Overview

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Credits

  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Sara Pichelli
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Sep 14, 2011

Bendis ushers in a new age for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by telling the origin of Miles Morales.

Almost a year before the events of Ultimate Comics Fallout where we learned the identity of the new Spider-Man, little Miles Morales gets bitten by a spider. Bendis goes back in time to show us the start of Miles’s superhero career, and with slick writing, great art, and lots of wordy Bendis-talk, it feels familiar to Peter Parker’s origin story.

Miles comes from a poor family, just like Peter, and the story focuses on his parents taking him to a lottery drawing to gain him entrance to a prestigious school. Miles even has a go-to uncle, although he is a far cry from Uncle Ben. Uncle Aaron seems to have the best intentions for Miles, offering up succinct life lessons as they eat popsicles, but his implied ways of thievery are enough to make Miles’s father enraged that the two are even speaking. Monetary troubles and family drama topped off with a spider bite all add up to a character similar to Peter, but refreshingly different.

The real litmus test will be to see if Miles grows into a likeable character. Peter had a witty charm as he offered up funny one-liners during fights, but also won readers over because he was an underdog fighting for all the other nerds, losers, and little guys out there. So far, Miles has shown little personality. He feels bad that the other kids do not get to attend the prestigious school, so he appears to be selfless, but that is about it.

Luckily, Pichelli’s pencils go a long way to add depth to his character. Miles looks conflicted, constantly wearing a somber, contemplative expression. Likewise, she scores with great paneling that showcases the importance of small details. The way the little spider tattooed with the number 42 sneaks around from place to place is aptly mischievous and even a little tense, even though we know its final destination will be a dinner date with Miles’s skin. The number 42 makes a couple appearances in the story, and given the prior importance of that number in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and one of the Lost  numbers, it is intriguing to see whether Bendis is tipping his hat to those great stories past, or forging his own mythology for the mysterious digits.

It will be an interesting journey to get to the heart of Miles’s motivation to be a hero, but until then, one hopes he will lighten up and give readers a good reason to root for him. Smile, Miles – you’re Spider-Man!

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