Spider-Man #15 (2016) Review


“I’m Spider-Man. Well…ONE of them.”

Miles and Jefferson come clean with Rio. This won’t go well.

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

ARTIST: Szymon Kudranski

COLOR ARTIST: Justin Ponsor

LETTERING: VC’s Cory Petit

COVER ART: Patrick Brown

TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Allison Stock

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: Jefferson leaves a message at home and then he and Miles go for some post victory junk food. They arrive home to find Rio waiting for them in the dark. Rio has found Jefferson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. phone and Miles’ web-fluid formula. The duo confess and Rio leaves to process what has happened. Miles heads back to his dorm and fills his roommates in on his cross-dimensional adventure with Spider-Gwen. Meanwhile, a shadowy underworld figure ponders that there are too many super heroes. Jefferson gets advised that his arrangement with S.H.I.E.L.D. is over now that Maria Hill is no longer with the agency and his phone self-destructs. Ganke runs into Danika at the Brooklyn Visions Academy.

THOUGHTS: There’s something very old school about the cover, in part because of the text and font chosen. It brings to mind the blurbs Stan Lee would write on the intro splash pages of the early Amazing issues. It definitely makes it stand apart from other covers in the series. Maybe they’re trying to test some of that Marvel Legacy mojo?

The majority of this issue takes place at night, in the shadows, serving as a metaphor for things that are hidden. Kudranski fills in on art chores this issue and his work looks phenomenal! His layouts have a cinematic air and uses the darkness to the story’s advantage. Ponsor also deserves praise for adding to the noir feel of the issue. Neons glow, applying the appropriate mood and light source, particularly when Rio confronts her family. Visually, this story looks top notch.

Writing wise, Bendis gave us a lot of character moments to chew on, with what few superheroics we do get confined to being off panel. It was great to get a father/son moment after all the searching Miles has been doing. Having parents that are still alive and that can be drawn upon for support continues to make Miles unique in the annals of Spiderdom and I like seeing them being used in that way. The talk becomes even more important as they are about to have their world tossed into upheaval as soon as they get home.

I couldn’t help but think of when Ultimate Peter revealed his secret to Mary Jane as Miles did something similar by sticking to the wall to prove his spiderness. Obviously, it didn’t have the same effect, especially as Rio already had a clue as to what was going on behind her back. This was not a joyous revelation.

For those who’ve read the previous volumes starring Miles, they may recall Rio’s previous reaction to Miles’ dual identity. For those who don’t, she seemed proud of her son as she lay dying in her arms, but delivered the caveat of not telling his father. Now we are living in a reality where we are faced with the opposite situation and yes, I’d still like to have what happened in this new timeline fleshed out. Did Miles still have the encounter with Venom that led to his mother’s death, only to have her wounds not be fatal? How did Jefferson learn the truth and deal with it? Does Miles recall all that came before? If so, would he bring this up to help his mom process everything?

Rio definitely has the right to be angry and have her faith in her family rattled. This isn’t an Aunt May/Peter situation where the shock of the truth would kill her. Could Jefferson and Miles handled it better? Maybe, but they’re trying to get their reasons across and Rio isn’t in a position to listen. I totally see both her anger with Jefferson when he tells her not to tell her mother and why he would tell her to do so. Gloria blabbing to anyone could end with them all dead. Somehow, she’d get his secret out, some villain would retaliate, etc.  Kudranski methodically pulls the camera away from them as Rio storms out, leaving them feeling isolated and small. 

Jefferson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. phone self-destructing was a nice Mission: Impossible touch. It also bestows upon him some Parker luck. If only his phone had done that earlier, he might not be in quite the situation he finds himself in now. Irony. It’s also more problematic as now Miles’ is without his safety net. They’ve already come to his rescue once when he got captured by Hammerhead and Black Cat. He won’t be so lucky a second time.

I was initially confused when Ganke asked Miles if his dad was home safe. Didn’t we just spend three issues covering this? However, the dialogue on the next page cleared that up when I realized that everything up till now in this issue took place before issue 12. Now I know why Ganke wasn’t as concerned about Jefferson’s well-being during the crossover.

More trouble rears it’s head as the issue closes with Ganke running into Danika at the Brooklyn Visions Academy! There’s no way that Spider-Fan doesn’t put two and two together and realize Miles’ identity, too! Ganke has held strong around her before now, but even if he doesn’t crack, she’s gonna see Miles in the hallway bruised from a hero fight and it’s bye-bye Secret I.D.!

Bendis and Kudranski have teamed up to make one of the most enjoyable issues of this series’ current volume. Aided and abetted by the shadings of Ponsor, Spider-Man #15 is well worth your $4 if you’re looking for character progression in the ongoing saga of Miles Morales.

MY GRADE: A

JAVI’S HUH?: Next issue is teased as “S.P.I.D.E.R.M.A.N.” Having read the issue a month ago, I don’t think it applies, but I guess I’ll find out when I go back to review it!

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