Hope you read the last issue because there's a few spoilers below.
It's one year later, and Miles has moved on with his life, since he quit being Spider-Man after his mother was shot during a confrontation with Venom. Spider-Woman wants him to put the suit back one, but Miles just wants to be normal.
I'll admit, when I saw that opening page, where it says "one year later," I laughed out loud and it just reminded me of when DC did it a few years back, which was a bit of a flop. However, I ended up loving the idea, minus a few small things (see below). It actually works really well. Miles is still dealing with the loss of his mother, but we get to see him down the road, after the main part of the grieving process. He's moved on, for the most part. Sure, his mother's death is still a huge part of his life, but we get to see Miles at a point where everything has gone back to normal. However, he's changed. His innocence has been shattered, and you can tell just the look on his face that he's a completely different person.
I was pretty harsh during my review of the last issue of this book because I felt Miles' mother's death was cheap. The difference between this issue and last month's was night and day for me. One of my favorite Spider-Man stories is SPIDER-MEN. Most of it deals with the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe, and writer Brian Michael Bendis puts together one emotional, heart-wrenching story. We get that here, in this issue. This is a very emotional issue as Miles is still dealing with his mother's death and refuses to take the mantle of Spider-Man back on.
While it's sad to see Sara Pichelli leave this book, Dave Marquez is a very welcomed addition to the series. I've always really liked his style, and he fits this book wonderfully. I love his heavy outlines around the characters, and Justin Ponsor's colors help make this a top notch book in the art department.
The last page... While it looks insanely cool, and I'm so excited about the characters featured on it, the dialogue is super-rough. Basically, it's a bunch of characters playing the "name game," and by that, I mean that they're just introducing themselves to the reader. Everything, up until that moment, in this issue, was perfect for me.
Does this mean that this book is one year farther in the future than the rest of the Ultimate books or are the Ultimate books also going to jump ahead? If it's only ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN jumping forward, that's going to be a huge problem if anything needs to cross over.
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #23 is a fantastic issue. Bendis and Marquez are a fantastic scene, and while the last issue was a bit of a let down for me, this issue was fantastic all over. I really like the jump forward a year, and Bendis does a fantastic job with changing around Miles' personality subtly to go along with everything that has happened to him. On the downside, I really didn't like the dialogue on the last page of the issue, and I keep wondering if the rest of the Ultimate books are jumping forward as well, if that even matters.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue.