For the most part, the flow of #1s in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe has slowed to a trickle. This week, we see the debut of an important flagship series in Marvel: Spider-Man (with Miles Morales in the lead.) Even though Marvel chose to continue telling Peter Parker stories in The Amazing Spider-Man, this series is still billed as the Spider-Man comic.
The Marvel Rundown starts now.
Writer: Brian Micheal Michael Bendis Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inking Assistance: Gaetano Carlucci Colors: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
You’ve heard me say this again and again on the Marvel Rundown, but Marvel’s rebuilt continuity feels very strange to an enfranchised reader. In particular, Miles Morales has gone through a really hard reboot on all the foundation that Bendis built in the years prior to Secret Wars. This is only to be expected though, as he is now the only relic of the defunct Ultimate universe. Thus, in conceit, the reboot is fine, but some elements of the new Miles’ character are stronger than others. One of the weakest is his new family. Miles’ broken home life in Ultimate Spider-Man made him a much more sympathetic character, and some of the beautiful depth to the character of Miles’ dad Jefferson is lost in this new incarnation of the character. Despite this, though, the story does good by it’s readers and finally gives the audience a truly fresh start to the world of Miles Morales.
Yes, this series #1 actually feels like a #1 rather than a continuation of old stories, renumbered to give a purportedly fresh start.
After shoving aside all of the baggage that came before, Miles’ new lease on life leads to some interesting choices in storytelling. Miles is still undergoing some of the legacy that Peter Parker carved out by not doing well in an expensive school, facing trouble with girls and even trying to balance relationships parents and authorities. Lots of the themes in this comic from the original series are still intact here without feeling like a carbon copy of the original stories from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Writer Brian Michael Bendis continues his streak of witty dialogue in this story, maintaining some of the charm that made fans fall in love with Morales in the first place.
Much of the supporting cast is reintroduced in this comic, along with some cameos of characters that Miles is associated with in the new Marvel Universe. The conversations and story arcs seeded in this issue have little context from before and as it turns out, the high concept aspect of the series isn’t introduced until the conclusion. The comic feels like an Ultimate Spider-Man issue thrust into the 616 Marvel Universe as great lengths have been taken since the conclusion of Secret Wars to represent the character in the Universe.
Often times a switch in artist doesn’t affect a comic book in a truly dramatic context however, this story is an outlier. Sara Pichelli, original artist of the Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man run, has swung back into the life of Miles Morales, actively changing continuity in little things like Miles’ clothes, Gahnke’s weight and the character of Jefferson.
These alterations ultimately affect story, and the one of the title as well. Pichelli’s visual expressions on each of the characters and some of the in-costume presence is where this story starts to excel. Even though Pichelli’s work is vibrant, sometimes the faces of the different characters feel rushed or slightly choppy, but where this comic starts to come alive is in the late action scenes within the title. Pichelli animates stirring action and a fluid a-to-z fight scene with grace and interesting angles.
Miles Morales in the Marvel Universe is a different version of the character than the ones that fans have been reading for years. This story focuses on many of the aspects that still make Miles unique in 616 Marvel, especially with the new identity and position he currently inhabits. The issue is a great jumping on point for new fans, but maybe jarring for people who have been reading since the days of Parker in the Ultimate U.
Verdict: Basically this comic is an outlier in the All-New, All-Different line — great for new fans, frustrating for old ones. Buy.