Review: MILES MORALES: THE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1

MILES MORALES: THE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Marquez
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 7, 2014

MMULTSM2014001_DC11jpg_Page1Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez kick off a new volume of Ultimate Spider-Man with a look at the life of Miles Morales post-Cataclysm. This comic is more proof (if anyone needed any) that Miles Morales is one of the most relatable characters in comics, and, quite possibly, the most likable.

Brian Michael Bendis may be doing the best work of his career with Miles, and his fantastic streak of high quality issues continues with this #1. He does an amazing job writing these characters, each one of them so natural and human. Even in costume, clinging to a building, Miles is a just a young guy navigating through the challenges of life.

Bendis is one of the best there is with digging deep into characters, getting into their core and letting the emotion fly, and he does it perfectly in this issue of Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles is broken up after the events of Cataclysm, clinging to those who he still has in his life, and trying to do right by them. There are some fantastic conversations in this comic, especially between Miles and MJ. How Miles’ life has intertwined with Peter’s has grown so well throughout this series, and seeing MJ as an emotional mentor to Miles is everything that is right about this series.

Bendis paces this comic well, balancing the heavy conversations with the reveal of an iconic villain, setting up a threat the likes of which Miles very well may not be ready for. The energy of these young characters with their raw emotions and the explosive reintroduction of the villain gives this comic a palpable amount of energy, and to top it off Bendis throws down a reveal at the end of the issue that actually made me gasp. Very few comics can shock me that way, and I applaud Bendis for dropping the bombshell in this issue the way he did. This is a dynamic first issue for this chapter of Miles’ life, with two major reveals and some absolutely fantastic character moments, and Bendis firing on all cylinders.

Bendis kills it with the words, and David Marquez matches him punch for punch with amazing artwork. The newly crowned “Young Gun” at Marvel shows why he is on that list with absolutely fantastic work on each and every page of this comic. The emotional beats in the script live or die based on the execution of the artwork, and Marquez nails every single one of them. His layouts are energetic and lively, keeping this comic from ever dragging during the pages of heavy dialogue and Marquez pencils the explosive (and shocking) reveals of this issue very well.

Marquez is the Miles Morales artist, in my mind, delivering strong, character-defining work in this issue and in the last volume. Justin Ponsor’s colour work brings a lot of youthful energy to this comic, and makes the characters leap from the page. From Kate Bishop’s pink streaks to Miles’ time in the suit, the attention to detail in his work makes Marquez’s art really shine. This is an art team, and entire creative team, in perfect sync, delivering one hell of a great comic.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is an immediate contender for the best book of the week, built by an all-star creative team that is on fire. Bendis & Marquez are one of the top creative pairings in comics and they build on their previous work very well in this issue. This comic has a ton of heart, is fun to read, and features great character moments balanced with shocking reveals that will have you craving the next issue. You can’t really ask for anything more in superhero comics, and Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 embodies everything that is great about the genre.

The Verdict: 10/10

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