Holy Shit. Can I say that in a comic review? Who cares, I did. And this comic deserves it.
Firstly: I must admit that I am not Marvel’s biggest fan. That’s not to say I hate them but I haven’t read Marvel in years and it’s mostly because I’d rather read about my favorite DC heroes. Marvel didn’t really have any heroes that interested me enough to pick up an issue.
Then Paranoia pressured me into purchasing some Marvel comics to expand my horizons and I had to go through the arduous task of finding something to read from the other mainstream publisher. Fear Itself was too big to get into this late, Thor is only sexy if he’s Chris Hemsworth, the X-Men are too angsty, and Peter Parker is dead . . . . Wait, WHAT?!
So, I chose to read about Bendis’ amazing run in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man featuring the middle-schooler, Miles Morales as the Ultimate Universe’s newest, and only, Spider-Man. I will forgive the alliteration in his name because comics have a hard on for same-letter-initials.
Miles starts his series winning a lottery and getting into a fancy school, he originally feels guilty that he won and wonders if some other kid would have been more deserving of the honor of going to the Brooklyn Visions Academy. The number drawn for his lucky win is 42. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!)
Meanwhile, Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis aka “The Prowler”, robs an Oscorp laboratory and a genetically engineered spider, with the number 42 on it’s back, sneaks into his bag. (See! I told you it was important!) Bendis is playing it very close, the illusion of destiny and coincidence when it comes to the fate of Miles. After meeting with his uncle Miles is bitten and is given spider-powers. Though not the same as Peter, Miles can climb walls, has super-jumping, a spider-sense, invisibility and/or camouflage, and has a nifty little venom-sting-touchy-thing.
After Parker’s death, which Miles was a witness to, he attends the funeral as one of many observers and asks why Peter chose to be Spider-Man. He gets a telling off by Gwen Stacy and BAM! Destiny! Miles has chosen to become New York’s, rather inept, Spider-Man who goes about clumsily catching villains in a Halloween costume, much to the chagrin of many a New Yorker.
I was blown away. This is something you have to read. You have to see. Sara Pichelli is an artistic genius, her character designs, facial expressions are amazing. But what I’m totally in love with is how she captures Miles as a young Spider-Man in his movement, how she can tell a story, display an emotion by panels alone, no inner monologue or narration needed. The best example of this is when Miles attempts to climb up to his ceiling for the first time. The colors that Justin Ponsor uses do nothing but compliment Pichelli’s artwork.
Bendis has created a character that I favor over the original Spider-Man, this is something that I haven’t seen since Kyle Rayner took over the GL position on Earth. Morales received his powers the same way as Parker but was content to keep them a secret because there already was a Spider-Man. When Parker fell Miles felt guilt for not being a superhero earlier, when Miles saved people from a burning building he felt fear and doubted he was a hero, when Miles’ father explained his hatred for mutants he felt shame. For a middle-schooler he has a lot of deal with and I’m not sure why but a character in this kind of turmoil is an amazing read. What is most compelling is the constant question: is Miles worthy of being Spider-Man?
On a side note, his race didn’t enhance or detract from the comic. And that’s how it should be. Give this comic a read, if you’re disappointed then I hate you and you are dumb.