Published on: 2/3/2016
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Sara Pinchelli and Justin Ponsor
In this new Marvel universe, the roster wouldn’t be complete without one book for everyone to get excited about written by Brian Michael Bendis. And the book that gets to fill this role is “Spider-Man”—No, not that Spider-Man. This book is the solo adventures of Miles Morales but I can see why there would be some confusion. Even when Peter Parker was cloned they at least had the decency to call Ben Reilly the Scarlet Spider. But no, instead I’m going to have to do something silly like whenever I’m referring to Miles Morales I’ll say Spider-Man and when I’m talking about Peter Parker I’ll say The Incredible Edible Egg.
So The Incredible Edible Egg has been having trouble for a while now. It seems no matter what they do no one seems to care about him anymore. This has a lot to do with “One More Day” and how it was terrible. But let’s not get too deep into that, the main point is that The Incredible Edible Egg has been boring. Then we have the Ultimate universe where they killed The Incredible Edible Egg! It was powerful, moving, and compounded their boring problem because if The Incredible Edible Egg is boring to read, imagine reading about his corpse. Along comes Spider-Man, the next one to pick up the mantle. Now here’s where we make a very clear distinction. In the Ultimates universe there was one Spider-Man and that was Miles Morales. He handled all the Spider-Man crime because he was the Spider-Man. So what do we do with a universe that has Spider-Man and The Incredible Edible Egg?
The problem is that Bendis proves once more that he writes a compelling Spider-Man story. Miles is entertaining to read and it feels endearing to experience high school through his eyes. Yeah he falls back on some old troupes like standing up a girl to fight crime and getting out of class to chase a monster but by plugging in proven formulas we can see Miles put his personal touch on these instances. What’s unfortunate is that his personal touch isn’t great—he’s mostly flunking out of school, his friends think he’s a flake, and he’s gotta leave at the drop of a hat for his Avenger friends. Though a lot of this seems really familiar. Almost as if Nova had those same exact problems in his book. Or Spider-Gwen in her book. At least with Ms. Marvel she has a different angle to tell the story. Oh well, even if it is the same story at least it looks beautiful.
Sara Pichelli is almost a cheat card at this point. Her art is always good and adapts to the book that she’d working on. Yeah she has some defining characteristics but she’s also versatile. How so? Well check out a couple of pages in “Spider-Man” #1 where there’s a clear tone shift to cartoonish action for scenes in Miles’ head. And it works spectacularly. It helps explain what it is without having a big text block saying “IN HIS HEAD” while also characterizing Miles himself. This is what happens in his head, his though process. Yeah the silly cartoons are fun but we also see that he sees this world as a fun and silly place. Sara lets us peak at a teenage superhero before he has to become a brooding and depressed adult like The Incredible Edible Egg.
You know what? The issue was actually going all right for me. Plot was okay, action was captivating, characters were engaging. Then there came the showdown with the big baddie, Blackheart. Props for the modern update although he did look a little like a Taco Bell sewer monster. Anyway, the showdown was epic and helped remind everyone that this is Spider-Man and he has earned the mantle. But then The Incredible Edible Egg showed up! Why is he here? I mean I love him as much as the next Spider-Man fan but him showing up just helps illustrate that there’s too many Spider-People in this universe. Too much of their Venn diagrams intersect. They’re even in the same city! Marvel, we need Spider-Man. We do not need The Incredible Edible Egg.
In the “Invincible” universe there are so many characters that take up the mantles of others. After all, Nolan killed the entire Guardians of the Globe team and a lot of those guys had to be replaced. But I think in this case it’s important to look at a different relationship, that of Mark and his brother Oliver. Back when it was revealed that the Viltrumites were hiding out on Earth, Allen the Alien immediately mustered his forces and he took with him the virus that would kill any Viltrumite exposed. Mark had a problem with this because the potential for collateral genocide of humanity was unbearable to him. These were his people, his home who he had sworn to protect! Oliver didn’t have quite the same altruism. He was all for releasing the virus reasoning that it would be better to lose humanity along with the Viltrumites instead of risk them growing powerful again and challenging the universe. I think with dual relations like this where the characters are near identical it’s super important to highlight the differences in character because otherwise it’s just two copies of the same dude who have the literal same function.