Miles has to decide what to do about Katie now that she hasn’t spoken to him since he revealed his identity to her. Could this all be leading into a sinister trap???
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: David Marquez with Justin Ponsor
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Story: After 9 tumultuous issues and a crossover in the pages of All-New X-Men, Miles is taking a “me” day to figure some stuff out. Maria Hill leads a raid on the Fly Twins, only to find they have cleared out, leaving behind a one sided mask resembling Spidey’s classic suit. Jefferson meets with Miles’ principal to let her know what’s been going on at home. Miles comes across Sabretooth and Electro duking it out and takes them down with an assist from Cloak & Dagger. They chat after and Miles resolves to talk to Katie after heading back to his dorm for a change of clothes and briefly checks in with Ganke. He arrives at Katie’s only to find her not at home and her dad offers Miles a drink of water. He then asks Miles a few getting-to-know-you questions before asking the big one-“Where did you get spider-powers?” Suddenly, Miles’ vision goes blurry as he passes out, with Katie’s dad now standing over him, hailing Hydra!!!
Thoughts: Phew! Aaaaannnd we’re back! After two issues of flashbacks, the story is continuing and I have to figure out a new way to sing this title’s praises! Bendis does a magnificent job keeping the pace moving and checking in with some of the dangling plots and cast members.
First, we open with Maria Hill, aided once again by the detectives that bear a resemblance to Bendis and Marquez. Even though we don’t get any huge revelations about the elusive Fly Twins, I was happy to see Bendis remind us he hasn’t forgotten about them. The children’s Halloween Spidey mask was an interesting thing to leave behind. I don’t think the police would assume that Spider-Man left it behind as evidence, so they’re obviously calling him out.
I want to give Justin Ponsor a shout out for when Jefferson checks in at the Brooklyn Visions Academy. His coloring is great the whole issue (as it always is), but I appreciate the subtle uses of light and shadow in the scene. Check out how the sunlight comes in from the window, lighting one side of his face, whilst the other is shaded. Plus, the early morning sky has a great hue to it! I’ve been rereading some older 80s and 90s era comics lately, so the contrast of what colorists can do now is catching more of my attention. Effects like Cloak’s, er, cloak have an inky blackness that couldn’t have been pulled off back in the day and most likely would’ve had a blue shade for contrast.
Miles swinging around the city, lost in his own thoughts, was a classic Spidey moment to return to. His narration is a great recap after stepping away from the present day storyline the last two issues. When he stumbles across Sabretooth and Electro, I debated in my head if standing by was the best course of action. Sure, we all know Miles would jump in once innocents were in danger, and he did, but what about the property damage? Is it morally right to let that go on? Strategically, it makes sense to let them tire themselves out on each other, especially as they would most likely team up to take Spidey down first, then get back to their original fight, which is pretty much what started to happen before Cloak and Dagger intervened.
I have a weird soft spot for Cloak and Dagger. I was about five years old when my dad bought me my first recollected Marvel Tales, which reprinted Amazing Spider-Man #5 and my cousin a copy of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #69, featuring Cloak and Dagger. The cover was striking with a crowd in panic and Spidey crawling above on the title. I don’t remember much of the issue, other than something about it scared me. So, whenever I see Cloak and Dagger, a feeling of nostalgia washes over me and I’ve loved their inclusion in Miles’ books and the friendship they’ve struck up. Peter had the Torch and Ice Man in the Ultimate universe and it’s great to see Miles with his own group of super hero friends he can come to with his girl trouble.
Speaking of girl trouble, apparently Tandy doesn’t think much of Katie. It’s a hilarious exchange as the trio try and work through the mess Miles has gotten into, with Tandy exclaiming they should mind wipe her, since they can’t kill her. Bendis pauses for a beat and you can just picture Miles’ jaw agape underneath his mask! Once all kidding is aside, they do give him a very good point that applies to anyone-if they don’t love and accept you for who you are, then they aren’t the one for you. Tandy prophetically declares that it’s probably not going to end well, and this is without her knowing Katie’s family secret!
Bendis reiterates the foreshadowing in the scene with Ganke, who also states it’s not going to end well. It feels like forever since we’ve seen Miles’ BFF and when we do, we see a lot more of him than we ever expected to. Miles walks in on him dancing around and singing in his underwear. What I like about Ganke, besides his love of all things Lego, is how he proudly owns the moment, proclaiming he’s not embarrassed. If only Bendis would get around to revealing what was in the box he gave Gwen at Peter’s wake in #200!
Finally, we end up at Katie’s house, where Miles meets her dad for the first time, which is always an awkward moment. The acting Marquez pulls off in their expressions is sublime, per usual. It’s easy to understand how the situation could be uncomfortable, especially when you have no idea when your girlfriend will be back and you’re there to patch things up. Not the best way to meet the family for the first time, especially when some potentially uncomfortable subjects come up. I appreciated the nod to the Galactus attack when Mr. Bishop asked if that was how she passed and the dodge Miles gave in reply. I get the feeling he knows what really happened though, given that his next question is how Miles got his powers! It was nice to know Katie didn’t give up Miles’ secret to her dad, so maybe Dagger is wrong about her. Katie did tell her sister, so maybe the elder Bishop ratted him out. The issue closes with a great splash page of the camera looking down at a helpless Miles on the floor, vulnerable at Mr. Bishop’s feet.
In my review for All-New X-Men #36, I had mentioned my hopes for seeing the consequences of Doom uncovering Spidey’s identity play out in Ultimate End. Well, I apparently don’t pay attention to solicits as the back of this issue reveals the cover for the next, with Ultimate Doom prominently on it, a spider crawling on his finger! Whilst I’m excited to continue that development, I have no idea how the team is gonna cram in all these subplots in the last two issues of this comic!
This issue was a great way to kick off what is presumably the last arc of this title. Everything was top notch all around, from cover to final page and it’s gonna be a long wait till March 24th!
My Grade: A+
Javi’s Huh?: It’s pretty common knowledge to the world at large that Peter Parker is dead, yet the Fly Twins leave behind a replica of his mask? Even with Bendis’ decompression style of telling stories, Miles has publicly been in his very own distinct Spidey costume for a while now. Doesn’t he have some merch by now?!? We’ve already got Spider-Gwen cosplayers and her first issue isn’t even out yet! I woulda thought Miles would get some love in his own universe!
How is Electro not dead yet? Aunt May shot him like three times in the chest during the Death of Spider-Man story and then Nick fury shot him a few more times back before Miles got his first official suit! I don’t recall if he’s appeared since then, but I thought he was dead when he first showed up in this issue. The guy’s a regular Energizer Bunny in more ways than one!
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom poster sighting in the dorm room!