SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Spider-Men II #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, Elisabetta D’Amico, John Dell, Justin Ponsor and Cory Petit, on sale now.
Brian Michael Bendis is leaving Marvel next year, but the writer is going out with a bang. This week brings the conclusion to Spider-Men II which sees the final face-off between the webbed heroes and the Miles Morales of Earth-616, all while our Miles grapples with the power and responsibility of being Spider-Man.
The issue also expanded on Prime Miles’ plans and in doing so, Bendis left a going away present for his long-time fans that doubles as one of the biggest surprises of 2017.
Spider-Man Is Pain
Spider-Men II has been a lot less bombastic than its predecessor, but by dialing back the fights, it’s allowed the characters to take the lead and examine the different perspectives of Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and even the Prime Miles. In his solo ongoing, Miles has been going through a crisis of conscience for a while, grappling with what it means to be Spider-Man, and whether he wants to continue to operate under that name. The responsibility of being a young black man and role model to others has been a constant thought on his mind since his ethnicity was revealed to the public way back at the start of the run. His mother’s discovery of his secret life — as well as his father’s secret life as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. — has placed even more pressure on him to consider whether this is what he truly wants.
It certainly doesn’t help that, while Peter Parker is a great mentor for Miles, he’s also an example of how being Spider-Man from your teens into your adult-life can take over everything. While Peter wants Miles to know that he’s happy and proud that there’s a Spider-Man like him out there, Miles is wrestling whether he wants to devote his life to the mask and the webs for the next ten, twenty, however many years. As one of the few people who remembers the Ultimate Universe as it existed before Secret Wars, Miles most likely still has memories of his mother’s death at the hands of Venom. And with the amount of people that now knows he’s Spider-Man — his mom, dad, Ganke, Fabio and Lana, to name a few — plus a new girlfriend on the horizon, he’s really struggling with the choice to continue being Spider-Man every day.