I started reading Ultimate Spider-Man back in 2000, back when the title first launched. My comic reading was sporadic at best back then, but of the titles I did manage to pick up, it was one of my favorites. Admittedly, somewhere along the line, I fell behind in reading it, and the idea of going back to catch up on so many issues became an overwhelming idea.
That was, of course, until the most recent and highly publicized relaunch of the title, and the death of Peter Parker made for a good jumping-off point when it came to getting back into the title (of course, I plan to eventually go back and read all the issues I missed, just because I’m ridiculously completist like that sometimes, but that’s beside the point.) I mostly just picked up the comic to see what all the fuss was about, and I’ve tried to reserve judgement until readers got a little more of Miles’s story.
But I can safely say after seven issues of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, that I love Miles Morales.
Spoilers through Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #7 after the jump.
I think one of the first things that struck me about Miles was how he’s both similar and different from Ultimate Peter Parker. From the start, Bendis was keen on clearly illustrating that yes, there were going to be parts of this new run that would be similar to the previous run of the series and different at the same time. I had a friend who pointed out the similarities between a panel from the last page of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 from 2000 and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man from 2011:
I love that Miles didn’t want to be Spider-Man for the same reasons that everyone who criticized the direction that the comic was taking didn’t want him to be. He’s a lot younger than Pete was, and he doesn’t even want to be a superhero. None of it is initially cool to him at all, it’s just another burden that Miles doesn’t think he deserves. If it weren’t for Ganke, there’s a chance he wouldn’t have become Spider-Man at all.
As someone who was trying to get back into comics right around the time that DC did their massive reboot and Marvel did their own softer reboot of their titles, Miles Morales makes the Ultimate world extremely accessible, even now. Just as Miles is discovering all of his new powers and the world of super villains, the reader gets to as well, and I love that about him. I guess it comes part and parcel with origin stories, but he’s in the same place as the reader much of the time. I’m still getting a kick out his amazement at very new villain he meets (“How are you made of electricity?”) and not knowing what his Spidey-Sense is yet. (“Did Spider-Man give me cancer?”)
I love every bit of Miles’s internal monologue and his banter with villains, if only because both mostly consist of him second guessing himself and both sounding lame and thinking that he sounds lame He freaks out in mid-air about whether or not his powers are going to suddenly go away before he lands on the opposite building. It’s so incredibly endearing that I can’t stand it.
And it probably doesn’t hurt that Bendis’s writing on this current run has been brilliant and Pinchelli’s art is just darn pretty to look at.
So if you’re one of the few who balked at the idea of a new Spider-Man who was so young and so different from Peter Parker, I’d suggest giving Miles a second chance. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man has quickly become one of my favorite books, probably the one I look forward to every month (and I can I say that having it twice monthly at first was a horrible tease, because now I realize how spoiled we were). Miles is still new, is still finding his place and figuring everything out, but I can’t wait to read more of his journey.