Another Landmark Issue?
In a series where every third or fourth issue is a pivotal one; it can be hard for any single issue to truly stand out as more memorable than the rest. We have seen a hero rise, we have seen that hero meet with multiple tragedies, and each one of these moments feels well earned. It is therefore a substantial claim when I call Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #23 a landmark issue.
We see the clock speed up as we move an entire year into the future. Due to the events of the last issue, Miles Morales has given up being Spider-Man for the entirety of this year long period. This is not a Spider-Man issue. This is all about the young man Miles Morales coming to grips with his new status quo. While I was upset by the unexpected death last issue, giving writer Brian Michael Bendis the benefit of the doubt proved to be rewarding as this new dynamic between Miles and his father feels bittersweet in the most authentic of ways.
Where big high profile team books like All-New X-Men seem to suffer from the drawn-out pace Bendis has been so fond of lately, in a quiet book like this it fits perfectly. With an almost exclusively new cast of characters, the extended and deliberate nature of their interactions allows us to get to know every single one intimately. With the events of last issue nobody is quite the same character they were (Except for the ever consistent Ganke ofcourse!), but since we know them so well, we can tell exactly how they are different and infer how those changes took place.
I like that they jumped forward a year. Every superhero seems to give up their mantle at some point but it usually only lasts a few issues. On the sliding timeline used by most mainstream comics that probably only amounts to a couple weeks at most. The fact that Miles has been out of the game so long gives added depth to his decision to quit being Spider-Man. The jump forward in time is also notable in that a lot of changes happen in a year of a teenager’s life. Miles and Ganke are taller and more adult. Artist David Marquez does a brilliant job depicting the aging and I am ecstatic that he got to be the one to define their new looks. The subtle changes in the way they are drawn give this book an artifice of realism that I never would have expected when I started reading this series.
This was an excellent chapter in the ongoing story of Miles Morales. Even as a long-time lover of the series I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this issue. Even though the book has jumped forward in time, this would not be a good starting point for someone looking to pick up the series. The dialogue in this speech heavy issue will not hold any weight if you haven’t been following Miles and his hurdles so far. However, if you have been along for the journey so far you won’t even care that this issue is low on action. Speaking of action; can't wait for Cloak and Dagger next issue!