Get ready to meet Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter Parker, our beloved Spider-Man from before, is dead. Miles is going to have some big spider-booties to fill. With Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli on board, Miles has some strong supporters.
We can all understand that trying to replace Spider-Man, even in the Ultimate Universe, is a big risk. Bendis has crafted his version of young Spider-Man with incredible finesse. The Death of Spider-Man arc was a success because of the way he was portrayed as a hero, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Now we have a new character, Miles Morales. We got a look at him during Ultimate Fallout. The trick is going to be to make us care about him and to make Spider-fans accept him as the new web-slinger. As a true introduction to him, the issue succeeds.
When Ultimate Spider-Man first began, we didn't see Peter Parker as Spider-Man right away. It took an entire story arc for that to happen. In a similar fashion, we don't have Miles swinging around New York City in spider-spandex. We do get to know who he is, where he comes from and how the heck does he get spider-powers. It all works out nicely.
Perhaps Bendis tugs on our heartstrings a little in getting us to care about Miles, but it doesn't come across as forced. He's a good kid and actually has parents...for now? Could it be that this new Spider-Man will have other differences besides just his race? Here's a minor spoiler, his spider-abilities may be a little different than Peter's. But we've seen a tiny bit of that as well in Ultimate Fallout.
Sara Pichelli's art is great. It's obvious that race and ethnicity is a factor in this book. Often artist tend to draw generic versions of different ethnicities but that is not the case here. The different races are portrayed accurately and you do get a feel for the diversity in New York City. We don't have any superhero battles but with the story and detailed art, you won't even miss it.
How does Miles get his powers? What is his connection, if any, to Peter Parker? Obviously I am not going to spoil those. I'm a little torn over some of it. As a long time Spider-Man fan, I can accept this new direction. The set up for Miles is believable. What will be the extent of his powers? We don't know yet. It's a great set up in the story but it does feel as if it goes by quickly. But that could be a good thing, leaving us wanting more.
The new Spider-Man is here and it looks like the mantle is in safe hands. Bendis and Pichelli give us a great introduction to who Miles Morales is and how he gets his powers. As in the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, the story doesn't rush into the spider-action. We do see the background and there are enough differences between Miles and Peter (besides the obvious skin color) to make this truly feel like a new character. We don't just have a new kid trying to be Spider-Man. From the set up, there will be different problems Miles will face along with some potentially different types of powers. What matters most is Miles' introduction doesn't feel forced. I may not be 100% sold on how he got his powers but it does make sense.
I recall reading that Aunt May and Gwen Stacy (maybe even Mary Jane) will play a role in guiding Miles along in becoming a hero. While I would love to see the return of those characters, and it is inevitable, I hope it doesn't happen too soon. The same with Nick Fury. He'll have to make an appearance. Let's have Miles develop a bit on his own before we see the others brought in. We're off to a great start which really shouldn't be a surprise.