Brian Michael Bendis’ “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” #13 is over a year into its relaunch and continues to prove it can be a delight to read about the development of a new superhero, even when it’s revisiting all the same old beats with a slightly different chorus. Miles Morales is human and inspiring, heroic and flawed — in other words, all the best things readers look for in a superhero.
This whole time I’ve been reading (and loving) “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man,” the book has felt completely unconnected from what I’d seen from “Ultimate Comics X-Men.” That changes here as Bendis begins to reference the world beyond Miles’ small corner and what could have been a mess holds together nicely. It would be easy for the chaos and war going on and as a big part of the “Divided We Fall” crossover to overrun this book, but Bendis does a good job of setting “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” firmly within the greater scope of the Ultimate U without letting its continuity overrun what this book is really about: a young man coming to terms with great power and responsibility.
The story in this issue is not particularly important, but it’s another nice piece to the development of Miles Morales. Captain America semi-guest stars, and there will likely be more of him in the next issue. I admit I cringed with boredom at where the storyline seems to be headed, but perhaps Bendis can surprise readers as he did to a certain degree at the end of this issue.
David Marquez’s art for the most part is lovely and his portrayal of Miles as Spider-Man has wonderful movement and expression. However, I find his bizarre panel layouts in his action scenes to be a bit random and unnecessary, even while the illustration work is sublime. I wish he’d simplify the panel layouts and let his strong figure work and composition choices speak for themselves. Some of the more emotional “non-hero” scenes are stiff and almost antiseptically clean in a way that strips them of some of their personality. Perhaps it’s just the bad luck of having to follow artists like Sara Pichelli and Chris Samnee, whose work is not only beyond exceptional, but also cloaked in personality and verve. That said, Marquez, like Pichelli, excels at drawing a nicely varied cast and Miles and Ganke’s lunchroom in particular is a cornucopia of diverse melting pot goodness — something comics desperately needs.
Over a year in, “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” continues to be one of the best and most consistent books I buy, with strong creative teams and a clear devoted vision for the book, Brian Michael Bendis has created a great new superhero in Miles Morales, one I’d love to see stand the test of time.