After a slow (but awesome) start in ‘Spider-Men’ #1, the story picks up this issue. Just to catch you up, last issue saw Spider-Man (of the main Marvel 616 Universe) battling Mysterio when he was pulled through a glowing portal. When Spidey woke up, he thought he’d only been unconscious and didn’t realize that he’s been teleported from the regular Marvel Universe into the Ultimate Universe. But the wallcrawler figured it out pretty quick when he ran into that universe’s version of Spider-Man!

As this issue opens, Mysterio is none too pleased that Spider-Man entered the dimensional portal to the Ultimate Universe. Whatever machinations that Mysterio has in play seem to involve his using the portal and the other world for his own gain. So, Mysterio sends one of his robot avatars into the other universe to stop Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, back in the Ultimate Universe, Spider-Man is attempting to figure out who this kid in the black Spider-Man outfit is and why he knows that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. The bulk of this issue follows the two Spider-Men as they banter and battle over (and off of) the rooftops as they both try to figure out exactly what’s going on. Masks come close to being removed several times and, in the end, Ultimate Spidey does the only thing a 13 year old superhero can do, he turns a trusted adult who might be able to help.

The “battle” between the two Spider-Men had me laughing out loud at a couple of spots. I haven’t read ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ since the series was somewhere around #40 or so but I read enough that I know the basic setup of the Ultimate Universe and it’s great to see the Earth-616 Spidey so out of his element in this other world. I’m not a huge fan of Brian Michael Bendis but, when he writes Spider-Man (or Men), he nails it! His dialogue is great and the action had me feeling like I was 10 years old again. On top of all that (and I expect that this might be Marvel’s reasoning behind this cross-over), I’m tempted to try out a few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man now. Miles seems like such a great character and not the publicity stunt that he could have so easily become, what with making a minority character take the place of one of the most famous heroes in the Marvel world (even if it is an alternate version).

I said it last issue and I’ll say it again… Sara Pichelli’s artwork is (and I mean this in every bad pun sense)… amazing! Her lines are so clean, crisp, and detailed. And, best of all, she is one of the few artists I’ve seen that can draw a kid that actually looks like a kid. Even when Miles has his face covered in the Spidey suit, his body motions give it away that he’s far from a full-grown adult. Pichelli is one of my new favorite Spidey artists… of either universe.

‘Spider-Men’ is definitely a worthy title to be coming out on the web-slinger’s 50th anniversary year.

Verdict: Buy

Story by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Cover by Jim Cheung, Marcos Martin, and Sara Pichelli