Of Mice and Spider-Men
For the past few years, Marvel has made many creative choices that they never said they would make: Bucky Barnes has been brought back to life, Wolverine’s origin has been revealed, and Jean Grey has stayed dead. Now we can add another “thing that was never going to happen but is now gonna happen”:
This summer, the regular “616” Marvel universe is going to collide with the Ultimate Marvel universe.
Now, this isn’t a universe wide event. This is just the meeting of two versions of Marvel’s flagship character, the one and only Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man. Details are scarce at the moment, but the Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli five issue miniseries is already being called one of the “biggest stories in Marvel history”, according to editor in chief Axel Alonso, of course.
This is a HUGE deal in more ways than one. Besides the fact that this summer will mark Spidey’s 50th anniversary, the meeting of these two universes is a really big deal, mainly because of the potential we have here. Now more than ever, the Ultimate universe is a major departure from the regular 616 universe. Reed Richards is a bad guy, the X-Men are barely recognizable to their “regular” counterparts, and most importantly, Peter Parker is DEAD. The sheer idea of the 616 Marvel Spidey meeting Miles Morales and learning that his counterpoint in the Ultimate universe is dead is really cool, not to mention the fact that Gwen Stacy not being worm food in the Ultimate universe should also cause some alarm from Parker.
The Ultimate Marvel universe lost it’s appeal to me around the time of the second relaunch, but I’ve heard enough positive buzz around Ultimate Comics Spider-man that I’m going to pick up the first hardcover collection and go from there. One of the things that I first loved about the Ultimate universe was its willingness to differentiate itself from the Marvel universe that we all know and love. Granted, after the first year of the Ultimate Universe imprint many of the storylines started to fall into a theme of “who can we ultimize next?” and after the one-two punch travesty of Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum, I’m amazed as many people came back to the relaunch that did. I’m also amazed at the amount of people who came back for the most recent relaunch, which brings the Ultimate universe up to two relaunches in barely ten years. Yikes.
However, Miles Morales is a step towards the Ultimate universe of old (feels weird saying that since it’s not THAT old), and there have been a lot of strides lately to make the Ultimate world different from its inspirations. There’s a lot of cool potential for the Spider-men of these two universes meeting for the first and hopefully only time. Knowing Marvel however, this will probably the first of many team-ups between the 616 universe and the Ultimate universe. Remember Marvel Zombies, and how cool and original that was? Then Marvel decided to do everything from four sequels to Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol? If anything is guaranteed, it’s that Marvel NEVER learns from their past mistakes, and this is the start to a whole slew of Ultimate/616 crossovers.
Or who knows? Maybe another relaunch.