Miles Morales is not Peter Parker.  Nor should he be.  I don’t know why everyone is so up in arms over this new character… actually, yeah, I kinda do and it’s really sad and pathetic.  At any rate, this book illustrates just how different he is from his wise-cracking predecessor.  Miles is terrified by his new powers and has no desire whatsoever to become a super hero.  He just wants to be, in his words, “normal.”

His best friend, Ganke, on the other hand is thrilled beyond belief at the thought!  Ganke and Miles go back to Miles’ uncles apartment, despite Miles’ father forbidding him from doing so.  Once there, they discover that his uncle and all his possessions are gone.  After they leave, they come across one of those burning buildings that you can’t swing a dead cat in the Marvel Universe without hitting.  No, no, I get it.  It’s an homage.  Ganke goads Miles into using his powers to rescue those trapped inside.  Reluctantly, Miles springs into action.  Unfortunately, his first rescue goes all wrong.  He redeems himself and then promptly takes off.  Once more to illustrate how un-Peter Parker he is, Miles has a slight breakdown in a nearby alley.  After this, Miles and Ganke settle in at the exclusive charter school they were both accepted to and a new roommate named Judge is introduced.  He seems cool.  Then, the entire school is evacuated to the gym because of some super battle going on nearby.  A battle that has dire consequences.

Miles Morales is great!  He’s insecure, terrified and just wants to be normal.  Who can’t relate to that?  It’s refreshing to see someone gain super powers and not immediately stitch together a spandex suit and embark on a life of crime or crime-fighting.  He needs to develop a bit more, but Bendis’ writing is always decompressed, so it’ll take a while, I’m sure.  Most importantly, he’s sympathetic so, even though he’s not the most vibrant character, I care enough about him to want to continue reading.  I am scared, though, that something tragic is going to have to happen in order to push him into the role of actual super hero.

Even though Ganke is the stereotypical fat, funny best friend, I find him charming.  Peter Parker was already funny, so he didn’t need a supporting character like this, but Miles is so mopey and morose, he does.  His enthusiasm is infectious and he seems to have the confidence that Miles does not.  I love Ganke!

Bendis has his critics, but I’ve never understood that.  No body writes better dialogue than this guy.  Maybe his style is too quip-y for some?  I’ve been a fan since the beginning of ‘Powers’ and I still enjoy his work.  It is decompressed, but that can work in the right hands.  And Bendis has proven repeatedly that he excels at this style.  The one development I sort of winced at, is that the boys’ are now attending a boarding school.  I find it a little cliche’ that so many teen heroes don’t have any parents or guardians around.  I get that for younger people, it’s sort of wish fulfillment, being able to come and go without scrutiny.  It’s that way with everything from Legion of Super Heroes to the X-Men to Harry Potter.  But heroes with strong, supporting parental figures are fewer and farther between.  Miles’ parents seem like strong, intelligent, compassionate people.  It’s too bad we won’t see much of them, since Miles lives, essentially, on his own now.

The art by Sara Pichelli totally works.  Her facial expressions are fantastic!  She conveys so much through a narrowed eyelid or a crooked smirk!  It’s super detailed, yet very clean.  It’s perfectly suited for this title!  I’m not sure who is responsible for some of the digital effects, her or colorist Justin Ponsor, but I loved them.  The “old comic coloring dots” in the backgrounds of some panels are really cool and the blur effect as one character is falling through the air is also great.

I’m enjoying this title and look forward to it being collected, so I can sit down and read the whole thing.  In the meantime:

Verdict: Buy

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Cover by Kaare Andrews