Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Sara Pichelli
Colored by Justin Ponsor
Lettered by VC’s Corey Petit
THE PLOT: After mistaking Jefferson Morales for being Spider-Man, Venom finds himself going against the new hotness as Miles desperately tries to keep him away from his family.
LONG STORY SHORT: Jefferson gets gravely injured trying to help Spider-Man and is carted to the hospital. Miles fends off Venom with his Venom Blast, and the creature dissappears in the sewers soon after the police show up. At the sight of his father being rushed to the emergency room, Miles breaks down in Ganke’s arm and says that it’s all his fault.
MY THOUGHTS: Man, this was good. The action puts this issue over #19, showing off both Bendis’ frantic yet naturalistic approach to tackling super-powered violence, and keeps the pace animated while playing over the entire length of the issue. Issues like these take me back to Ultimate Peter’s second major confrontation with the Green Goblin, where everything was happening at once and Peter could just barely stay ahead of the chaos even with his spider powers.
It’s hard for me not to gush, but Bendis just kills it in this issue. Miles, still the younger, fresher and inexperienced Spider-Man, tackles the same trials and errors that Peter did without it being a rehash of Pete’s adventures. He has several things on his mind all at the same time, while trying to fight off an enemy who’s way out of his league. The best aspects are his attempts to seperate himself from the Miles identity when addressing his father. I would love it if the impromptu English accent remained a fixture of Miles’ costumed identity, as I think that would be a neat way to throw people off. It’s a total kiddy thing to do, but it’s still a clever attempt to make. What was also nice was Miles’ fear that the costume wouldn’t hide a thing from his father about who he really was. With a monsterous Venom attacking I’d be surprised if Jefferson did know, so I think Miles’ identity is safe. In any other circumstance, it would be difficult for Miles to be inconspicuously missing once the newer, shorter Spider-Man appeared.
There are a couple of Peter Parker tropes thrown in which Bendis gives to Miles that really work for the story’s drama. One was the messed up web fluid, made inconsistent by Ganke. Peter would mess up his webbing every now and then, so it’s a science one has to get down exactly right and it added a small bit of humor to see that carried over here. There other at the end of the issue was Miles’ reciting of Peter’s “IT’S ALL MY FAULT” line which has been repeated ad nauseum in recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man. What makes this example of self-pity more palatable goes back to Miles’ youth and inexperience. He blames himself for his dad’s injuries even though he was in no control over what had happened, illustrating that the life of Spider-Man is always one of constant struggle between balancing two lives. This is the first major tragedy Miles’ has faced as a direct result of his actions as Spider-Man, so it will be very interesting to see how he can rebound from it. This sort of thing runs the risk of being overplayed, and even got worn out with Ultimate Peter Parker fairly often after a certain amount of time. I suppose somewhere down the line Miles’ mom or Ganke will be in danger, but having the very first tragic consequence be his father who decries Spider-Man adds both some small irony and weight to Miles, as he’ll no doubt consider and compare the pros and cons of leading a double life.
I do hope that while Jefferson’s injuries should be serious enough that it means something for the story, it’s not too incapacitating to the point of changing the entire tone of the book. Bendis can be somewhat of a hitman with this title and these characters, so whatever’s in store for Miles’ dad, here’s hoping that it works in full positive effect for the next several stories.
This was little more than a fight issue, but the best of its kind in that it results in consequences for the characters while delivering on the action from page to page. It’s not much more than that, but when it’s good it’s more than enough.
Plus, that shot of Miles doing the (quite literal) shirt rip was awesome.