Mainstream comics are a medium characterized by unceasing long-term consistency. Both Marvel and DC experience small changes now and then – last year’s “death” of Peter Parker comes to mind – but eventually everything returns to the status quo – as did Peter Parker in yesterday’s Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1, which I will be reviewing in the coming days (I’m such a tease!). Crossover events are the source of these temporary shake-ups. Back when big events became popular in the mid to late 80s (DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths kind of began the trend) they were few and far between, but their effects were actually lasting to some extent. These days, though, both companies put out at least one crossover a year, encompassing most of their characters, and leading to changes that will be negated by the time the next one rolls around. Marvel’s last event, Infinity, wrapped up in November, but they are already prepping for the next one, with the prelude issue #0 of Original Sin.
After the debacle that was Survive!, writer Brian Michael Bendis returns to the the book that he does best – Ultimate Spider-Man. The series has been running near-continuously since 2000, originally featuring a younger, more modern version of Peter Parker, before Peter died and his title was passed on to a boy named Miles Morales. Back when he debuted in 2011, Miles, a young man of both African-American and Latino descent – seemed to be a direct response to the racist backlash against the movement to cast Donald Glover as Spider-Man. Since then Miles has become his own hero, with his own supporting cast and storylines. Ultimate Spider-Man #200 (which purports to be the third or fourth “final issue” of Ultimate Spider-Man) is more of a reflection of what came before than anything else.