Spider-Man #1 Review: Meeting Miles Morales


It occurred to me while reading Spider-Man #1 that this is going to be someone’s first Miles Morales comic. Even though he’s almost five years old in real world reckoning and got a fair amount of media attention when he first took over as the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe, there are going to be readers who are experiencing him for the first time.

For them, Spider-Man #1 is an excellent introduction. From the way writer Brian Michael Bendis keeps the text on the credits page blissfully simple to the way the issue establishes Miles as having many of the same worries of a young Peter Parker transplanted to the 21st century, this Spidey has arrived in the Marvel Universe with a minimum of baggage. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear he was here all along and not the transplanted survivor of a now-dead reality whose mom was resurrected by a being of nearly unlimited power who was thankful because Miles gave him a cheeseburger.

What’s great is that none of that is essential knowledge. All you need to know is right in these 20 pages. Miles is having trouble with the ladies, despite some help from best friend and confidant Ganke Lee (glad to see him make it to this series, by the way). His grades are suffering because of the time he’s spending as Spider-Man, and his mom, who doesn’t know his secret, is none too happy about it. Morales’ spider-powers are similar to the Spider-Man everyone knows, but slightly different as well, a fact that comes in handy during the supervillain battle that frames the rest of the story.

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It’s simple and effective, perhaps because Bendis is one of the people who knows this character the best. The other is Morales’ co-creator Sara Pichelli, who seems to be having fun drawing Miles again. Her rendition of the issue’s villain is like none you’ve ever seen, giving him an even creepier feel than he normally would. Pichelli’s take on webbing and her stylized panels that reflect Miles’ thoughts are uniquely hers, and she also draws in small, familiar bits like Miles crawling on the roof of a fire truck to hitch a ride through the city that simply scream Spider-Man.

Pichelli also isn’t afraid to add in the extra level of detail that make New York feel authentic, which is important as she and Bendis ground Morales in the MU in general and NYC in particular. The final page introduces a character that Marvel told us would be along for the ride in this series, though not necessarily with the tone you’d expect.

That situation bears watching, but however it plays out, anyone hungry for a classic take on Spider-Man thoroughly modernized for 2016 would be wise to pick up Spider-Man #1 and give it a try. It’s comfortable in all the right ways, yet never feels like something you’ve already seen countless times before.


Three Questions

  1. Can you think of many other heroes who have one parent in on their secret identity but not the other? It’s not something that happens all too often in superhero comics.
  2. Has Miles ever considered selling exclusive pics of Spider-Man in action to make money? I heard it worked out okay for the other guy …
  3. Speaking of Peter Parker, surely he doesn’t think Miles is responsible for all the carnage from that battle with Blackheart, right?

Next: Old Man Logan #1 Review

Favorite Moment

I’m a big fan of this page, which begins with Miles’ idealized daydream of how girls would see Spider-Man and ends with him trying to leave class to fight crime — by saying he has to use the bathroom. Um, nice try, I suppose.