WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man #2 by J.J. Abrams, Henry Abrams, Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D'Amico, Dave Stewart and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Alternate-reality storylines have long had a place in superhero comics, with the latest from Marvel arriving courtesy of filmmaker J.J. Abrams and his son Henry Abrams. What began in Spider-Man as a Peter Parker tale quietly morphs into one starring his and Mary Jane's teenage son, Ben Parker, who starts to exhibit the same spider powers as his superhero father.
Peter and Ben have a somewhat-strained relationship at the moment -- Peter retired from being Spider-Man after Mary Jane was murdered by a new mysterious villain named Cadaverous. As for Ben, he now lives with Aunt May while Peter travels the world for work. An outburst at school put Ben in detention, where he meets a possible love interest in Faye Ito. She becomes interested in Ben after hearing how he stood up to a school bully, and stops by Aunt May's house to hang out with Ben.
Unfortunately for Ben, Faye's idea of hanging out involves defacing businesses for their poor business practices. Ben uses the web-shooters that come with his Spider-Man costume to remove them from the scene of the crime, while also revealing his family secret to Faye. The joyriding web-slinging quickly comes to an end when the pair slam into a billboard featuring deceased members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Avengers' Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Hulk are found on the billboard, which reads, "Remember the Great Departed." Though we're not told how they died, we can only assume they fell in battle against a powerful foe. After all, Thor and Hulk are two of the most powerful members of the Avengers. We also have to wonder if Cadaverous has anything to do with the deceased Avengers, or is his vendetta strictly with Spider-Man.
We do get a clue on the next page when Peter finds out about Ben's extracurricular activities. Peter walks into a tent that is airing news footage of Spider-Man's return, with a news anchor stating Tony Stark is the only surviving member of the Avengers. In the Marvel Prime Universe, the Avengers roster is known to balloon to a massive number, but there is no telling how big the team is in the Abrams Universe. It is fun to think that the writing duo is planting seeds for a potential spinoff either chronicling the final days of the Avengers, or a story bringing them back together.
A reassembling of the Avengers would almost mirror what is taking place in the Marvel's Avengers video game. The story focuses on the team breaking up after Captain America's death during an attack on the A-Day celebration. After more than a year apart, Kamala Khan brings the Avengers back together after she starts finding clues that A.I.M. was secretly behind the attack.
Another fun thing to see happen in Spider-Man is a cameo by the surviving Avenger, Iron Man. Tony Stark and Peter Parker could catch up on old times while also mourning Mary Jane and their teammates on the Avengers. More superhero Easter eggs and cameos are a welcome change of pace for the Spider-Man miniseries.