Review: Spider-Men II #1

Who is Miles Morales? It’s the big tease of Spider-Men II. And while the answer is obviously Miles Morales, there is a different answer to the question as well. Who is the Miles Morales from the same Earth as Peter Parker?

There’s more than one cheat in the answer. At the title page, Peter Parker googles (or more precisely Gùggles) it and clearly doesn’t like what he has found. Which leads to the obvious question, hasn’t Miles ever gùggled his own name?

While it is clear that the answer is bad news, the real question is how does that affect the relationship between the two Spider-Men of the unified universe? That is really a remembrance from the first Spider-Men team-up several years ago when they fought a dimension hopping Mysterio.

Brian Michael Bendis plays around with time in the books in a rather conventional way. He opens with both Spider-Men unmasked and tied up over the burning wreckage of a private plane as a second plane prepares to escape. Morales frees them and goes after the plane, missing a critical shot. Peter blames him for letting the mysterious bad guys go. Then we jump a week back in time to see how this egg got scrambled and what brought the Spider-Men together.

While dramatic, the opening taking place in the future and then back tracking to the start of the story is getting done a lot lately and is begging to be retired for a while. Luckily Bendis’ (House of M, Daredevil, Alias) plotting for the rest of the book is strong and while it highlights the difference between Peter and Miles now, it does draw a strong parallel to the way Peter acted in high school.

My favorite thing about this book is that Bendis decided not to drag the reveal of this universe’s Miles. We get to meet him briefly in a tantalizing close.

I have to say how much I appreciate the artwork in this book. Art in Marvel’s titles has been very uneven lately but Sarah Pichelli (Runaways, Externals, Spider-Man) is spot on throughout this issue. She is great with expressions when Miles and Peter are out of their masks, but does equally well when the characters are in their face masks and we depend on their body language for the emotional core. She handles both the quieter moments of a high-schooler’s life and the battle with a giant man dressed as extremely angry and annoyed armadillo especially well.

So now that Mile’s romantic interest Barbara knows that the wild school rumors of Miles’ running an underground casino, selling mutant growth hormone and /or being a 21 Jump Street cop are all fake will she figure out what he really does when he sneaks out of the dorm? Will Pete convince Miles to hang up the tights forever? Will Miles and Miles team-up?

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sarah Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

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