The Review Group takes a look at how Miles Morales is doing as Spider-Man. Be prepared for some nonsensical opinions this week.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
This week we've got Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3. Peter Parker is dead, and Miles Morales is the new Spider-Man! The Review Group fear change, so what will they make of this? Some people like it, and some don't. Can you guess what side I'm on?
I might try and re read this some time later. But good lord Bendis needs to give it a rest with the teenagers talking. This is getting out of hand. Like I said I'll try and reread this before scoring it. Fuck I wont, this issue is dumb. The whole unmasked saving lives is total bullshit. Ultimate Spiderman has never been all that good. Looking back on the 30+ issues I read and followed, I feel dumb for having done so for so long. Actually I feel that way pretty much any of Bendis' work The art here is serviceable but also just sort of flat an unenjoyable. So in closing. This comic sucks and is a reminder why I only have 4 comics on my pull list.
Story - Ultimate Peter Parker is dead. A character many of us have followed and empathised with for 10 years is dead, and he's been replaced by some random new kid nobody has ever heard of. Who the hell cares about Miles Morales?
This is the problem Brian Michael Bendis is facing writing the adventures of the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter Parker is a beloved icon, whereas Miles is a total unknown, he has to make us like Miles as much as we liked Peter. It's a tough job, but I personally feel he's succeeding. He's taking a fairly slow pace and showing how Miles is both similar and different to Peter.
I've noticed some readers have a problem with the slow pace to this origin arc, Miles has not got a costume yet, he's not done much at all, but this is necessary. Ultimate Peter Parker's origins were slow, it took 7 issues to tell what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko managed in 15 pages. This meant that we knew Peter a lot better, we knew and cared about Uncle Ben before he got shot, it was a more immersive and effective experience. The same thing is being done with Miles. Not only are we getting an insight into Miles' nature and character without the distraction of having him fight the Jack O'Lantern, but we're seeing his family and friends in greater detail too. This issue focuses on Miles and his best friend (and the only person who knows about his new Spidery powers) Ganke, as they try and work out what exactly has happened to Miles. This leads to a highly enjoyable conversation between the two, including a discussion about Ganke's favourite topic, Lego. Ganke is a really fun character and a great foil for the more cautious and quiet Miles, let's just hope he doesn't become a super-villain like Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborn.
We then get the book's first major action sequence, as Miles rescues some people from a burning villain. This is classic Spider-Man stuff, iconic Spider-Manning, but Bendis makes it clear that Miles' attitude towards this is not the same as Peter Parker's, he's not cracking wise, he takes this a little more seriously, and at the end, decides he can't do it anymore, he's going to leave it to the 'real' Spider-Man.
But of course the real Spider-Man is going to die soon.
Bendis also sets up Miles' new home and status quo, rather than living with his Aunt, he's attending some kind of weird alternative boarding school. This is a cool idea, it's certainly going to be harder for Miles to go out on superhero patrols if he's under the scrutiny of a boarding school.
Miles is sleeping in this school on the night Peter Parker is killed, and it's this bit that intrigues me the most. In what I thought at first was a dream sequence, Miles sees Electro shouting 'die Spider-Man' and electrocuting him. At first glance this is just Miles' anxiety about being bitten by a Spider, but then you think back to the 'Death Of Spider-Man' arc. Electro was present at Peter's final battle. Is Miles seeing what Peter's seeing? Is this some kind of link between their Spider-Senses? We've already seen that Miles has some powers that Peter didn't, such as camouflage and shock powers, and I think this is another example. Bendis shows us this, rather than tells us, and it's very effective indeed.
This issue ends with Miles and Ganke finding out that Spider-Man has been shot, and it's a great cliffhanger to a great issue. Yes, the book is slow, but Ultimate Spider-Man has always moved at it's own pace, yes, we're all impatient to see what Miles can do as Spider-Man, but it's worth it to see him just be him first, so we know him as a character. After 3 issues I already like Miles a lot, and can't wait to see what's coming for the character. He's not Peter Parker, he's his own character, and he's great.
Art - Sara Pichelli has been hovering around the world of Ultimate Spider-Man for a while now, he illustrated a few issues of the last arc, including a great arc involving Mysterio and Black Cat fighting over the Zodica Key, her work was solid then, but with this new relaunch, it's taken a leap to the next level. This stuff is just awesome, it's like a cross between Stuart Immonen and David LaFuente, which is obviously perfect for Ultimate Spider-Man. It manages to be both realistic and cartoony at the same time, and you can read a lot from the facial expressions she draws. It's just excellent, and I can't wait to see her cut loose when Miles is Spider-Man properly, swinging around town, getting into fights.
Best Line - 'Spider-Man has been shot'
I found this issue to be just like the last one. Slow and boring. I realize this newest incarnation of Spider-Man is starting just like the other one but at $4 an issue I wish Bendis would pick up the pace. The writing isn't bad but I would prefer to see Miles as Spider-Man at this point. The dialogue was good, as it usually is with Bendis, but I'm starting to doubt the man can write good action. Even his Avengers books have been heavy on the talking head side, literally, with the "interview" sessions those books feature. I'm going to keep reading because I'm hoping the wait will be worth it. I just wish it would get here before issue seven.
I like the art here. I feel it fits the tone of the book well. Reminds of Lafuente's work but not as cartoony. I'm looking forward to seeing how Pichelli's Spider-Man scenes look because I really love the look of the new suit.
Story - 5
Art - 8
Overall - 6.5
This story has been a great introduction to the new Ultimate Spider-Man, his life, friends, origin story. The story has been fairly slow paced so far allowing the character to be fleshed out somewhat before he takes up the Spider-Man identity...that's a double edged sword however, while a character who'll be this pivotal needs to be built up, it's an awfully slow burn when we already know where this story is going: Miles goes from being uneasy and nervous about these powers to becoming the new Spider-Man.
Onto the art, Sara Pichelli is a really great artist. It's been top noch throughout this whole series and she didn't disappoint this issue. Loved Ganke's "Frog Man" shirt.
Here's the thing. This character holds no interest to me whatsoever. In fact there is no real connection here to make him even a legacy character. I get the fact that this universe is all about moving forward, but in this case it was the worse move ever.
The story is boring, the character is boring and to be honest even the art doesn't work for me on any level. I'm really glad I dropped this stinker but will not hold it against anyone that I was forced to waist my money on this.
I highly recommend the Amazing Spider-Man in the 616 Universe right now. THough I'm not a big fan of that either at least its a solid read. If anyone out there actually reads this review, take my words to heart. The book stinks up to high heaven. Avoid it at all costs.
My Score: 1.50
There you go. Pretty lame week, hardly any reviews and whisper it quietly, but I think one reviewer didn't even read the book. Overall Ultimate Spider-Man #3 got 5.1 out of 10, which is just wrong, this book was way better than a 5. But that's the problem you face when you canvas a variety of opinions, some of them will be wrong.
Read the thread here, and join us next week for a look at HP Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror #1 from IDW!
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt