Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Bendis
Art by: Sara Pichelli
Collects: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2011) #1-5
WHAT’s THE STORY?
Who Is Miles Morales? is the first volume of the third series of Ultimate Spider-Man (and the second titled Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) wherein the adventures of Peter Parker are reimagined for a new audience in a more updated setting than the classic sixties comics.
However, since the universe kicked off way back in Ultimate Spider-Man: Power & Responsibility, Peter Parker has had a whole slew of adventures, made a ton of enemies, dated several girls, and become something of a beloved hero.
In fact, despite it’s original ‘new-reader-friendly’ premise, this ‘Ultimate’ universe has developed a complex history all it’s own in its 10+ years of being in print.
The world was shaken when Magneto used Thor’s hammer Mjolnir to tilt the Earth’s axis and temporarily drown Manhattan and his Brotherhood attacked humanity. Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four turned into a supervillain and also terrorised the planet. Many of the X-Men were killed off. And the Ultimates (this universe’s Avengers) split up and reformed, only to go to war with their own black-ops division (confusingly called ‘The Avengers’).
And perhaps most importantly (to this series, certainly), Peter Parker took a bullet from the Punisher (in the midst of that aforementioned Ultimates/Avengers conflict), and eventually bled out after saving his aunt May and friends from the Green Goblin and his Sinister Six.
But even with Peter Parker gone, the story continues!
In this comic, Miles Morales takes centre stage as the all-new…
Real Name: Miles Gonzalo Morales
Affiliation: The Champions
First Appearance: Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (October 2011)
In another universe, teenager Miles Morales was bitten by a genetically engineered spider accidentally stolen from Norman Osborn by his cat-burglar uncle Aaron Davis a.k.a. The Prowler. Undergoing strange changes, Miles conferred with his best friend Ganke Lee, and the two concluded he had gained, with the addition of invisibility and an energy blast, powers similar to Spider-Man!
However, shunning heroics, Miles instead decided to keep his powers secret and was wracked with guilt after witnessing the death of the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Deciding the continue Parker’s legacy, Miles became the all-new ‘Ultimate’ Spider-Man, protecting New York and the World as the new web-slinger.
However, through the machinations of Mysterio, Miles came to meet another Peter Parker, of Earth-616, and later, during a reality breaking crisis, found his friends and family transported to this Peter Parker’s reconstructed world after his own universe was destroyed. Now, in a world full of superheroes, Miles fights the good fight alongside the adult Spider-Man and a growing number of teen Champions.
Spider-Man is dead.
But months before he died, another young man, Miles Morales, was bitten by a similarly enhanced spider and granted spider powers.
In the months leading up to Peter Parker’s death, Miles grapples with personal problems and the responsibility of using his powers for good, as he questions whether he should don the mask.
Who is Miles Morales? is an intriguing start to the story of Marvel’s newer Spider-Man, and while it may not be as exhilarating as Into the Spider-Verse or Spider-Man PS4, it still aptly answers the titular question.
We get a good feel of his character and his place in life, and an introduction to some of the major players in his world. His relationship to the original Spider-Man (or lack thereof) is properly fleshed out, and the way Bendis makes Peter Parker Miles’ ‘Uncle Ben’ figure is very well done. Even seeing the event that inspires him to don the mask, regardless of the fact we’ve seen it before in another comic, still evokes a lot of emotion.
While I understand Mark Bagley is an iconic comic book creator, I feel the art really takes a step up here, especially compared to the earlier days of Ultimate Spider-Man. Sara Pichelli’s work is crisp and animated, and the colourists and inkers do an excellent job in heightening its quality even further.
Miles’ Spider-Man suit design is beautiful, and his journey to get it is thoughtful and entertaining.
I have my reservations about his powers, especially how they’re put into use compared to characters like the Ultimates who make an appearance in this story.
The fact that he pretty much escapes every altercation in this comic by just using his ‘venom blast’, even to defeat a hardened Spider-Man foe (Electro) seems a little cheap. But overall, it’s a decent story that nicely mirrors the original Spider-Man origin, while highlighting the differences between the two Spider-Men.
All-in-all, I give Who is Miles Morales? a…
Thanks for reading! Are you a Miles Morales fan? Let me know in the comments below!
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