SPIDER-MAN #1 [Review]

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SPIDER-MAN #1/ Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS/ Artwork by SARA PICHELLI/ Colors by JUSTIN PONSOR/ Letters by COREY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

BOOM! Finally, Brian Michael Bendis’ Miles Morales book hits comic store shelves! We’ve seen Miles recently in some decent Avengers issues, but it did not fill the void left by the Ultimate Spider-Man series. Readers have suffered through a handful of delays as Marvel’s universe relaunches without having our second favorite Spidey return for too long.

It’s a bold move naming the book Spider-Man straight up, no more “ultimate” anything, this Spider-Man is here in this universe and isn’t going anywhere. I appreciate the strong title – readers buying this book know who the character is, no need to mud up the title any longer.

We catch up with Miles and his beloved friend Ganke, now noticeably older. Immediately, Miles is dealing with teenage drama such as girls and the struggles of dating while being a secret super hero. It’s an absolute joy seeing Ganke again and no time is wasted getting to a funny moment between the two friends. Miles’ trusty companion is the voice of reason in his life, no matter how little Miles wants to hear it.

Straight out of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized”, Miles’ mom is asking if he’s on drugs to explain why his grades are slipping. Having a young kid be Spider-Man was incredible in the original Ultimate Spider-Man run, but entering his teenage years is extremely exciting. For years Marvel has struggled at making an adult Peter Parker’s Spider-Man be as interesting and relatable as he was in those teenage years; including a couple dodgy retcon and reboot situations, but that’s all better now. Following a new Spider-Man character as he comes of age has the potential for amazing comic books stories for years to come; it also helps that Bendis is a mastermind who clearly loves this character.

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Speaking of Miles’ mom, her death was one of the most heart-wrenching and memorable moments in recent comic book memory. According to the Marvel Wiki Database, Rio Morales was brought back to life by Molecule Man as a gift for Miles bringing him something to eat. This I am sure will divide fans on whether or not they like that, but I for one think it’s great. Sure, it’s kinda cheap and easy but it makes that moment in Secret Wars matter so much more (like when you do a side mission for a character in a video game that ends up paying off immensely later in the game).

With Peter Parker off doing his Parker Industries, worldwide Spidey operations (which are fantastic by the way), Spider-Man #1 becomes the comic that feels more like classic Spidey while at the same time being a totally new vehicle. Having both of these Spider-Men in the same universe is great, and after a few sample tests with crossover stories and such, the real deal is off to an extremely positive. The ending of Spider-Man #1 sets up a Peter/Miles interaction in which there is some major drama, and the next issue will be a huge test. Bendis will not disappoint, most likely, as he understands as well as we die-hard Spidey fans the importance of the relationship between these two.

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Throughout Spider-Man #1, there are classic Spider-Man moments that occur but with a Miles twist to them, of course. Most notably is the interaction between Spidey and the civilians on the street of New York during Blackheart’s attack. I really appreciated the regular street folk telling Spider-Man they had their situation under control and he should go handle whatever is causing explosions; plus how great was Miles’ “doh!” reaction? Miles is going through the early stages of growing into a responsible super hero just like Peter did, but in today’s world and there is so much fun to be had with that alone.

There is a new look and feel to the artwork in this new Spider-Man series, moving away from the polished and shiny Ultimate books. Sara Pichelli uses a more gritty and jagged style that gives this book more of an edge, as it should with Miles entering high school. Every panel looks great, and Miles and Ganke appear appropriately aged since we last saw them. And all action panels come across with a classic and colorful flair thanks to Justin Ponsor. Blackheart’s redesign is really cool and dark, too, and a quick panel of a new Shocker design was also a nice touch. Hopefully as the series goes on, the art team can explore putting their own twist on even more characters, just as Miles himself puts his own twist on familiar Spider-Man mythos.

Spider-Man #1 is well worth the wait and only another entry into the “why it’s awesome to be a Spider-Man fan right now” file.

Rating 5

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