You’ve seen Amazing Spider-Man, you’ve seen Spider-Man 2099, hell you’ve even seen Deadpool/Spider-Man. Now prepare yourself for Marvel’s most innovative title yet… Spider-Man.
To say there is an oversaturation of the ‘Wall Crawler’ in comics at the moment would be a gross understatement indeed. Marvel have plastered their relaunch titles with various versions of the iconic character and now it is the turn of Miles Morales to swing into action in his own book. Don’t let the vast amounts of Spidey titles put you off though, this one deserves to be judged on its own merits. The question is, do those make this haul list worthy?
The first thing that should be clear is that this is not the same lifeless Morales from All-New All-Different Avengers. No, this is a much more effectively actualised version of the character and you have the writer, Brian Michael Bendis, to thank for this.
He balances the teen drama that young Miles is fated to face with the explosive action of the excellently depicted battle sequences. You get the feeling that this new Spidey is just finding his feet in the role as he struggles to balance his ‘real’ life with his existence as a superhero just as Peter Parker did. The most impressive thing about the writing of the real life hurdles he encounters in this book is that they don’t feel overly forced or uninteresting as they have done in many other titles dealing with young heroes. His school dramas are oddly relatable even to older readers who haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for years and are grateful for that fact. There is a distinct air of relatability in everything that happens to him, from being rejected by a beautiful but vapid girl to being grilled over his grades by an overly intense mother. It is this element of Bendis’ writing that makes this book a must read for all Marvel fans.
The action set pieces follow a different but still naturalistic formula that suits this character to a tee. He does not stride heroically in and save the day with ease but nor does he stumble and fail. Instead Miles is quite effective at saving the lives of several victims of a nearby explosion, catching them in webbing and carrying them to safety. This leads to a rather enjoyable moment when a member of the public suggests that he swings towards the explosions rather than sitting on the periphery. It is in this moment that the inexperience of this youngster becomes clear and he becomes even more endearing in an odd way.
When he does meet the inter-dimensional villain the reader gets the feeling that he is distinctly out of his depth at first as several other big name heroes such as Iron-Man and Captain America are seen lying defeated all around. He does not take the advantage immediately but neither does he shy away from the fight, rather he shows the same plucky spirit that led Parker’s incarnation to such heights of fame. Whilst doing so he also displays his own brand of humour which is something that is sure to win over anyone still skeptical of him. Such a character trait is essential in anyone donning any type of Spider-Suit.
The battle itself does end somewhat anti-climactically but it is clearly only to set up something bigger in future issues so it is a forgivable spot on an otherwise highly enjoyable read. Not every encounter can be an epic one but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile and this is a prime example of that.
It isn’t just Miles that Bendis writes in a pleasing manner here as the supporting cast also serve to greatly improve the narrative. Miles’ best friend Ganke is the best example of this as he provides a pleasing counter balance to others who are only getting in the way of Miles’ efforts. Ganke provides unwavering support for his friend and promises to be an important part of this comic’s evolution throughout its run.
The dimensions of Miles both in and out of his suit look a lot more human than in other depictions and as such you get a more immersive story. You aren’t looking at some steroid fueled monster that would be better suited in early 90’s WWF, instead you get a very normal looking young man who just so happens to be a superhero and that is exactly what the story calls for on this title. Sara Pichelli and Gaetano Carlucci are to be thanked for this tone fitting artistry and they deliver throughout the entire book with realistic landscapes and the oh so rare unexaggerated characters.
Both Cory Petit, the letterer, and Justin Ponsor, the colourist, should also share in the praise here as they use their respective talents to craft a well-rounded comic. It has to be said that everyone on this book blended exceedingly well and it resulted in something just a bit special.
Overall, this was a fantastic first entry into this new Spider-Man story and it bodes well for the future of the title. Do yourself a favour and check it out.
Score: 4.5 out of 5.
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