ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #5
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Review by Bobby Shortle
If you are a geek and under the age of sixty you’ve never known a world without a Spider-man. His lineage is long and his continuity is dense. Even the revamped Ultimate universe had begun to become impenetrable for people trying to get caught up with the ups and downs of your friendly neighborhood wall crawler. Which is why it was necessary in the preceding four issues of Ultimate Comics Spider-man that writer Brian Michael Bendis worked to create and cultivate a feeling of welcoming for new readers. Those books, while still playing off previous continuity, felt like the launch of something new and exciting. They also allowed fans to become enamored with Miles Morales as a character so that when he finally donned the tights we would see him not as a Peter Parker stand in but as his own man. With those tasks out of the way Ultimate Comics Spider-man #5 makes the leap into the larger Marvel universe by including super group The Ultimates and for the first time pitting Miles against a true super villain.
It’s a testament to Bendis’ quick fire dialogue and Mamet like interactions that until this point I didn’t even think about the fact that their had been four issues of a Spider-man book with almost zero action. He has slowly crafted Miles Morales into a character we not only root for but feel protective of. When he enters into battle against a classic Spidey villain I genuinely cared what would become of him and mentally cheered when he began to realize his potential. The other stroke of narrative genius applied in issue #5 is the continuing weight given to the death of Peter Parker. The Ultimates are not happy with Miles for dressing like, and in their eyes disrespecting, their deceased friend. This complex emotional quandary is at it’s best when reflected in Spider-woman. You can feel her outrage at the new Spider-man emanating from her pores which makes a later character moment even more rewarding.
I really enjoyed Ultimate Comics Spider-man #5 but in an odd way I’m less engaged now that Miles has been accepted into the larger superhero community. I liked the idea of the young boy trying to find out for himself what his powers mean and how to use them wisely. Perhaps that’s unrealistic in such an interconnected Marvel Universe but Peter Parker had no Nick Fury to help him out and I think that made him more relatable. The inclusion of The Ultimates also triggers my continuity anxiety button as I’m not fully up on that story line. That being said, working within the world that now exists, Bendis continues to execute an extremely engaging origin story that I believe has brought new life an all ready great franchise.
Buy It – You can’t argue with Bendis’ story telling acumen or his ability to craft fun and interesting characters. Miles Morales is an excellent new hero who is worthy of the Spider-man name but I wish that he had more time on his own before getting thrown in the larger Marvel universe. That small gripe aside this is a must buy for Spider-man fans.