Comics : Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #2

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This review was first published on: May 2012.

Background...

Miles Morales' Uncle Aaron, who moonlights as the Prowler, broke into one of Oscorp's old labs, and unknowingly ended up with a numbered spider catching a ride out with him. While visiting his uncle, Miles was bit by the spider hiding in his Uncle's bag. After a short fainting spell, Miles wakes to find he has new abilities.

In Detail...

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #2
Dec 2011 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Sara Pichelli
Cover Art:  Kaare Andrews
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
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Review

Picking up right where last issue left off: Miles is running from his Dad and Uncle in the streets at a heightened speed. He's also able to jump over a big screen TV that two movers are schlepping in his path. People around him are awed, asking how he did it, and Miles uses his newfound powers of invisiblity. The crowd turns irate and calls him a mutant as he makes a less-then slealthy getaway.

Walking home later looking lost in thought, Miles gets accosted by some street youths hanging out on the block. They try to shake him down for what he's got in his bookbag. One of them grabs Miles around the throat, but Miles grabs his wrist and zaps him basically unconcious, revealing another newfound ability. The kids say he's mutant and that they should call the police and Miles leaves.

He heads back to his friend Ganke's parent's house. Ganke's putting together an impressive-looking sailing ship made out of Legos. Miles says he has something to show Ganke, after making him promise it'll never be discussed outside of the room. Miles tries to turn invisible, and suddenly can't, all to a non-plussed Ganke. Miles gives up, saying he can do things now, and sets his hand on the Legoship, causing it to get zapped and send pieces of lego flying into the air.

Miles runs down the events of last issue: getting in the academy, getting bit by the spider with the number on it, and running from his uncle and father. Ganke says Miles should go to the hospital, and kneels to clean up the legos. He turns to find that Miles has indeed turned invisible suddenly, and is convinced his friend is a mutant and how cool it is. Miles says it's not cool to give up a sense of a normal life or end up in a camp. Miles' dad then finds him at Ganke's and pops in to say it's time to go.

Out in the streets, Miles' dad sits him down on a nearby bench, asking him why he ran? Miles said he looked like he was going to hit him or his uncle Aaron. His dad says he might have hit his uncle Aaron, given the chance, that there's a reason they don't go over to Aaron's as a family. Dad has to finally come clean to Miles that his Uncle Aaron was a thief at one point, but that he saved Dad's life at one point in the past. He finally reveals to a stunned Miles that he and Uncle Aaron were both in jail before Miles was born. Prodded, Dad reveals that he and Aaron stole things, that he didn't see the opportunity when he was young that Miles has now. Dad says he's paid for his mistakes and regretted them; that anyone can be bad, but to stay focused and live a good life can be "the hardest damn thing".

The moment is broken up by Torch and Iceman flying past overhead. Miles' father gets angered a bit by this, after what "the mutants" have put the city though. He grabs Miles, saying his mother is waiting for them.

Later that night, Miles is stirred in bed by a text from Ganke. It reads that he's not a mutant--but that he has "chameleon like powers that some spiders do", and that he has a venom strike. He then sends a link to a Ben Urich story online, in which Spider-man joked to some cops that his powers came from being bitten by a spider. Ganke texts "sorry u'r not a mutant but..R U Spider-man?!!" Miles lays back, thinking about Spider-man. In a series of panels, he decides to enact a test and the test works, he can cling to walls. The last page is a splash of Miles upside-down on the ceiling, saying "oh no."

In General...

Reading in the Ultimate universe takes some getting used to. As stated last review, it's never been my taste in Marvel comics. So reading Bendis' story this issue perhaps serves as an example of the criticism I've often heard levelled at this parallel comic universe: that the stories take place in the heavily "decompressed", loose format where dialogue and coversation pads out most of the issue and few if any true events actually happen.

But this issue is still an engaging read, as Miles' new abilities are shown off through his encounters with others. It's a clever way to show off his powers, and Miles himself discovers them organically through the issue (invisibility, venom strike, and clinging ability). It may be like reading a play, at times, reading the conversations of all the talking heads this issue, but Bendis really sustains the mood and is helped in this immensely by Pichelli's sense of storytelling and her placement of panels.

As for the cast, Miles' dad gets a pretty good speech near the end. Miles' Uncle Aaron, a former and probably current criminal, must be like the flipside to Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. Ganke proves to be a likeable form of comic relief, and will serve in that capacity to the moping, mostly stoic Miles.

Overall Rating...

A solid, enjoyable issue, as Miles discovers his new powers, and the reader is right there alongside. 4 out of 5 webs.