Last issue, Miles arrived at a rendezvous point to find three surprises– Peter Parker’s Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Captain America. While Miles was able to convince May and Gwen that he only wanted to use his powers for good and to honor Peter’s legacy, Captain America doesn’t share their stance and tells Miles he must stop being Spider-Man. Cap feels he is too young and with the state the nation is in, it’s too dangerous. (See the “Divided We Fall” crossover, which only minorly affects this title.) He also feels more than a little guilty for having failed Peter. They are interrupted when Cap gets an emergency alert and must rush off.
Mary-Jane Watson shows up after Gwen called her to tell her they were meeting the new Spider-Man. Miles says he tries to do what he thinks Peter would do in every situation, but he isn’t sure what he’d do here. Aunt May says Peter would tell him to prove Cap wrong. She then bequeaths him Peter’s web shooters. The three women don’t all appear to be on the same page, with MJ reminding them that Miles is very young. May advises Miles not to base his choices on what they or anyone else thinks or even on what he thinks Peter would want. “Don’t do what Peter would do. Do what Miles Morales would do,” she urges, proving once again why May Parker is one of the best supporting characters in all of comics whether it’s in the 616 or the Ultimate Universe.
There is a fantastically funny sequence that goes on for several pages of Miles attempting to master the web shooters, followed by an excellently-rendered battle alongside Cap against The Rhino. (I’m not sure why Captain America was sent to stop The Rhino to be honest. Hardly an even match.) Things go predictably rocky and Miles struggles with the fact that he inadvertently caused the death of his uncle, the Prowler with his Venom Blast in issue #12, but must overcome those feelings if he wants to stop this behemoth.
It was very nice to further develop the relationship between Miles and Peter’s supporting cast and, it’s nice that they are supportive of his mission. Gwen in particular is quite emphatic in a tribute to Chris Claremont and Paul Smith’s ‘Uncanny X-Men.’ But Captain America’s concerns are understandable, if somewhat extraneous, considering we kind of already went through this with Nick Fury.
Miles continues to prove endearing in his ineptitude. It’s actually nice that over a year into this book, he’s still struggling to learn the ropes… or the webs, rather. His journey is a slow build and I like that. He didn’t just get his powers and become an expert overnight. And he wonders, “Hey, what happens when I run out of webs? Do I have to make them myself?” His quip-y banter during the fight is reminiscent of Peter’s and is a nice homage, but it felt a little rehearsed. Considering how bumbling Miles is, the snark comes a bit too easily.
The art on this book is consistently fantastic. David Marquez does a masterful job here, whether it’s with the quiet discussion scene, the humorous web shooter sequence or the energetic battle. He excels all around! One thing I love in particular is how… wobbly Miles is. He’s like a human rubber band, always flailing around. He almost reminds me of a Loony Toons character, like Wile E. Coyote the way he’s always flying haphazardly through the air and crashing down with no sense of grace whatsoever. It’s perfect!
Another month, another awesome issue of this book!
ULTIMATE COMICS – SPIDER-MAN #14
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Marquez
Cover by Jorge Molina