Legacy characters are interesting. Whether it's an actor in a role or a hero in spandex, they have to remain true to what made their predecessor great, while bringing something new to the role. Miles Morales is the Ultimate Spider-Man, and his name's on the masthead, now. Show us what ya got, kid. [Spoilers below.]
This issue represents a fine jumping-on point, if you've never heard of Miles Morales, before. (Although if you're reading this, it's unlikely.) He's in a good school, he's got a loving girlfriend, and he's grown into the role of Spider-Man— figuratively and literally. He's not the same overwhelmed kid that first donned the tights. Far from it. And with stories (and life), it's when you've got your $#!t together that more of it hits the fan.
Morales is a good son, constantly on the lookout for any sign of his father. The last time they saw each other, Miles revealed his secret identity, and his dad essentially disowned him. Whether or not he's even still alive is unclear. (Galactus was involved. It was a thing.)
Plots thicken all over the place, as not one but two mystery men pull a daring heist, dressed in duds not unlike ol' Spidey's. They may be deliberately modeling their look on the wall-crawler; they have his body language and theatrics down to a tee. They're just crooks— who demonstrate teamwork, forethought, even a little showmanship. They may not seem terribly dangerous, but I think that'll change.
But don't worry, there's plenty for Miles to worry about. Norman Osborn is back! Turns out everyone's least-favorite jerk is still alive (because of course he is), and a long-term guest of SHIELD's finest underground prison. With SHIELD going the way of the dodo, Osborn is loaded into an armored truck, to points elsewhere. Then this happens.
The single greatest persistent threat to the original USM has just broken out of prison. Again. That is seriously going to put a wrinkle in Miles' day.
It's not like Morales doesn't have other things on his plate. Between his nightly excursions in tights, his academic career, and spending time with his girlfriend, he barely has time for his best pal, Ganke.
Miles and his girlfriend, Katie Bishop, have been getting pretty serious. Serious enough for him to consider telling her everything. Ganke thinks it's a bad idea, if only because the more people that know, the less special he feels. That's understandable. Miles consults someone with more experience.
MJ is actually happy for Miles, and encourages him to follow his heart. She's reminded of how it felt when Peter told her.
It has to be said, the artwork is superb. David Marquez does fantastic work bringing these characters to life, and Justin Ponsor's colors only embellish already great stuff. The look on Mile's face. He's considering taking a huge step. And in this moment, it is so clear that he still hasn't made up his mind.
Kudos for the hilarious line, "This is a big secret you can't take back." Comedy gold.
Brian Michael Bendis' writing is on-point, introducing these characters to new readers in a way that doesn't feel contrived, or forced. Bringing new readers up to speed in dialogue between two characters who already know everything about what they're discussing, takes nuance. And... it just flows here.
We know everything we need to about this guy. It's critical, we need our bearings on Miles so we can be right there with him when his life turns upside-down.
Hi, Pete. Kinda surprised it took you this long to show up.
So what's the deal here? A clone? Kept under wraps for the year-plus he's been gone while SHIELD looked after his corpse? I really hope not. To paraphrase from Kill Bill Vol. 2, "Letting someone who loves you believe you are dead is an extremely cruel thing to do."
So... where the hell has Peter been? What happened to him? What's prevented him from showing up before now? I presume he was the figure watching the anniversary-funeral at Aunt May's house. How on earth can he justify letting his loved ones still think he's dead?
I wanna know the answers to these questions. I suspect you do, too. Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man is off to a cracking start. I can't wait to see what's next.
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