Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 Review

Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #1

Cataclysm has come and gone and it has not left our Ultimate Spidey unscathed. As Miles tries to readjust to life, dangers from the past are returning as well as the return of someone quite unexpected.


My experience with the Ultimate Universe has always been an odd one. While I enjoy the UU version of Peter Parker way more than the main universe one (Let me put it this way: Do you see Ultimate Peter Parker guilt tripping his wife to making a deal with Satan to save a 90 year old woman? No? Didn’t think so), other aspects of it have left me very numb. I didn’t really care for Ultimates until Jonathan Hickman came over.


As for Miles, I love the kid. Seriously, if you want to get a child to read a Marvel book, you don’t give them the main universe Spider-Man or Avengers. You give them books like Ms. Marvel, Nova and, add this one to that list.


This issue serves as a great introduction to Miles’ current status quo (although, could’ve done without knowing Galactus’ “carnal appetite” for worlds. Brrr.) and begins the setup for the continuing story with the return of a character we all thought gone: Norman Osborn a.k.a. the Green Etrig-err Goblin. With the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Osborn is being removed from a secret containment facility to a federal prison. As it is want to happen, Osborn escapes. To make matters worse, a duo of thieves are making some mischief, utilizing some very familiar abilities.


Meanwhile, Miles is back at school and now staying with his best friend, Ganke, after revealing his secret identity to his father during Cataclysm. It has become rougher for Miles as he begins contemplating telling his girlfriend, Kate Bishop, about his identity, even going to Mary Jane Watson for advice (alluding back to one of my favorite moments in Ultimate Spider-Man.) The final pages of the issue see the introduction (or return) of a character that will have many people buzzing.


Like the Ultimate Universe, I have an odd relationship with Brian Michael Bendis’ work. I don’t particularly care for his All-New X-Men/Uncanny X-Men saga he has been weaving (to be fair, I don’t have the same adoration with the X-Men world as many people do, barring a few exceptions). On the other hand, his Guardians of the Galaxy has been fantastic to me and I love the Ultimate Spider-Man universe way more than I ever did the main universe. The amount of love that he put into Peter and now Miles is astonishing and I cannot get enough of it. While Cataclysm was very hit-or-miss all over for me, what happened to Miles has caused him to mature, perhaps a bit too much for his age. If I have to criticize anything is the plot threads involving Miles’ father, Jefferson. This could go really bad in not-so-good ways really easily. I have faith in Bendis on this, but it’s something to watch out for.


David Marquez and Justin Ponsor’s art is simply breathtaking. It’s dynamic, crisp, colorful and bright when it needs to be and somber when it needs to be. And, something I will always, always, always praise artists for (other examples being Jamie McKelvie, Adrian Alphona & Sara Pichelli), they make teenagers look like teenagers. Heroic teenagers, yes, but not like mid-twenties models like certain other artists whose names will not be mentioned. It is a bad habit that I am glad is starting to finally die out. Keep it up!


Overall, if you wanted to get into the story of Miles Morales, you really can’t do much better than this issue. Buy it, read it, let Miles and his world embrace you and then get on buying the back issues. Bendis, Marquez, Ponsor and everyone else have set up the beginning of a roller coaster of a ride.

When he is not working at a library or on his Master's Degree, Ken Godberson III is usually writing comics, prose and screenplays. He tends to be an expert on absolutely nothing except on why Impulse is the greatest superhero ever. He can be found on Twitter @kengodbersoniii or on Tumblr at kengodbersoniii.tumblr.com

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