By Molly Jane Kremer. Being one of the last All-New, All-Different Marvel firsts to debut has built up a huge amount of anticipation to finally see Mr. Miles Morales web-sling his way across the 616 universe. We knew it was coming before Secret Wars (eventually) ended, but the wait has been nigh interminable. Everyone (or at least everyone I know) had major questions about how this book’s denizens would be incorporated into the normal-canon Marvel universe, since the shuffling of Miles seems to be one of the most momentous changes (besides the shelving of Marvel’s First Family) to come out of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s crossover opus.
Questions abounded, like whether or not Miles’ supporting cast would follow him from the Ultimate universe (it looks like yes, or at least those characters unique to his own story); and how it would work having two different Spider-Men thwipping around Manhattan (although with the plethora of awesome arachnid characters in the Marvel U currently, turns out this isn’t exactly a pressing matter). The transfer of most of his supporting cast works incredibly well, and I don’t think Marvel could have – or should have – moved Miles over without them. (Just the loss of beloved Ganke would have left me inconsolable.) Though, as revealed in the end of Secret Wars, Miles’ mom is no longer dead (always nice to have one less fridged female in comics), so there have been changes to his personal status quo, and we can assume there are more that have yet to reveal themselves.
After consistently working with the same group of artists over the course of so many years, Brian Michael Bendis has become very comfortable writing directly to each individual’s particular strengths. Working repeatedly with Sara Pichelli for over five years has seen her art only improve (if that’s even possible) since the first time we enjoyed her high-flying antics with Miles. (Speaking of which, if you haven’t read that ol’ Spider-Men crossover featuring her glorious pencils and inks, well… consider yourself strongly urged.)
Pichelli is an artist who excels at tackling her writer’s constant stream of snappy dialogue, which allows her to render panel after panel of emotive and true faces, featuring reactions on par with the excellent Kevin Maguire. She also ensures legitimate familial resemblance between Miles and his father, and gives each and every character unique and expressive characteristics. Justin Ponsor’s coloring pairs up perfectly as well, adding depth and energy to her already stellar inks. Though we sift through page after page of chatting (this is a Bendis book), Pichelli’s layouts remain outstanding throughout, adding incredible dynamism to the already thrilling action pages. The book’s centerfold double-page spread—Miles hurriedly exiting class to go Spidey it up outside—is an incredible page of sequential art. Letterer Cory Petit effectively lines the wide horizontal panels with the sound effects of shrieking sirens, spreading out from the center like, well, a spider’s web. The sequence, and the whole issue, is nothing less than visually outstanding superhero comics.
Thanks to that mid-Secret Wars #6 pocket-hamburger (and, y’know, the fact that Miles’ Ultimate Spider-Man in all its incarnations was a consistently great and well-selling book), we get to keep Miles around for a good long while, even after the death of his universe. There’s a beautiful symmetry in having the creative team that originally introduced him to the world be the one to reintroduce him into general Marvel continuity, and hopefully Mr. Morales will—for a good long while to come—continue to piss off those assholes upset that “they made Spider-Man black”, while keeping those of us who love reading ding-dang good comic books happy as a pig in you-know-what.
Currently, of Marvel’s main “spider-dude” roster of Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey, and now Spider-Man, Amazing is oddly the book that feels the least like a Spider-Man comic. (Spider-Man International? Parker Industries? Not a comic for me.) Despite the inevitable confusion over the titles amongst casual fans, and with Spidey featuring a not-in-continuity Peter, Miles’ Spider-Man is now our main source of friendly neighborhood arachnid goings-on. Good thing Spider-Man feels exactly like a Spider-Man comic should: full of well-articulated angst, thrills, action and drama. As far as this issue goes, Miles is—and will be—fills those sizable, sticky-toed footie-shoes quite nicely.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis.
Art by Sara Pichelli.
Colors by Justin Ponsor.
Letters by Cory Petit.
9 out of 10