Spider-Man #4 (2016) Review


image“Wait. Which Spider-Man are you supposed to be?”

Who is firing missiles at Miles? Who is the latest to learn his secret identity?

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

ARTIST: Sara Pichelli

INKING ASSIST: Gaetano Carlucci

COLORS: Justin Ponsor

LETTERING: VC’S Cory Petit

COVER ART: Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor

TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: At school, Ganke begs Miles to go over with him so he can meet Goldballs. Somehow, this turns into an ethnicity versus obesity debate until Goldballs inadvertently becomes involved. Ganke reveals Miles’ dual identity, causing Miles to leave in anger. Miles changes into Spidey and gets attacked by missiles. He gets rendered unconscious, laying at Hammerhead’s feet.image

THOUGHTS:  The latest issue of Spider-Man is surprisingly only adorned with one cover. It’s provided by regular artist Pichelli and is from Miles’ POV. As a concept, I generally like it, but have a few qualms. First, I have no idea who the green person is. Second, two of these people don’t appear in this issue. Third, and this isn’t Pichelli’s fault, I really dislike Black Cat’s whip/tail/belt thing. There’s nothing catlike about its design. Fourth, said whip/tail/belt thing snaking around behind Hammerhead makes him look a little like 90’s Doc Ock. Despite those points, I really did like it, however it just feels an issue or two early as it doesn’t accurately represent what’s behind the cover. 

Bendis opens with Ganke having a crisis of confidence. As he pleads for Miles’ assistance to introduce himself to Goldballs, it comes out that Ganke’s shyness has to do with his body issues, namely being bigger than he wants to be. Miles seems completely oblivious to this and doesn’t grasp where Ganke is coming from, pointing out that when he was 9, someone crossed the street to get away from him because of the color of his skin. 

Miles may not get Ganke’s point, but Ganke doesn’t see Miles’ view either, stating no one cares about skin color in New York. Having weight struggles most of my life, I get where Ganke is coming from and I totally sympathize with how he feels. When I’ve been skinnier, my confidence has multiplied exponentially. I may have been teased as a kid for being overweight, even called “Chubbs” on the playground, but I’ve never been profiled in a way that could lead to me getting shot. Bendis gives the two friends valid points of view whilst at the same time leaving them blind to the others’ feelings.image 

Before things can get heated, a gold ball crashes in, splattering Miles and Ganke in spaghetti. Ganke’s dilemma becomes a moot point as Fabio Medina, aka Goldballs, comes over to introduce himself and apologize. He seems genuinely remorseful, the opposite of a Flash Thompson type. 

The scene gets awkward  very quickly. Pichelli really shines here in her character expressions. She really sells Miles’ mounting anger. Ganke, for his part, does not seem to be malicious as he reveals to Goldballs that Miles is Spidey. Once again, Bendis has a character clarify what Spider-Man is being talked about. Is he running with it just because, or does he not like that there are three running around in New York?

Outside of his brief exposure last issue, this is the first time I’ve read a comic with Goldballs. He seems like a stand up guy though, agreeing that Ganke shouldn’t have told him Miles’ secret. He instantly wins sympathy by thinking they are just messing with the new kid and I liked his excitement when Ganke asks if he will be their new roommate. image

Something that irked me in my initial reviews for this series was a lack of acknowledgement and specifics of what happened or changed because of Secret Wars. We still aren’t any closer to realizations from this title, but Ganke’s motivations in this issue regarding outing Miles stem from the fact that he feels Miles has been a hot mess for the last eight months. I found it a little odd that Ganke is trying to make Miles some superhero friends while in the same sentence acknowledging Miles’ relationship with Ms. Marvel. The more the merrier, I guess? I’ve got no idea if Miles is buddy buddy with Nova, but we’ve already seen trouble at home and at school for Miles, could the Avengers be noticing how Spidey is off kilter next? 

Miles is trying to figure out what is going on with Ganke as he webs away when he gets attacked by some heat seeking missiles. I liked that his camo mode couldn’t get him out of this jam and he had to think of other methods. The chase felt short lived to me, though, and quickly ended when the blast knocked a seemingly unconscious Miles to the ground. The issue ends with Hammerhead imposingly standing over his body, making him the only villain appearing in this issue. 

The issue felt like a quick, but entertaining read. I really liked the interplay between Miles and Ganke. Bendis uses them to bring up topics, but I don’t feel they were utilized in a preachy way, especially as they never reached a resolution in their conversation and both sides didn’t have their views fully comprehended by the other. As always, Pichelli really excels when it comes to characters emoting in her art and none of the more cartoony, chibi style panels pop up in this issue to my relief. I don’t know if I’m upset that Black Cat didn’t show up, or happy that I didn’t have to endure her current characterization as “Queenpin” of Crime. I feel these last two issues have been stronger than the first two and hopefully that trend continues whilst not feeling as brief as this entry. image

MY GRADE:  B

JAVI’s HUH?: Miles can’t remember if the name of the big bad from his last series is Hydra or Hydrox? And with his dad a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, no less!