Marvel Comics’ latest entry into the post-“Secret Wars” era of the Marvel Universe known as “All-New, All-Different Marvel” is “Spider-Man” whose premier issue just hit comic shop shelves and the work is striking. Fans had to wait until “Secret Wars” concluded because of the big surprise return and the change to Spider-Man’s life revealed in “Secret Wars” #9 the wait was worth it. But this is not Peter Parker spinning webs because Pete is off running a multi-national company. This Spider-Man is Miles Morales formerly of the Ultimate Universe now fighting the good fight in the prime Marvel Universe.
Chronicling the adventures of Miles Morales are the creators of the character writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli. They are joined on the book by colorist Justin Ponsor. “Spider-Man” #1 is one of the greatest works this trio has put out featuring their version of Spider-Man. Bendis’s words are their usual amazing selves but Pichelli’s already outstanding artwork has gone to another level. It is stunning.
The story begins with Spider-Man arriving at the end of a battle the Avengers have just lost. They lie in the wreckage with only the new Spidey left to avenge them. It does not look good for Spidey. Pichelli draws one of the nastiest looking villains you have ever seen complete with frightening face, crazy clawed hands, and hoofed feet. This is not a Spider-Man villain – this is a super-natural threat known as Blackheart the son of the Prince of the Underworld.
The two page showdown of Spider-Man being dwarfed by this ungodly creation immediately grabs your attention. The detail on the page is intense with twisted shrapnel, piles of rubble, and a smashed car showing the devastation Spidey faces. However will the hero survive?
Instantly the story is transported to earlier in that day to get to know who Miles is when he’s not web-swinging before he gets his head handed to him by Blackheart. In case you were under a rock when Miles was getting his feet wet in the Ultimate Universe you now get a glimpse into his high school life. Where he is struggling to bring his dual lives to some sort of a consensus on what he should be doing.
Bendis uses this time to use his great ear for dialogue giving a glimpse into Miles’ life. While he is still a teenager his problems are much different than Peter Parker’s were in high school. While Peter was the nerd and the outcast Miles has friends and even managed to get a date with the “insanely hot” girl in school, even if his time as Spider-Man caused him to miss it. Through it all you get to know who Spider-Man is under his mask while being thoroughly entertained by his foibles.
While all this is going down Pichelli continues to hit the ball out of the park on the art. The work is expressive and dynamic and clearly tells the story and situations as if Bendis’ narrative was gone. Much of the artistic dynamism comes from Ponsor whose palette glows on the page. It feels lively and energetic really making Pichelli’s artwork shine.
“Spider-Man” #1 gives you more of a classic feel of Spider-Man than Peter Parker’s adventures that appear in “Amazing Spider-Man.” While Peter’s adventures have evolved past the point Miles is at, Bendis, Pichelli, and Ponsor are getting to tell the new adventures of a high school Spider-Man and they are off to a great start. The work in the Ultimate Universe was amazing, but this level of quality storytelling will only shine brighter in the new Marvel Universe.