Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

Miles Morales has been put through a lot over the years. He has lived through the death of his hero, the betrayal of his uncle, the murder of his mother, an Ultimate war, a world eater bursting through the seams of his reality, even the horrors of high-school and much more all with great power and responsibility thrust upon him. Since being bitten by a genetically altered spider that imbued him with powers like a venomous sting and partial invisibility, Miles has carried on the mantle of Spider-Man and since been inducted into the Ultimates, defeated Galactus, met Peter Parker from an alternate world and is now looking for his estranged father after revealing to him his secret identity. Many familiar faces return in this new chapter of Miles’ life and enemies old and new will do their best to end the legacy of Spider-Man.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man is the new #1 in the Ultimate comics line, scripted by Brian Michael Bendis, long time Ultimate Spider-Man scribe, and David Marquez, long time contributor to Miles’ adventures. The new jumping on point is basically Ultimate Spider-Man #201 as it is more of a new story arc than it is a new jumping on point or volume. It feels more like season 2 in a TV series than it does a fresh starting point. This is understandable and to be expected as the attempt to give readers opportunity to jump on is heavy in the comics and new #1s seem to effectively do that trick, whether the story calls for it or not. As a reader of Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man since the first trade was available at my childhood library I am glad that the series has always been a long running epic and not a constantly rebooted franchise. That being said, the first appearance of Miles in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 was a fresher place to jump on board for a new audience member than this particular issue. The only reason I mention this is to soften the blow for many readers who will be lost or simply won’t get the proper impact with this new #1. I’d highly suggest picking up the volumes of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (the Miles Morales series is all you’ll need to catch up on although everything before then is also excellent) before diving into this new series both because it will provide context for everything you will read here and because it is a fantastic comic that I think everyone should read anyway.

Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man series both with Peter Parker or Miles have been some of my favorite superhero comics ever. Capturing the spirit and glee of Spider-Man perfectly, Bendis’ now 14 year stretch of scripting the Ultimate world of the webhead has always been inventive, surprising, hilarious and heartbreaking. The death of Peter Parker in the ultimate universe is a truly solemn moment and watching a young kid like Miles make his mark in the world with Peter’s legacy as a torch is beautiful and moving to read. We are simply given more content in that vein with this new #1 that picks up exactly where everything left off after the invasion of Galactus in the Ultimate Universe. Bendis has planted many great seeds in this issue and leaves you with a last page that is shocking, curious and warranting a massive double take so there is still plenty more to come from the scripting powerhouse.

David Marquez was alongside Sarah Pichelli in the initial launch of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and his presence has been spectacular ever since. His smooth pencils and rounded character designs make the fast-paced action of the title glide from panel to panel. His style is one of the cleanest looking in Marvel comics and his work on the book is one that I hope has as long a relationship as Bendis initially had alongside Mark Bagley who penciled over 100 issues of the run. Within this issue we see teases of upcoming villains that are masterfully rendered and a spoiler on the last page that is a simple image in concept but one that carries tremendous weight thanks to Marquez’s solid talent.

Mile Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man is the excellent second chapter in the saga of this hero that features an exciting last page and drama galore. Just be sure to brush up on the past Miles stories before checking this book out.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

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