[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]pider-Man holds a very special place in every comic book readers hearts. The years have gone by and we have seen many different faces behind the mask of the famous wall-crawler; women, men, clones, imposters, criminals, copy cats, civilians, etc., but none quite like Miles Morales.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe is my personal favorite of them all, and there are many, and there is something out there for everyone in one of those universes. After issue #160 of Ultimate Spider-Man, we witnessed first hand one of the most devastating losses to comics, of all time; The Death of Peter Parker.
Fans were in an uproar, fueled with outrage at the thought of the loss of their favorite hero, myself among them. With news that there would be a replacement, it angered fans, though I was intrigued as much as I was saddened by the loss of Peter.
I shared no ill-will towards Bendis and those responsible for the news that a half african american/half hispanic teenager would be taking over the role of the web-slinger; though I was mostly on my own with my intrigue. Not many shared the curiosity I had, but instead felt that Marvel was simply trying to cash-in and pander to an otherwise untapped demographic of ethnic groups yearning to see a comic book character who wasn’t a caucasian male.
But very quickly the cries of disbelief turned into hope, as they bonded towards Miles Morales, and found that the character himself was as diverse as each and every reader, and that the color of his skin had little to do with his adventures swinging through New York City saving the lives of the less than capable; all the while contemplating and wondering what his purpose was, if not to fill the shoes of the late Peter Parker. “What would Peter Parker do?” was a phrase Miles constantly asked himself, trying to compare and learn from his predecessors mistakes. How could he ever hope to become the hero that Peter was? How could he hope to survive the turmoil of the city, the state, the country, when Peter Parker himself could not? These questions and more seemed to answer themselves in time with more and more questions.
“What would Peter Parker do?”
But then, what would happen if out of the blue, with no hint or warning, Peter Parker should come back to life, rummaging through Miles Morales’ apartment of all places?
Miles Morales has gone through many things that Peter Parker has, and just as many experiences he has not. Miles sets himself apart from Peter in many ways, while still maintaining the clever, quick-witted persona we have grown to know and love. Miles Morales may not have been the first Spider-Man, and he will likely not be the last. But during the events of Peter’s Death, and his second coming, Miles earned the title of Ultimate Spider-Man.
After Ultimate Spider-Man #160, Peter was no more, having died at the hands of Norman Osborne who also seemingly died. Soon after, Miles Morales appeared, having been bitten by a different spider in a similar way that Peter did. Complete with old powers and new powers than that of the original (active camouflage, a poison sting causing victims a temporary paralysis), Miles set out to find answers about who he is and what he had become.
28 issues later and a short arc featuring Galactus in Ultimate Cataclysm, Miles received his second ongoing story line, to which this review focuses on the first 6 issues. And as the covers suggest (and what you have just read), Peter Parker comes back to life. Though at the present time, we know very little of the cause of his survival.
Peter reveals to Miles that he has been watching him for some time from a distance, after having woken up in an abandoned laboratory in a facility resembling that of Oscorp or Roxxon. With no answers, Peter fled to see Mary Jane, where they went to Peter’s burial site and opened his coffin to find nothing inside. We are to believe that this is the real and only Peter Parker of the Ultimate Universe, and not a clone or a trick. To make matters more complicated, Norman Osborne is also alive, and wanted by every government agency in America.
Afraid to reveal himself to his friends and family for the fear that they could not bear anymore suffering because of him being Spider-Man, Peter finally steps out of the shadows for all to see during a battle between Morales and Osborne.
Watching on the news are Gwen Stacy and Peter’s own Aunt May, much to their obvious shock and surprise, Aunt May says that she knows its him and not a clone. The two rush down to the scene to confront Peter where he shares what little he knows about how he survived. Though there is a theory…
Earlier before their battle, Norman Osborne had fled to confess his crimes and perspectives to none other than J Jonah Jameson. Feeling a moment of clarity, Osborne wished to share with Jameson the guilt he felt for his crimes in front of the media. During what seemed like a vulnerable moment, Jameson pulled a gun on Osborne and shot him point blank in the head. Bleeding all over his penthouse living room, Osborne was thought to be dead, before coming back to life miraculously and telling Jameson that he believed his “Oz Formula” (what gave Peter and Miles their powers and what turned Osborne into the behemoth Green Goblin) also granted immortality. Osborne then proceeds to crush Jameson’s head in his bare hands while igniting him on fire.
While I have shed a tear only once in my life over an emotional story in a comic book (the death of Peter was hard), it became quite clear that Miles was going to offer something new in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man and then later in the currently ongoing Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter was missed, but Miles carried the torch in a way that seemed to hold firmly of the spirit of Peter Parker.
Upon seeing that Peter Parker had returned, my heart nearly leapt from my chest with joy and confusion. This was one time where I literally thought he was gone for good, and that there would never be another Ultimate Peter Parker. Though we do not have the answers yet, I feel from what we do know about this newly resurrected Peter, that he is different somehow. Not in that he may not be the real Peter, but because the writing has changed. He does not seem like he used to in that it almost comes across like Bendis brought him back in a rush to shut up any fans that were still complaining over Peter’s death. Maybe I am being too critical, or maybe I am right. Regardless of what happens, it is always important to remember that any decent story will tug and play at your emotions to get you thinking and make you feel something you have never since felt towards a fictional character. In any case, it is exciting to see the two Spider-Men standing side-by-side fighting for what each other believes in, even if it is planned as a short run.
Miles Morales has not been around long, and you can get caught up with the first 28 issues of All-New Ultimate Spider-Man where Miles origins are introduced. Form there, you can see the first time Peter Parker meets Miles in Spider-Men, a crossover between the Peter of the Amazing Universe and Miles of the Ultimate one. After that, you can read the 5 part issue of Ultimate Cataclysm that paves the way for the continuation on the currently ongoing Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man, of which there are currently 6 issues. Expect issue 7 on November 12.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis with David Marquez as the artist, be sure to pick up Ultimate Spider-Man today.