Spider-Man is dead! Long live Spider-Man!
After all of the anticipation and heated debates from fans over the past few months, the new Ultimate Spider-Man makes his debut. Whether you like it or not, Miles Morales is here and his introduction from Bendis couldn’t have been written any better. Were there areas of the book that felt a little flat to me and cliché? Sure, and we’ll get to those later, but for the most part the book sets up nicely and certainly delivers for a number one issue.
Bendis takes us back eleven months, where at Osborn Industries Norman is divulging some sensitive information to one of the doctors he feels can give him the desired results he needs. Later that evening there’s a break in, and the thief is a very unexpected Ultimate version of a character that I’ve liked for decades. From here on we’re introduced to Miles with a bit of a look into his family dynamic. We also see how he gets his powers and at least part of the reason behind it. There’s one power that immediately makes him stand out from his predecessor, and we get a brief look at it by the end of the issue.
As I said earlier, this is a good first issue and Bendis leaves you wanting to know more about everything in this issue. It’s pretty moderately paced as he lets the suspense do all of the work and lays the foundation with character building. It felt more like a drama than a superhero comic, and that isn’t a strike against the story in any way. What I did find to be a bit of one was the relationship between Miles, his uncle, and father. It was very predictable from the first panel and their interactions were pretty much by the numbers at that point. There’s also a scene where Miles is feeling extremely guilty about his accomplishment, and it’s never explained why. This is something that I hope Bendis touches on again to flesh this part out, because if not then that sequence was pretty much a waste. Hopefully things will make more sense as we get to know Miles and see him adjust to his new role.
I can say that Pichelli makes this one fine looking book, and Ponsor’s colors make it that much better to look at from start to finish. The two-page spread of Norman with the doctor is just an awesome set of panels. The other page that stands out is the last one of Miles displaying (accidentally) one of his new powers. Add to that the fact that the black characters are various shades and don’t look like white men/women colored brown. This may seem like a small thing to some, but when an artist and colorist take the time to get things like that right, it really adds to the authenticity of the the character. The only issue I had with the art was that Miles would look like an eight to nine year old in some panels and then around thirteen or fourteen in others. Other than that minor gripe I still say the art team gives a visual treat to the reader.
There is one thing about this book that I could not get over, and it really bothered me. The fact that it’s over too fast, and I felt like a little more story would have made me feel better considering the price of the issue. Aside from that I’d suggest giving the issue a try, even to those die hard fans who are dead set against anyone being Spider-Man except Peter Parker. Though some of those reasons are solely based on the fact the new character isn’t white, and to those all I have to say is “Deal with it.” Bendis says Miles is here to stay, and hopefully the media will get past the race of the character and talk mostly about the stories to come.