I'd meant to read this book when it started, but had got caught up on so much other stuff that it slipped by me. While at the Fantasy Shop this past week, I finally caved and bought the hardback compilation of the first six issues that came out a month ago or so. I loved it! If Josh or Scott are reading this, your reccomendation was not wrong- I'm hooked! Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man served as a continuation of Ultimate Spider-Man under the new "Ultimate Comics" imprint published by Marvel Comics, featuring re-imagined and updated versions of the company's superhero characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four.
Following the "Death of Spider-Man" story arc in which Peter Parker was killed, the launch of the title's third volume features middle school student Miles Morales taking over webslinging duties. Bitten by a slightly different strain of genetically engineered spider than that which granted Peter Parker his powers, Miles possesses abilities similar to the original Spider-Man's, but also has the ability to turn invisible, and possesses a "venom strike" that can render people unconscious with a touch. Pushed to pursue his destiny by best friend Ganke, the fearful, shy boy initially wants nothing to do with his new powers.
When all the children from Miles' school are gathered into the gymnasium during an emergency drill, the boy discovers the news that Spider-Man is locked in battle across town, and has Ganke cover for him while he sneaks off to investigate. Arriving on the scene to witness a victorious, but fatally injured Peter Parker die in Mary Jane's arms, Miles is filled with guilt that he had not pursued the webslinger sooner and been there to help. "Or maybe... Maybe this is what you were given your powers for," Ganke reasons, "Maybe you're supposed to be Spider-Man now that we don't have one anymore."
When Ganke produces an outfit from a past Halloween, Miles tries out his new abilities in the field, barely surviving a dangerous brawl with the Kangaroo. The public outcry over Parker' replacement embarrasses young Miles, and Spider-Woman is positively indignant over the poor taste in wearing the costume so soon after Peter's death. She brings him to Nick Fury at the Ultimates Headquarters, where Iron Man confirms his DNA has been altered in a similar way to Parker's. Fury reassures the frightened boy, but confirms the seriousness of the matter at hand just before an alarm goes off, signaling that Electro has escaped the on-site prisoner medical facility. As the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Iron Man, Hawkeye and others struggle along with Fury to contain the situation, Miles strikes from behind taking the villain by surprise. Electro is confused by the webslinger's appearance, like the ghost of retribution, who promptly zaps him with his venom strike before Fury fills him with lead!
The next day after school, Miles recounts the adventure to an enthralled Ganke, who proclaims his friend a superhero before the two are approached by a beautiful woman with a briefcase. Miles quickly realizes it's Spider-Woman, who very seriously let's the somber boy know this isn't a child's game, and that in giving him a new outfit, Fury is giving him one chance to be the new Spider-Man! As Gwen Stacy told Miles and Ganke outside the cathedral at Peter Parker's funeral, recounting why he beared the burden of a hero's life, "With great power comes great responsibility."
I was enthralled with this book, reading from cover to cover in one sitting, and immediately hitting the town afterward to scratch up any of the four issues that followed (#8 was the only issue I couldn't locate at short notice on Sunday night). As I said in my last post concerning the new Spider-Man outfit for the forthcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie, I enjoy a costume redesign and character re-imagining, and this book takes that to an extreme level. Sara Pichelli's art was stellar, as was Brian Bendis' fearless reboot of our beloved webhead. Bravo! I look forward to more adventures of Miles Morales as our frienfly neighborhoos Spider-Man!
More Later- Make It FUN!