Buy It, Browse It, Burn It – Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
With 52 re-imaginings of DC’s properties happening this month, it’s easy to forget what’s happening on the other side of the comics business battlefield. That’s particularly true because there’s only one big thing happening on the Marvel front. But, really, that one event is a big one, and we’d be kicking ourselves if we missed the chance to prattle on about it.
And so, in the ocean of DC #1’s, here’s a review of Marvel’s big release for this month, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1.
I’ve been wondering how Bendis would handle Miles when he was announced. Actually, I was worried there wouldn’t be enough effort put into his execution; that he would be more of a statement about race than a new character. But Bendis hasn’t failed to give Miles a personality of his own, complete with his own set of notably non-Parker-like emotions. Miles is a much more stoic character, full of a subtle discontent and downtrodden anger that gives him a depth very unlike the snappy wit and over-emoting of Peter Parker; Miles doesn’t have a job or a bunch of friends. He isn’t dressed like a hipster and wouldn’t ever sport long, terrible-looking hair. Instead, he’s just a very humble kid.
This, at least to this Spider-Man fan, is amazingly refreshing. Of course, I can’t tell you how this stoicism will stand up when Miles has to perform as Spider-Man. I would love to tell you, but this first issue doesn’t feature Morales as Spider-Man at all. I don’t think this review would do it’s job if I didn’t confess that Miles doesn’t even get his suit by the end of the issue. Buyer beware; if you were hoping for a complete adventure, or even the beginning of one, you won’t get it here. This ride is 100% origin story. Which is particularly disappointing for me because… Well…
It’s amazingly phoned in. I can’t think of a gentler way to say it.
Without giving anything away, I have to say that Miles Morales has one of the weakest, least interesting origin stories I’ve ever read. The way it happens seems all the more unlikely after reading previous discussions, in Ultimate Spider-Man, about how incredible an anomaly Peter Parker surviving the Oz spider bite was. Here, we had a chance for an intriguing, fresh origin but instead find something that feels exactly like Peter Parker’s origin with certain parts whited out and written over (with very over-used, racially typical plot points [Morales's life will read exactly like a million other things you've read that star minority children as protagonists]). I’m sure there were factors that kept Miles from, say, being one of a group of teens given super powers by a corporation (or something), but the fan-safe direction Miles’ story follows is (at least to me) far too familiar to be comforting.
Even so, the cliffhanger ending hints at the powers Miles will develop that will, more than even I expected, differentiate him from Parker.
Unfortunately, that cliffhanger ending comes just when you think the issue is going to pick up, leaving you with the feeling you’ve bought half of a comic book. In the end, all things considered, this first issue hints at where the series will take us.
But it only hints.
Need a second opinion? We’ve got you covered! Check out David Rodriguez’s “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 – A Second Opinion“!