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:“Peter Parker” and Miles Morales quickly come to blows. Following the confrontation Miles arrives at the most obvious conclusion.
Thoughts:The cliffhanger at the end of the first issue left readers in a really great place. It led to some speculation, and we were all desperate to get back to the story to see how Miles would react to “Peter’s” return. Therefore I find Bendis’ choice to delay resolving that cliffhanger to be a bit irritating. We open this issue with three silent pages of Norman Osborn arriving at Osborn Industries and beginning a mysterious act with a canister of Ooze, sorry, I mean Oz. Not only is this the least interesting part of the issue, it is very poorly paced. I think if you skip the second page, the scene’s purpose remains the same. I like that Bendis is showing that Osborn is determined and scheming, but I did not appreciate the dead time watching Norman walk through his abandoned office. Had it been a moment for Norman to reflect on his past, I could have understood, but Norman is not affected by what he sees and it felt like padding.
From there however the issue is a lot more engaging. The scene between Miles and (for the sake of argument) Peter is filled with subtlety and character that it was a joy to read. Bendis has really established how Miles differs from Peter, and it shines here. Once again we see that Miles does have some anger issues, as his first reaction is to swear. He is very confused by this turn of events at lets it show. It’s great that Bendis has established Miles so well as a character, but what I thought Bendis did very well was Peter’s dialogue and behaviour. Bendis has written over 150 issues of Ultimate Peter Parker, and like Miles he is very established in my mind. This did not sound or feel like the Ultimate Peter Parker we are used to. While he has the look, that is were the similarity ends. It might be his hostility or aggression that gave him away, but honestly I think it was the lack of humour. Ultimate Peter has had some dark times, but I can’t remember a time he didn’t at least attempt a dumb joke. This was a greatly written scene between the two, but my favourite part was when Miles, once he has time to reflect, instantly arrived at the same conclusion as the reader. The panel where he calmly realises “clone” is rewarding to the reader and a strong hero moment for Miles. The lack of doubt coupled with the simplicity of the panel really sell the moment.
This brings us nicely to Dave Marquez. I believe he’s leaving this series after the first arc to work with Bendis on another title, and this book will suffer for it. I don’t know if his replacement has been announced but I believe Marquez was born to draw this book. I never really connected with Miles until Marquez begun to draw him, and since then he has taken the character design and made it his own. Despite never having drawn Ultimate Peter Parker before, he got the likeness down exactly. I dare say he even improved on it, and make the hair cut believable. It looked like a hair cut a real person could have. However character design, and subtle moments like the clone realisation are not Marquez’ only strengths. The first scenes between the Miles and Peter, and the Spider-Twins were dynamic as well. The panel were Peter throws his final punch had depth and felt powerful.
Grade-B: I really did enjoy this issue, and felt it improved on issue #1. It’s down fall was the opening scene, and the wasted page of Miles shouting “clone” a number of times as the original panel was enough. However apart from some Bendis-style padding the dialogue, plot and art are all working together and makes this a must read book.