both sides of that coin. Miles is obviously a character who was inspired by the death of the Ultimate Peter Parker. Does that mean he'll have a bit of hero worship towards this older Peter, or does he come in more suspicious?
All I can say is that the Peter Parker of the Ultimate Universe casts a huge shadow over Miles' spiritual and emotional development. What will he do when he's confronted with the Peter Parker from another universe? Well, that's the story. And there are a couple of things going on. First, Miles is meeting someone who's the closest flesh-and-blood thing to his actual biggest hero. Second, he's being shown a window into an entire new universe. That's mind-bending stuff for a young kid to come to terms with.
On the other side, there's "our" Peter from the original 616 universe. There's a million ways to play him seeing a universe like the Ultimate U from awestruck to scared. What were the things you had to get out of this character confronting his own death?
Oh boy, Brian would kill me if I spilled those beans! [Laughter] Let's just say we've considered all the questions a fanboy could ask.
One interesting question outside the plot mechanics is that for his ten-plus years writing "Ultimate Spider-Man," he's never written a full-on Marvel U Spider-Man adventure. Was there something you were really looking to see from him on that front?
Who hasn't been curious to see Brian write "Amazing Spider-Man"? This is just one of those serendipitous moments. This story presented Brian with the opportunity to do what people have been waiting for.
I have two more questions that I think I may know the answer to, but I'm going to go for it anyway. First up is one of worlds colliding. We've got all sorts of sci-fi happenings in both universe and all sorts of villains. What finally brings these two universes together, and what drives the conflict of the series?
Man, you knew the answer to this question. Look, the enjoyment of this story is the ride. Seeing how Miles and Peter get there is part of the fun -- I don't want to spoil that for fans. All I'll say is there's a super-cool villain involved in all of this and it's mind-bending, twisted stuff that puts these two in each others' orbit. We don't break down the wall between the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe lightly. This isn't the first time we considered breaking that wall, but on all other occasions, we walked away from it because we didn't have the right story. We do now. A huge story with a big heart. Seeing Miles Morales and Peter Parker come to terms with each others' existence and ostensibly team up is a story that had to be told.
Finally, there's a huge universe of characters on both sides of the line between our two worlds. Will we be seeing a bit of Miles meeting the Avengers or Peter meeting the Ultimates?
You will see other characters, but I won't tell you more.