Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Sarah Pichelli / Marvel Comics
Let’s address the elephant in the room: while this is turning out to be a very good book, a few of us roaming the BNP offices had a weird aftertaste in our mouth after the “Black Spider-Man” ordeal from issue #2. I don’t say that to rehash the conversation, but merely to say that’s been one of the few things that has kept this from being a must read so shortly into it’s run. Issue #3 picks up where #2 ended, Miles walking back into his parents home with his grandmother there ready to “straighten him out.”
Yes, Miles’ grades have been shit (and we know why), not to mention he’s been distracted and aloof (dude is a teenager), but I’m guessing Mrs. Morales already regretted the decision to bring her mom in for tough love with Miles. The grandma is mostly humorous, but also intentionally over the top to where she becomes a caricature of every Big Momma that thinks that any one who messes up is on drugs. Still she is entertaining as she pivots us past the first couple of pages of the book.
What steals the show mostly is the cameo of Kamala Khan (as seen on the cover) and the art, but we’ll get to the art in a second. I don’t know if Kamala is THAT dope of a character or this should be credit to Bendis, but Kamala seems to have this great chemistry with every character in just about every book. Here’s, she’s instantly relatable and funny, a perfect compliment for Miles. And frankly, these are the the most visible POCs in the Marvel Universe over the last couple of years, any opportunity to get them in panels together is a victory.
Now the art: It’s incredible. Pichelli’s pencil work is great, but I can’t get over how well they are complimented by Justin Ponser’s color detail that make this book looks so good. Where our two most important characters are concerned, the aesthetic of these awkward, yet commanding teenagers could not be nailed more perfectly. There aren’t really any weaknesses either as the facial expressions hold up with everything else in this book. Really should be considered one of the best looking books at Marvel right now.
The action is all but non-existent, but we got a great moment with Miles and Kamala, the introduction of our villain for this book and the a surprise new mutant joining Miles’ class. All in all, pretty hard to go wrong in this one.