As your resident Spider-Man super fan here at Kabooooom, I do my research on the web each week and see what the rest of the comic book community thinks of these books. In my recent findings I came across an interesting opinion: the Amazing Spider-Man series has made Peter Parker into, essentially, Iron Man, to allow Miles Morales to live out the typical Spider-Man tales. While this is a fascinating take, I must respectfully disagree.
Now a part of the 616 (Is it still called that?) Marvel Universe, Miles is still figuring out how to manage being a superhero. How he’s gone about that and what he’s been through, however, are completely different than Peter Parker’s; not to mention the distinctly different supporting cast. Of course, there will be similarities between Miles and Peter’s journeys – they are both Spider-Man, are they not?
In Spider-Man #4, Miles and Ganke welcome a new student to their school – the mutant X-Men character, Goldballs. Ganke is a huge fan of the mutant – as everyone should be – while Miles doesn’t seem to care. Following a messy “meet-cute” the three find themselves engaged in conversation. In a rather bold and foolish move, Ganke spills the beans to Gold-Balls that Miles is in fact Spider-Man.
Ganke is usually one of the better elements of this series but here he is a frustrating annoyance. While understanding that he is a kid in a bizarre situation acting out of anger and jealousy, this still comes across as a bit of cheap story trick. Assuming this won’t carry much weight given that Goldballs isn’t expected to be a major character, too much of this issue is spent in the lunchroom scene.
Miles storms out and suits up, breaking down what just occurred to himself as he swings about the city. A handful of missiles suddenly begin pursuing him, and he goes into a panic as any teenage superhero would. Bendis’ dialogue works great for this spastic teen desperately trying to stay alive in classic Spider-Man fashion. Readers get to see Miles’ camo-mode in action – reminding us all that he has that ability – as he successfully avoids death but takes a nasty fall to the NYC streets.
The end of the issue reveals the missiles were fired by none other than Hammerhead and two goons in the employ of Black Cat. And it’s one of those issues that doesn’t live up to its cover art, only including a a single panel featuring a third of the enemies depicted on the cover. Sure seems like false advertising, but sometimes that’s just how comic books go!
The art in Spider-Man over four issues has been pretty good – not as memorable as the Ultimate Spider-Man run with Miles, but still good. When the story shifts from the lunchroom to the city swinging it comes across looking almost like a different book. It may not be the most drastic shift, but it’s enough for readers to notice and be taken out of the book for a moment. I’m also not fan of how Spider-Man’s eyes are drawn in this issue and they changes throughout the book for no reason, appearing smaller and diamond shaped, which just doesn’t look as strong.
Spider-Man #4 is no home-run, but it’s a good comic book. This issue spends so much time in that frustrating lunchroom scene that’s almost as relieving for readers as it is for Miles to finally get out and swing around. By the the issue reaches the final page, nothing has happened other than a promising set up to the next story. It’s entirely possible Bendis is simply working on too many books at one time and this time Spider-Man had to suffer a bit; regardless, we’ll be back for Spider-Man #5.