Last week, news hit the media that there was to be a new face beneath the Spider-Man mask following hot on the heels of Peter Parker’s death at the hands of Norman Osborne in ‘Ultimate Comics Spider-Man’ #160. A few days ago, the announcement came that this face would belong to Miles Morales, a half-black half-hispanic teenager. The news of a black Spider-Man sent a buzz throughout the internet and the response has been mixed. The comments have ranged from excitement to disparaging remarks about this being a PR stunt to downright hatred.
Today, the first comic appearance of Morales as Spidey appeared in ‘Ultimate Fallout’ #4 and, as a long-time Spidey fan, I was okay with it. I began reading ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ way back on issue #3 and wasn’t shocked by this big reveal. Let’s look at the facts. I was aware that Spidey scribe Brian Michael Bendis and his wife are the parents of two adopted black children. It has always seemed to me that, of the plethora of titles that Bendis writes, Spidey has always been the one that he put the most of his heart into so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Bendis has been planning this change for a while.
[Warning: Spoilers Below!]
So, aside from the controversy, how was the issue itself? It was good but not spectacular (pun fully intended). The issue is divided into three separate stories. The first, the Spidey reveal, doesn’t really give readers much. It’s a seven page battle between the new Spider-Man and the Kangaroo. It’s clear throughout the battle that the new Spider-Man has different powers than Pete. Most obviously, the new Spider-Man doesn’t once shoot webs. He is fast and strong, but it doesn’t seem like he’s as powerful as Peter. Miles keeps having a complaining of a buzzing in his head which I expect will be his version of Pete’s spider-sense. The battle comes to a close with Kangaroo taken down and Spidey pulling off his mask in an alleyway. I guess we’ll have to wait until the first issue of ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ for more details when it hits shelves later this year.
The remainder of the issue is made up of a couple of stories that aren’t related at all to the death of Peter Parker and merely serve to setup some other Ultimate tales yet to come. The first, written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Salvador Larroca is about Reed Richards escaping from the Negative Zone. The second features a discussion about a conspiracy that the US government may have created mutants within the Ultimate universe.