“Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man” #1 reads less like a first issue and more like a continuation of everything that has come before it. Brian Michael Bendis continues to tell the best teenage super-hero story since the original Peter Parker and though it draws from existing continuity, Bendis does a good job of catching readers up on the pertinent information necessary to get in on the ground floor. This comes after immediately kicking the threat level up to a bajillion in the opening pages, but before turning Miles’ world upside down on the final page.
Bendis writes teenagers really, really well. His tics of having characters repeat themselves, or talk through a thought, or go off on tangents, feels like exactly how teens talk. It’s not about the slang, it’s about the way they try to discover how to express themselves. Bendis characters typically sound like they are doing that and it maps so well on Miles and his crew. I loved the heart-to-heart he has with Katie Bishop in the stairwell. His moments with Ganke are well-written, and his meeting with Mary Jane makes for some really strong character development. She doesn’t provide him with the answers he hopes for, but instead makes a hard decision even tougher. The marriage-to-superhero-reveal comparison is spot-on and leaves Miles now questioning just how much he cares about Kate.
David Marquez is David Marquez, making this book simply gorgeous. The creative duo are crafting a Spider-Man for a new generation and I’m slightly jealous they will be able to look back and have a book as high quality as this one be a touchstone in their lives.
This far into his publication career Miles has had enough adventures to be considered the real deal. Bendis has created a character with problems to which a new generation of kids can relate. It’s a 21st century world and this is a 21st century Spider-Man.
I am still genuinely upset that Miles’ dad took a powder on him after Miles told him his secret. It felt like a contrivance of plot and not a real character action. That the apartment is still abandoned in this opening issue shows none of the care this man supposedly had for his child at the start of the series. It makes no sense to me that an adult would dump this on a 14 year old. I’m hoping that is the route Bendis is taking here, and this was the reaction he was hoping for, but still existing in the status quo of Miles without his father really sucks.
There’s a huge reveal at the end of the issue which leads me to think we’re not quite done with the clones that we visited about 100 issues ago in the Ultimate Spider-Timeline. It’s a hell of a tease for the future of this ongoing. If you’re on board the train already, you won’t be getting off any time soon. If you’re new to the book, Bendis and Marquez will pull you in to their web.