[WARNING: This review contains spoilers of “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man” #1.]
A few years ago, when Brian Bendis introduced Miles Morales, before the character’s first appearance even hit the shelves, comic fans met the character with mixed emotions: some fans loved the idea and some downright hated it. In the time since, Bendis has made it quite clear that Morales is not Spider-Man in an effort to replace Peter Parker, but to continue to add to the legacy initiated by Parker. The caveat to that is the fact that in the Ultimate Marvel Universe anything can happen, including making Miles Morales a character every bit as worthy of slinging webs as Peter Parker, Jessica Drew or Ben Riley. I know I’m mixing universes a stitch there, but Miles has met the 616 Parker, so there is leeway for dramatic sense.
In “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man” #2, the titular teen hero meets Peter Parker of his universe. This was the dramatic cliffhanger dropped on readers in the debut issue of this series, but in this comic book, Bendis and artist Dave Marquez expand the idea into a story. Bendis doesn’t rule anything out, dotting lines for readers to follow to reach the same conclusions that Miles reaches, but that doesn’t make the meeting of the Ultimate Spider-Men any less confrontational as Parker just wants his webshooters back. The writer makes Parker affable, but the situation turns into a predicament that is going to have a winner and a loser. That story is where Bendis drops some “Parker luck” on Morales, ingratiating him to the readers in the process. Morales is every bit the unlucky, loveable, brave loser Pater Parker ever was — he just handles it differently.
From Cory Petit’s mixed case Ultimate Universe-standard lettering to Justin Ponsor’s dynamic, moody and textured coloring to the lines that form the skeleton of the visuals for “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man” #2, this is a beautiful comic book. Marquez mixes expression and choreography with camera angle to drum up the drama in the story while sprinkling details throughout the issue. The artist carries the story so completely by himself that Bendis gets out of the way for the first three pages of the book, letting Marquez tell the tale while Ponsor sets the environment. After that, the visual creators meld nicely to bring readers a story filled with surprises and the emotions to accompany those surprises, from Ganke’s reaction to Miles’ presumption to the world fading away into a blur behind Parker as Miles’ focus narrows tightly around his predecessor. This team is well-suited to the character and completely takes ownership of Miles Morales.
As I’ve sampled his adventures throughout his tenure, Miles Morales has won me over as a fan. That truly took root during the “Spider-Men” series and has held on throughout the adventures since. With the launch of this new title, I’ve found myself even more compelled to follow the adventures of the Ultimate Spider-Man and “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man” #2 provides a stellar example of why, bringing new readers up to speed without squandering valuable page real estate for readers more familiar with the Ultimate Universe. If only the next issue were coming out right now, like the page at the back of this issue advertises. It’s not, however, but until it does, I have two very enjoyable issues I can re-read.