Marvel Comics confirmed today what many of us had already guessed: this June’s hyped mini-series Spider-Men is in fact a crossover between the traditional, 616 Marvel Universe’s Spider-Man, Peter Parker and his Ultimate Marvel counterpart, Miles Morales. (Official Press Release)
The story, confirmed today in a press release, will be penned by long time Ultimate Spider-Man scribe Brian Michael Bendis with Sara Pichelli on art and Jim Cheung on covers and marks the celebration of 50 years of the one and only Amazing, Spectacular, Sensational Spider-Man.
“This year is the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man and we’re so happy that the stars aligned for us to tell a Spider-Man story that nobody has ever seen before,” said Bendis. “It’s an honor and a privilege to present both this story and these characters to fans on such an auspicious occasion. The work Sara has done on Spider-Men is a step above the already high standard that she has set for herself on our Ultimate Comics Spider-Man series. For me, this is a celebration of the best character in mainstream comics and some of the best art mainstream comics has to offer.”
This is the first time the Mainstream Marvel and Ultimate universes have collided since the inception of the Ultimate line in 2000, then created as an attempt to draw in new readers by creating fresh series that weren’t weighted down by decades of mythology and backstory, as well as giving writers a chance to spin their own unique takes on popular, established character. Regardless, it’s been known that a crossover is something fans want to see; a teased crossover between the Ultimate U’s Reed Richards and Marvel U’s Reed Richards was used to promote the story that turned into the introduction of the Marvel Zombies Universe, spawning a popular line of mini-series and one-shots that continue to this day. Meanwhile, the popularity of the Ultimate Universe shines through in other Marvel projects, with plot elements and characterizations which premiered in the Ultimate Universe being adapted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada once infamously stated that if the two universes were to collide, it would mean they’ve “run out of ideas”. When asked what this crossover means now, he simply stated he’s “reserved the right to change his mind”. (Source)
The Marvel U’s Spider-Man has been in controversy for the past several years after uncharacteristically making a deal with Mephisto which retconned his marriage out of existence and left the validity of decades of stories in question. Despite this he remains one of the company’s most popular characters, headlining two solo books, featuring in two Avengers titles and recently as one of the leads in the popular series FF as the Human Torch’s replacement, as well as popping up from time to time in most other Marvel titles.
The original Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker, died during the Death of Spider-Man event last year, and was replaced by Miles Morales shortly afterwards. The original volume of Ultimate Spider-Man ran for 160 issues, all written by Bendis. Mark Bagley did the art chores for the first 111 issues of the book, setting a record for the longest continual run on a Marvel comic by two people. With the death of Parker, the series was rebooted once more; Bendis continues to handle the writing chores.