Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Sarah Pichelli / Marvel Comics
What began in 2011 with his first appearance, and then was followed by years of fans (well, some of us fans) practically begging for it, the time has finally come. Miles Morales is now a character in a proper Marvel Universe with all the other first rate versions of the Marvel Heroes we love. The Ultimate Universe, basically through Bendis’ sheer will, held together for as long as possible (and probably a little too long), but much of that was on the back of his own creation, Mr. Morales. After Hickman basically created a new Marvel with his Time Runs Out / Secret Wars storyline, effectively ending anything Ultimate, Miles survived the crossover and made his way to the newly formed and unified world (thanks to T’Challa, but that’s another story altogether).
Spider-Man #1 is a gambit, no doubt. In the All-New All Different Marvel, Bendis has to either tightrope walk or pick and choose carefully what carries over about Miles from the Ultimate Universe. Appealing to brand new readers that were brought in by the new creative impulses of Marvel while making the character familiar to longtime Miles Morales fans is not easy, and Bendis has some victories and defeats here.
What you’ll notice first off is that Miles is older than the fresh faced and naive webslinger than we knew before. Well he isn’t exactly mature yet, he is much more of a teenager with hormones and listlessness than he was as a preteen in the Ultimate Universe. The biggest change though…Miles’ father is here…with his mom. The biggest event to happen to Miles previously was the death of his mother at the hands of Venom, but in the All-New All-Different, she is alive and well and yelling at Miles for screwing up in school. It was jarring for me, as someone familiar with his story and made me hopeful to have her back. But is it a gut punch? Is this a setup for her to die again? Time will tell.
This book deals mostly in flashback showing Miles’ struggles with balancing the superhero business with the business of being a present student and friend. That should feel very familiar to any Spider-Man fans. A new villain is introduced and we ultimately get to see what makes Miles both familiar and unique. His humor is different than Peter Parker’s but similar in that there is a bevy of humor in the middle of perilous fights. Speaking of Peter, it’s also evident that he will be a big part of this book as well.
Pichelli does a great job in this transition to seeing “new” Miles with his more grown-up features and his long and lankey stature. Miles feels appropriately awkward throughout most of the book, until the fighting resumes, where she handles the action in contained, but bombastic fashion.
This is a solid first book for Miles as he sits at the big kids table for the first time at Marvel. I’m happy that this book is simply named Spider-Man #1, with no qualifiers or disclaimers. This is Spider-Man. Not Ultimate Super All New Different You Won’t Believe It Kind of Sorta Spider-Man. He’s the real deal, he’s here and he’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.