Review: Spider-Man (2016) #238


This issue features derailed plans, a Cable tease, and evidence that Bendis’ departure is what he and Miles both need.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Patrick Brown

I love Brian Michael Bendis. I’ve been a big fan ever since I first read some early Ultimate Spider-Man (with Mark Bagley on art) in junior high. I’m particularly fond of his Miles Morales work, which at the start was the best high school Spidey work ever. (I’m sorry, high school Peter fans, but he’s more interesting in college or married. When it comes to youthful web-slinging action, Miles is simply a more fascinating character.)

More from Spider-Man

Reviews opening with such praise for past work often come with a “but,” and this is no exception. Before I get to that, though, I must say that I’ve still largely enjoyed recent Bendis Spidey work. Last issue had some of that vintage character-driven dialogue work I love so much.  Last year’s Spider-Men II felt similarly strong in a classic Bendis way.

And, frankly, this issue itself was still a decent read. I enjoyed the Sinister Six’s banter; I enjoyed Miles and Ganke’s brief conversation; I enjoyed Miles and Bombshell disrupting the Six’s plans, followed by Red Hulk disrupting Miles’ plans; I enjoyed Rio confronting Cable about his attempt to recruit Miles. All of the above, drawn solidly by Oscar Bazaldua with Brian Reber coloring, worked for me. The score below reflects that.

But, nonetheless, I found myself thinking throughout the issue how excited I am for both this writer and this character to be reinvigorated later this year. Bendis’ work on Superman and Action Comics sounds likely to be some of the best of his entire career. Also, as much as Bendis nailed Miles at the beginning, this young Spider-Man needs his series written by a younger voice, preferably a black and/or Latinx one. (As someone currently disinterested in Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man, I hope the Morales “fresh start” inspires more confidence in me.)

B-. . Brian Michael Bendis, Oscar Bazaldua, Brian Reber. . Spider-Man (2016) #238

Still, I find myself excited for what these final two Bendis Spider-Man comics look like. Recent issues feel like business as usual, but he did stick the landing with DefendersJessica Jones #18 and Invincible Iron Man #600 look poised for strong finishes as well. As a writer more associated with Spider-Man than perhaps any other franchise, Bendis surely will make his final statement with this character one to remember.