The origin of the new Ultimate Universe Spider-Man continues to unfold as Miles uses his powers to rush to the scene of the battle in time to see the first Spider-Man’s last stand against the Green Goblin from the prior ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ series. He sees Peter’s passing, in the embrace of Aunt May. He asks Gwen Stacy who he was and she tells him “Peter Parker.” Miles blames himself, stating that if only he’d embraced his powers earlier and learned to use them, he might have been able to help save the original Spider-Man.
Later, at Peter’s funeral, Miles asks Gwen Stacy why Peter became Spider-Man. She appears angry at the question and silently enters the church. Afterward, however, she marches right out and tells him exactly why and utters possibly the most famous quote in all of comics, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Miles’ roommate Ganky gives him his old Spider-Man Halloween costume and Miles attempts to launch a fledgling crime fighting career, to dreadful results. He is struggling to figure out what his powers even are, when he is confronted by another Parker supporting cast member, Spider-Woman.
For some odd reason, I was surprised that the old Spider-Man’s cast actually factored into this new book and interacted with Miles. It was actually quite a lovely touch as Peter Parker’s supporting cast (616 or Ultimate) has always been one of the most engaging, best utilized, most beloved in all of comics. Aunt May has some touching moments, but doesn’t interact with Miles. I’m very anxious to see how she reacts when the new Spider-Man really goes public. I’m curious how much further interaction they will have.
I liked that this book focused almost solely on Miles and that we’re starting to see him in action, using his powers, even though he still isn’t fighting super villains. Brian Michael Bendis was one of the leaders of the decompressed story telling movement and few do it better than he does. We’re four issues in, the lead character still hasn’t figured out what his powers are, has only barely donned a costume, and hasn’t fought any super villains, yet I’m completely engaged and not feeling impatient at all! It helps that some of the other subplots, like the strained relationship between Miles’ father and uncle aren’t touched on and therefore don’t slow the story down. Miles turns a corner with this issue and the majority of the volume packs in the necessary emotion to fuel that. Of course Ganky is there to provide the necessary levity to keep things from getting too bogged down.
Sara Pichelli’s art has a lush clean style that actually recalls that of Mark Bagley, the original illustrator of ‘Ultimate Spider-Man.’ It’s not exactly the same, but it’s sleek and clean, like his was. The one big difference is that Bagley’s style is so fluid that the figures seem to move. Pichelli’s renderings look like still photos. You can tell the characters are in motion, but it doesn’t come across. There are no blurs or motion lines to indicate that. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. Her work is still quite attractive and dramatic, so I have no issue with her style choices.
This book is definitely one I look forward to reading first each month when it comes out and it continues to satisfy!
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #4
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Cover by Kaare Andrews