Marvel Pick Of The Week – Spider-Man #15: So Long, Secret Identity!


When Spider-Man’s mom learns his secret identity (and his dad’s!), Miles’s whole world changes. Brian Michael Bendis returns to form this week.

Pick Of The Week: Spider-Man #15, by Brian Michael Bendis and Szymon Kudranski

Cover by Szymon Kudranski

The secret identity. Clark Kent. Peter Parker. Bruce Wayne. All the greats have one. But most of the modern heroes don’t follow that convention. The X-Men and Inhumans practice in the open. The Avengers often work for the government. Kitty Pryde and Jean Grey don’t even use codenames.

But Miles Morales thought he needed one. For starters, much of his country has negative reactions to hints that there’s a person of color under that costume. For another, in his home reality, Venom traced him and killed his mother. So this time around, Miles has tried to keep a tighter lid on things. Moms rarely come back from the dead, and certainly not twice.

For the last few issues, Miles and Spider-Gwen bounced around the multiverse looking for his dad, a newly-reactivated SHIELD agent. Successful, the Morales men share a burger and a few pages of amazing Bendis dialogue. These men relate in a way that respects the awkwardness of male relationships in general and teen sons in particular. But thanks to Bendis’s lyrical gift, they can also share a deep emotional bond and a waterfall of snappy jokes.

Which only makes the painful conversation with Mama Morales harder. The second half of the book shows how miserable it must feel to find out a family member’s secret. Yes, Clark Kent wants to protect Lois Lane. But he does so by lying to her, all the time, every day. He has to kind of assume she’s stupid. And Rio Morales is in no way stupid. So for her, this revelation forces her son to confront the cruel connotations of his secret. The close bond he gets with his dad comes from knowing and trust each other; he has let his mother down.

The parallels to the Outing of Queer family members are obvious. And to my brothers and sisters in the closet, as soon as it’s safe, Coming Out to your loved ones will actually signal your respect. So be brave. Let’s all be brave. Because secrets, be they spider powers or same-sex attraction, only keep us apart.

Honorable Mentions:

Cover by Reilly Brown

Words by Fred Van Lente, Art by Reilly Brown

What a creative team! From Fred Van Lente’s humor in the top panel to the showcase of Reilly Brown’s talent at cartoony and realistic art, this digital series stuns.

Cover by David Marquez and Marte Gracia

Art by Pepe Larraz

Never thought I’d say this: I totally ship Rogue and Deadpool. Great job, team!

Cover by Ardian Syaf

Words by Marc Guggenheim, Art by Ardian Syaf

Guggenheim shot for a Claremont vibe this whole issue. And it lands no more perfectly than this scene. Chills.

Cover by Ramon Perez

Words by Jeff Loveness, Art by Ramon Perez

Maybe you haven’t picked a Mother’s Day card yet. Might I suggest buying this comic and using the page where Mom takes a shovel to an alien for her baby?

Cover by David Mack

Words by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Michael Gaydos

From the heartbreaking David Mack cover to the heart-stopping cliffhanger page, Bendis only narrowly lost Pick Of The Week. But he lost it to himself, so maybe he’s fine.

Next: Last Week's Pick: Spider-Woman!