Meet Miles Morales:
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 review!

Title: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo

You know what I love? Comics. You know what I really love? THIS comic. In a month that has been over-run by the New 52 over at DC, it’s a nice change of pace to be excited for a Marvel comic.

I have received more then my share of snarkitude for championing change in super-hero comics, but finally, here it is. At least..it’s a start! If you fear change, this isn’t for you. And that’s ok. There is a really fun Spider-Island story that you can enjoy over in the 616, filled with the characters you know and love. And granted, this one has a familiar face or two as well, but for the most part, we’re spending our time with The Morales’, a family that I’m really enjoying.

And yes…surprise, surprise: they are multi-ethnic. Now, I’m going to take a quick detour regarding the race issue, but I think this is important to know where I’m coming from as a reader and a reviewer. If you don’t want to hear it, skip to the next paragraph. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve witnessed a lot of folks complaining about this particular change being allegedly fueled by Politically Correct intentions, or some sort of ridiculous Affirmative Action. These people are racists, and should kick themselves in the shin. In the letters column of this very issue, a person writes in claiming that this was made purely “for the sole reason of diversity.” Listen, if Marvel can change the 616 Peter Parker’s web-source from mechanical shooters to organic, all because of a movie, why can’t they make changes for something as culturally important as diversity? We recently did a Diversity In Comics podcast, and a majority of the African American participants recount Peter Parker: Spider-Man #35 (wherein a small boy imagines Spidey as a black man) as one of their favorite Spidey stories. Why? Because it spoke to them, and addressed the idea that not every iconic super-hero has to look like a loaf of Wonder or else have electrical powers. And I’m aware that this new series will probably continue to break the internet in half, but there isn’t anything about this issue that I don’t love!

I love that this story starts the same way that the original Ult Spidey started: in a lab. I love the reference to the lottery in this issue. Here, Miles is the winner of not one, but two lotteries. The number 42 shows up in both of these instances, non-surprisingly (See also: Hitchhiker’s Guide) The Morales family have applied for and are attending a drawing to see if their son can get into The Brooklyn Visions Academy. He is randomly chosen from a list of over 700 applicants. This lottery evokes the same feeling I get for how Brian Michael Bendis chose the next Spider-Man. It’s as if Bendis had his finger hovering over hundreds of different families in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, closed his eyes and picked a family at random to be the new main family for his series, then decided to just write how that could have happened. It’s as if he is saying Spider-Man is supposed to be the “everyman” of comics, so let’s make that more literal. This isn’t a kid who also just happens to be a genius level intellect, who can conveniently create web-shooters for himself, and spider-tracer technology. Let’s see what would happen if one of us regular citizens got the bite.

So far, I like this kid. I like that he actually seems like a 13 year old boy. I’ve seen these kids walk in and out of my shop. Sure, there are the obnoxious kids that come in and cause a ruckus, but there’s also the reserved, quiet kids that just need to break out of their shell. That spend most of their time being talked AT by adults, rather than talked TO. This is Miles, at least in this first issue. He even has some of Peter Parker’s inherent guilt. When he wins the school lottery, instead of mooning everyone, his first concern is all the other kids who DIDN’T win. He’s not without his faults though, as he immediately goes to get away from his parents by hanging out with his disowned Uncle Aaron, who’s clearly considered to be a bad influence. That’s all I’m really going to say about the actual events of this book though. I’d like you to enjoy it as it unfolds.

I will say that watching it unfold as penciled by the insanely talented Sara Pichelli is a glorious experience. She is already on my list of favorite pencilers and is only getting better. Her facial expressions convey emotions even on a subtle level, she isn’t afraid of nicely detailed establishing shots, and her figures are natural and expressive. Oh, I should also mention that I love the new redesign of the costume as well. Snazzy get-up, that. The colors by Justin Ponsor are beautifully executed as well. His shading is soft but effective and I really like the way he does his highlights on various skin-tones. Very nice work here.
Optimous Douche emailed me and asked “Does the kid Spidey out at all in this issue?” To which I say ….kinda? No, he doesn’t don the suit, but there is a nice surprise regarding his Spider powers.
I feel like this has been a love-fest, and I almost wish I had something negative to say, but dammit, it’s pretty pretty awesome.

Oh, wait! knew there must be something I didn’t like about this experience. I don’t know if Quesada’s little brother works for a plastic bag company or something, but Marvel: knock it the hell off with the poly-bagged issues. This isn’t the mid-90’s. Seriously. Knock it off.

JD admits to having been mildly racist in the past. But really, was there anyone that didn’t, at one time, call Jim Carrey “The WHITE guy from In Living Color”?? JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, drawing a weekly webcomic, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, and Booking his Face off at http://www.facebook.com/jaydotdeedot. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo.

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6 Comments to “Meet Miles Morales:
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 review!”

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  1. Erik says:

    Nice one. I’m pretty interested in giving this a shot. BTW Polybagging is bag. Recycling is so PC. lol

  2. JD (Host) says:

    I definitely recommend it, obviously. Buy that shit and then read that shit and then let me know what you think of that shit. Actually, review it and send it over!

  3. Kire says:

    Arg…just left the comic shop with this week’s haul. Didn’t get it for I had too much.

  4. bobby says:

    I just read new Ultimate Spidey: I found it very enjoyable. I just wish it was longer! I don’t understand why they build up these events for months then release a standard sized issue – I think an annual-sized issue would really sell people on the concept better because it would take more than 5 minutes to read after months of hype.

    I’ll be interested in seeing Miles’ new spider powers manifest. His relationship with his uncle ( Ulimate Prowler right?) will be interesting to watch develop – he is like the reverse of Pete’s uncle Ben; and instead of losing his uncle at the hands of a criminal- Miles’ uncle IS a criminal.

    The lottery scene reminds me of the beginning of the Hunger Games, and the season of The Wire that showcased the complete meltdown of the public school system. A great subject for future stories.
    Norman Osbourne looks to be still suitably insane – so I’m sure he’ll make a great antagonist.

  5. JayDee says:

    omg i didn’t even put together the UNCLE connection, that Pete lost his and Miles still has his…DUH

  6. Bobby says:

    Yeah , you wonder if Osbourne is going to try and track down whoever was brazen enough to rob him- then kill Miles’ uncle. Or if somehow Miles’ parents will get mixed up in Osbourne’s revenge and be killed? Would Miles go live with his uncle ? A superhero and super-thief forced to live together, hiding their identities from each other? A lot of Interesting directions this story could take. Maybe in a complete reversal of the original Spidey- Miles can TEACH his uncle a lesson?

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