Spider-Men 2 #4 Review (Spoilers)


This came out in November, so I should probably get to it. I have a trilogy of Miles titles left to review and despite Generations: Spider-Man coming out before this issue, I feel it serves as a stronger coda to this mini-series so I will be saving it for last. Anyhow, let’s get back to the most disappointing miniseries of 2017. 

Spider-Men 2 #4: Miles & Morales

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Sara Pichelli

Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico

Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Letterer: Cory Petit

C. Artists: Sara Pichelli & Morry Hollowell

Editors: Nick Lowe & Kathleen Wisneski 

Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

Hey That Reminds Me Of Something My Uncle Used To Say: Our issue begins in the past, at the funeral of Barbara Sanchez, where Wilson Fisk tells a grieving Morales that his partner is alive somewhere else in the multiverse. 

We return to the present day where Miles is hanging out with Ganke, Judge, and Barbara Rodriguez. A crime pulls him away from his friends and he happens to stumble on to Taskmaster executing a bunch of SHIELD agents. He follows Taskmaster, calling Peter along the way. The two meet at the airport from issue one, where they expect Taskmaster to meet with Morales. Taskmaster is prepared for them and he detonates the building they are on, just as Morales arrives. Morales stops Taskmaster from killing them after discovering one of them is Miles. Morales leaves with Taskmaster, who tells his boss he has a way for Morales to get to another dimension. 

No Way, Not Like That’s Your Answer For Everything: I have to give Brian Bendis credit, I never thought older Morales would be a good villain for this series, let alone the best part. The bromance between Morales and Wilson Fisk and the tragedy of romance that defines both their lives makes Morales the most interesting aspect of the series. I like the idea of Morales’ obsession with finding his love again somewhere in the Multiverse and how Wilson gives him this information out of a desire to do good even though he knows it may consume his friend; the only complex character decision in the issue. Much like Civil War 2 was a poor execution of watching a superhero evolve into a god, this series is a poor execution of a man obsessed with reuniting with his one true love. Younger Miles and Barbara Rodriguez’ blooming relationship could have been better utilized in tying these stories together, but just kind of exists as is.

Yesterday I was reviewing Ryan Stegman’s art in Venom Inc and was impressed by how he uses the page to create cinematic action pieces that flow so well he can tell an entire scene on one page. Sara Pichelli is just as cinematic, but she can not use the page in the same way; her cinematic moments take up too much space, filling an entire page just to get Miles on the bottom of an helicopter where he spends another page doing nothing but talking to Peter. Some of the blame falls on Bendis as well, but it is disappointing to see such a sluggish pace and waste of space when Pichelli’s work is strong. She does an excellent job of retaining unique character aspects in panels of all sizes, but a poor job of using storytelling to enhance a scene. An example is Morales sitting alone after the funeral of his partner; there is no framing or effect meant to enhance the feeling of isolation Morales is feeling, it just exists. Her webs splinter and break apart in all directions to cool effect, but not a single hits lands on panel. We never see an impact, just the aftermath of one. Her establishing panels do nothing to create a mood and run three to five panels too long, which continues to drag down the pace of this story; once again, Bendis shares the blame. And while Peter and Miles have some cool effects with their costumes, such as Taskmaster reflected in the lens of Peter’s mask and the light reflecting off Miles’ black mask in cool ways, the horror aspect of Taskmaster’s redesign is lost here.

Speaking of Taskmaster, it is established in this issue he is the Marvel Prime Taskmaster, so the redesign makes no sense. And Bendis’ script continues to tease out Miles meeting Miles, going round and round in circles both plot and dialogue wise. This is a shame, because Peter and Miles’ banter is fun if not really adding anything new. Morales also has a hench-woman here that is just used to prevent Miles and Morales from meeting; she is not even given a name.

Neither Justin Ponsor nor Cory Petit pick up any of the slack either. Ponsor’s colors make it hard to distinguish what time of day the early scenes take place during and he is overly reliant on heavy black sketch lines that obscure too much of Pichelli’s detailed backgrounds. Petit is just lazy on lettering; the thwips of Miles’ webs are the same make and color as his cell phone tone and there is only two other sound effects in the entire issue. There is no difference in font size when Miles and Peter talk or when they whisper. Everybody disappoints in this issue.

Verdict: Spider-Men 2 only works when it is focused on Morales and Wilson Fisk. The rest of it is a poorly rendered, sluggish pace through material that we have gone through each and every issue in this mini. This creative team is capable of brilliance which is what makes this one hurt so much.

Pros: 

  • Interesting Concept
  • Character Details

Cons: 

  • Actions Take Too Long
  • Plot Goes In Circles
  • Dialogue Goes In Circles
  • Lazy Lettering
  • Uninspired Colors
  • Aspects Of The Plot Do Not Tie Together When They Could

D

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