This issue is a conclusion to the first meeting of 616 Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, as well as Pete’s first meeting of the Ultimate versions of Nick Fury and the Avengers. While the story is sort of anti-climactic, it’s still entertaining enough to make the mini-series – as a whole – rank among one of my favorite Spidey stories in quite some time. There sure is a lot to love in this issue. Particularly writer Brian Michael Bendis’ smart dialogue, which he injects with copious amounts of humor and wit, as well as a few thoughtful scenes between Pete and Miles. I especially enjoyed his handling of both Ultimate Iron Man and Ultimate Nick Fury, who both look and sound like their movie counterparts. I actually hear Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel Jackson when reading their dialogue. Whether this was intentional or not, kudos to Bendis for that, either way. He nailed them.
As for the story itself, it basically consists of Mysterio having his ass handed to him by both Spideys and the Avengers. By now, Pete is able to easily see through Mysterio’s illusions and defeat him on his own, even without Miles and the Avengers to help out. However, Miles does manage to get a few good kicks in here and there and it is Ultimate Nick Fury who decides on how best to deal with Mysterio after they’ve apprehended him. His solution is actually one that makes good, practical sense. There are a few emotional scenes between Pete and Miles, as he tries to leave his younger namesake with some profound words of wisdom. It’s interesting how he leaves, though, because Pete clearly wasn’t finished telling Miles something very important. The story also ends with a bit of a shocker that all but ensures that this isn’t the last time the 616 and Ultimate universes collide. At least, I hope that’s the case, as this story has been very enjoyable. I’d definitely like to see all involved return for a sequel.
A few words here about artist Sara Pichelli. Every once in a while, a comic book artist comes along who has a significant impact on the subject matter they’re working with. Someone whose work always adds something special and is always a treat to see. Jim Lee, Humberto Ramos, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Stefano Caselli, and David Finch all come to mind, for me personally. Now, I can add Sara Pichelli to that list. Her work here has been nothing short of spectacular. Her style is unique in that it feels like you’re reading a really cool animated movie translated to comic form. She perfectly combines the look and feel of both the 616 and Ultimate universes into an appealing whole, which not many artists would be quite as successful attempting to do. Her facial expressions and body language of the characters are spot on. For example, the way she depicts Miles in his bashful attempt at asking for Pete’s blessing to carry on the Spider-Man name in his universe, as he puts one foot behind the other, looking sheepish. Perfection. Her action scenes pop off the page, as well. Marvel needs to get this chick on a regular book A.S.A.P. All in all, while this issue doesn’t wrap things up as neatly as one would like, it was extremely enjoyable, nonetheless, and leaves things open for a sequel. Which, I suppose, was the point. If that ever does happen, I’ll be first in line to pick up the first issue. A resounding 9/10 from me!