Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (review) Spoilers


There is a pattern. It’s cyclical.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Dave Marquez

Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Cover Artist: Dave Marquez and Justin Ponsor

Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw

Editor: Mark Paniccia

Plot: Following the closure of SHIELD, the very-not-dead Norman Osborn escapes from confinement. While a pair of criminals dubbed the Spider-Man Twins begin a crime spree, Miles Morales seeks dating advice from Mary Jane Watson.

Thoughts:This issue feels very much like a cold open to a new season of a long running series. The audience has tuned in, desperately, looking for the plot threads from the finale to be resolved, but all the writer wants is to set up for a new run of stories. On my first read through I did feel a little let down by this, but I’m going to use this review as a bit of a therapy session. I suspect I’ve judged this based on what I wanted it to be, rather than what it is.

imageWe start the issue at a secret SHIELD facility. The facility has been covertly holding Norman Osborn on Nick Fury’s say so. He’s drugged and making idol threats from his Hannibal-style captivity. This was only a two-page scene, but it does feel a little dragged out. The SHIELD agent and the government liaison spend a lot of time talking back and forth before the big reveal. Their plentiful dialogue is not helped by the scene’s use of color. It is very well lit, which contributes little to the tension a scene like this should have. This series in the past has been able to use color to depict tone and build tension, that was not the case here. The fact that Osborn is alive is hardly surprising, but I was left excited at the prospect of Miles going up against his idol’s killer. That seems to have limitless story potential. Hopefully we shouldn’t have to wait too long, as once Norman is transferred into non-SHIELD hands he escapes in a fiery explosion. I did appreciate that Norman’s return is not convoluted, or anything to do with mystic ninjas. Fury told everyone Osborn was dead, but he wasn’t. Simple.

The next sequence begins with two men debating superhero deaths. On face value they are discussing the recent demise of Captain America, and one of the men believes that when Cap is needed he will return. While on the surface this had little to do with Miles Morales, the reason many of us probably bought the book, but it does put the reader in the right frame of mind for this issue’s cliffhanger, which I will discuss shortly. Mid-debate the two men are ambushed by the “Spider-Men Twins”. I think the credit should go to Hornacek and others, who predicted the Fly Twins would be the animated characters to make the jump to the comic page. The art in this scene was more from what I expect from this series. The Twins entrance is very eerie, as only their outline and eyes are visible at first. Despite being almost identical in appearance I think Bendis did a fine job in the script to demonstrate the differences between the two and give them some personality. I look forward to seeing more of them.

imageWhich finally brings us to Miles Morales. Unfortunately Miles’ status quo has become a little confusing in the wake of Cataclysm. Miles has not seen Jefferson since he confessed to being Spider-Man. The police believe Jefferson was killed during Cataclysm, making Miles an orphan. Although he’s still at the same school, hanging out with Ganke. I find it difficult to believe that Jefferson’s “death” would not effect Miles’ circumstances. Should he not be in foster care? Who is paying for school? I understand Bendis not wanting to go that route, but it did take me out of the story. What we did get from Miles this issue I enjoyed. He is still dating Kate Bishop, and is considering telling her he’s Spider-Man. Honestly I hope he does. I am interested in this relationship and would like to see it developed further. All the significant moments seem to happen off screen, even their kiss for some reason. This does put the audience into an interesting position however when MJ asks Miles to consider if his relationship with Kate is the real thing, or just high school dating. The audience has no was of knowing that, and therefore can’t tell if Miles telling her is the right move. This is a very engaging approach to this story. Miles telling her could go either way.

Okay, the cliffhanger. Miles returns to his father’s apartment and runs into a very-not-dead Peter Parker. The same long-haired, blue-hooded individual who was spying on him in Ultimate #200. It’s a great visual, and for a second I wanted to believe it, but I don’t. While the character refers to himself as the “original” Spider-Man, I can’t help but think a marketing exec at Marvel would have promoted this return, given the sales numbers of Amazing no.1. However this does leave the audience guessing. If this isn’t Peter Parker, who us he?

Grade- C: A luke-warm opening chapter. The characters and situations are compelling, but I was looking for more from an opening issue. Miles is only in costume when he goes to visit MJ, and the action sequences in this issue are hardly the series best to date.


(21) Comments

  1. SpiderHam

    I think it's the Scorpion clone honestly. I don't really want Peter to return in both 616 and ultimate at the same time. though these theories about the Spider/Fly Twins being Parker clones is very interesting I think.

  2. Stinger Steve

    I'm calling that it is the Scorpion clone. He hasn't been seen in years. I can see him becoming the Ultimate Universe's Kaine.

  3. Gary

    Miles' dad disappearing hasn't affected his life and caused him to end up in foster care is because Miles is a total Mary Sue. The only problem he seems to really have is whether to tell his girlfriend he's Spider-man or not, and with his Mary Sue status, she'll not only accept it, but she'll be considered the most supportive girlfriend in comic history. Because Mary Sue.

  4. Adam T

    @15 - I don't think it was explicit what they were stealing. But they were only taking what they "need".

  5. Natecore

    This issue is everything I want from this series. Heavily character driven, plot minimized, and action limited to necessary beats. I understand I'm reading a super hero comic and certain expectation are required by most readers but I love when Bendis just lets the characters sit and talk. I had no idea Captain America died so I think that was an important piece of dialogue to have for those that didn't know and it set up a new Ultimate universe where death might not be as permanent as one thought. For my tastes this was a perfect comic. One question I had was do we know what the Spider Twins were stealing? I'm not sure if we need to know what they're stealing as much as knowing they're thieves.

  6. cubman987

    I really liked this issue and the last panel was just a great cliffhanger. I agree that there seems to be pretty much no chance this is the real Peter Parker, but I'm still looking forward to how this plays out.

  7. Cortez

    Jefferson is not really dead and he's now in the custody of Ganke's mother anyway. More importantly, we know he's not dead, so it's really not a big deal and there is no point in mentioning foster care or whatever, especially since the issue straight up mentions that he's living with Ganke's family now. As for "Peter", since this issue introduced two Spider-Men committing crimes, i'm sure this means this is not really "Peter". I'm pretty sure this is the last surviving male clone from the Ultimate Clone Saga, specifically the one that was in a Scorpion themed suit. He's been MIA ever since he broke out of the Triskellion

  8. Shaun Martineau

    I enjoyed the issue a lot more than you did, it seems. I for one, was glad that this was a fresh starts of sorts and I loved pretty much every scene in this issue. And damn, does David Marquez kill it on art. I will totally agree with you on the lighting of the first scene though, was the only weak aspect of the issue for me. Also, I really hope Kate suits up at some point, even if she isn't a great superhero... at first.

  9. FT95

    Best cliffhanger ever. No way it's the real Peter, but seriously, what a cliffhanger.

  10. Geoff

    Just saw someone suggest that "Peter" is the male Chameleon, who's been hired by Norman to mess with Miles. Sounds pretty plausible. Though having just re-read the issue, I'm starting to think that the Spider-Twins are two Peter clones and that's one of them.

  11. hornacek

    @2 - Ah, I was just pulling Spidey '66 villains out of the air, had no idea it would be the Fly Twins. Is it just me or does it look like Peter should be saying the "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot!" line in that panel?

  12. WebForBrains

    Interesting issue. Might be the Scorpion clone. My guess is they might keep him around to be the Ultimate Scarlet Spider or something.

  13. Geoff

    On the Spider-Verse panel at C2E2 they said the 1st Ultimate Spider-Man (Peter) wouldn't make an appearance since he's still dead. Spider-Verse is months away and if he's "back" now then he would almost certainly be being featured in that event. I still think it's a Scorpion clone, with tail successfully removed. All the other Clones aside from Jessica were murdered by Doc Ock.

  14. rzerox21xx

    as Happy I would be to have Peter back, I wouldn't put my hopes up just yet since wasn't there a couple of clones running around, ultimate kaine, ultimate doppelgannger and ultimate scorpion. ultimate scorpion being the most normal looking peter clone. that might be him.

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