|Publication date||June – September 2012|
|No. of issues||5|
|Main character(s)||Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
|Written by||Brian Michael Bendis|
Spider-Men is a five-issue, 2012 superhero comic book miniseries published by Marvel Comics, featuring Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, and Miles Morales, the second and current Ultimate Marvel version of Spider-Man, who appear together in a crossover storyline that involves the two alternate universes from which they each originate. The series is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Sara Pichelli. It marks the first time that characters from the original Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe have crossed over since the latter debuted in 2000.
While out web-swinging, Spider-Man sees a brilliant purple light from a distant warehouse, and investigates it to find Mysterio ranting about how he missed out on one chance to kill Spider-Man already. Although Spider-Man quickly defeats him and ties him up, when examining Mysterio's equipment, he is shot by Mysterio, causing him to fall through the rift created by the equipment. When he regains consciousness, he discovers that it is daylight. Although he interrupts a mugging, he is shocked and confused when the would-be victim informs him that, while he is grateful for the rescue, it might be disrespectful to be seen wearing Peter Parker's suit after his death. Swinging away to think about what he has just heard, Spider-Man runs into another Spider-Man on a rooftop.
Angered at Spider-Man ruining his plans again, Mysterio activates a robotic avatar and sends it after Peter. Back in the new universe, Peter fights with the other Spider-Man, but his superior experience and training is outmaneuvered by the other Spider-Man's new powers, culminating in Peter being knocked out when the other Spider-Man, Miles Morales uses his venom sting on a web that Peter had just created. Waking up in a cell, Peter meets this world's Nick Fury and explains his theory that he is from another universe, which Fury accepts as nobody would come up with something that ridiculous as a lie. Fury sends Peter away with Miles to explain this world's history to him. But just as Peter asks Miles if his counterpart is dead in this world, they are attacked by Mysterio's avatar.
Both Spider-Men face off against Mysterio's Avatar. Miles blindly attacks, but due to his lack of combat experience and tactics, he is easily thrown back into Peter and both end up in the East River. Mysterio then deploys high-technology and a strong chemical in order to create the illusion that a mob of Spider-Man's enemies from both realities is attacking them. During the battle, Peter figures out the trick and demands Mysterio to return him to his home universe. Angered, Mysterio decides to instead strand Peter in a world where he is believed to be dead. The avatar self-destructs rendering Miles unconscious. He later wakes up to see that the Ultimates and Nick Fury are on the scene. While his version of Tony Stark begins to work on deciphering Mysterio's dimension technology, Miles asks where Peter went. Fury surmised that he went off to find out the truth about his alternate self. Peter decides to investigate on his own and goes to the location where his apartment in his home universe is supposed to be. He finds it to be converted into a store, and while posing some questions to the cashier, he stops an armed gunman who was attempting a robbery. He is shocked to find out that the Peter Parker of this other world had died in battle and that the city was still mourning his tragic end. It is also common knowledge that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. Distraught over the news, he swings over to Queens where the Parker Residence is currently up for sale. May Parker is seeing off Gwen Stacy to school. When they both see Peter in his costume, they believe he is some lunatic who is disrespecting the memory of the deceased Peter Parker and threaten to call the police. They become shocked beyond words as Peter unmasks himself with tears in his eyes.
As Nick Fury and Tony Stark analyze Mysterio's equipment, Fury notes that he is allowing this Peter so much leeway as a way to make up for his failure to protect the Peter he knew. Peter attempts to explain himself to Gwen and May, but it takes Miles arriving to back up his story and convincing them that he is not an impostor or out to play a sick joke on them. Talking with Gwen and Miles in his attic, Peter confirms that Gwen exists in his world without mentioning that her counterpart is dead and also mentions his relationship with Mary Jane, while he in turn is shocked to hear that his counterpart dated Kitty Pryde, although Miles is left curious whether he has a counterpart in Peter's world. As Fury arrives to pick Peter up, Peter sees Mary Jane watching him in the street, but she runs away before he can talk to her. Returning to the Helicarrier, Peter learns that Stark is having trouble determining how he can identify Peter's world of origin amid the multitude of alternate universes in existence. With Miles' help, the Ultimates determine the location of Mysterio's headquarters based on the energy generated by his equipment, prompting the heroes led by Peter to suit up and head for the base.
At his headquarters, Mysterio is preparing to cement his victory by destroying the portal and trapping Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe forever. But unable to resist the temptation to see how his enemy is faring, he keeps the portal open long enough for Peter and the Ultimates to capture him. Despite his best efforts to throw them off with his usual weapons, Mysterio is quickly defeated and Fury decides to keep him prisoner on their side of the rift due to his knowledge of Peter's secret identity. With the portal closing, Peter departs for his world after giving Miles his blessing as the new Spider-Man of this world, an acknowledgment that makes Fury and Miles very satisfied. Back in his world, Peter runs a search for Miles' counterpart in his world and is shocked at the result.
Initially, the Ultimate Marvel imprint had no crossovers with the mainstream Marvel comics. At the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con, Joe Quesada said that if the mainstream and Ultimate Marvel universes ever crossed over, it would signify that Marvel “had officially run out of ideas.”
Brian Michael Bendis and Axel Alonso made the first crossover in 2012, after 13 years of the Ultimate Marvel imprint, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man. Alonso described the story with:
"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." Alonso went on to reveal that "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."
The first issue was released on June 13, 2012.
The series received generally positive reviews. The individual issues hold an average rating of 8.1 out of 10 on the review aggregator website Comic Book Roundup, based on 85 total reviews of all five issues, which range in rating from 7.3 (issue 1) and 8.5 (issue 4).
Joey Espositio of IGN, who gave the first issue an 8.5 out of 10, praised the creative team, singling out the strong thematic elements set up by Bendis, and the graceful line work, cityscapes, action and comedic timing of Pichelli's art. Esposito also complimented Cory Petit's lettering, comparing his use of different fonts when Spider-Man arrives in the Ultimate Universe to the use of color that characterizes Dorothy's arrival in Oz in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. James Hunt of Comic Book Resources, who gave the issue four and a half out of five stars, called it "one of the most momentous Spider-Man stories to be published in years", praising the issue's pace and tone, and Pichelli's art.
There was a second miniseries, Spider-Men II, released in 2017. It was a new team-up of Peter and Miles, now both living in the mainstream universe. It also features the native Miles Morales of the mainstream universe, an adult and close friend of the Kingpin. At the end of the story, the adult Morales moves into the Ultimate Marvel universe, which had been destroyed in the 2015 Secret Wars crossover. In this remade Ultimate universe, Peter Parker is Spider-Man again, and has joined the Ultimates.
- Sacks, Ethan. "Marvel Comics brings together its two special versions of 'Spider-Man' in special summer miniseries event". Daily News. New York.
- Truitt, Brian (27 April 2012). "Mysterio brings together two heroes in historic 'Spider-Men'". USA Today.
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Spider-Men 1 (June 2012), Marvel Comics
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Spider-Men 2 (June 2012), Marvel Comics
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Spider-Men 3 (July 2012), Marvel Comics
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Spider-Men 4 (August 2012), Marvel Comics
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Spider-Men 5 (September 2012), Marvel Comics
- "The State of the Ultimate Universe: 2012 Edition". IGN. 9 October 2012.
- Phegly, Kiel. "Alonso on Marvel's Ultimate "Spider-Men" Crossover".
- "13 June 2012 New Releases" (PDF). Diamond Comic Distributors. 11 June 2012.
- "Spider-Men Reviews". Comic Book Roundup. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Esposito, Joey (1 June 2012). "Spider-Men #1 Advance Review". IGN.
- Hunt, James (1 June 2012). "Spider-Men #1 Review (Advance)". Comic Book Resources.
- Joe Glass (December 27, 2017). "A Major Unexpected Return in Today's Spider-Men II #5". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved December 22, 2017.