A Different Kind of Creepy Uncle – An Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Vol. 2 Review
TITLE: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Vol. 2
AUTHOR: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILLERS: Chris Samnee, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez
COLLECTS: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #6-10
RELEASED: June 20, 2012
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Vol. 2 continues young Miles Morales’ journey toward becoming the new webslinger. While the story remains solid and compelling, a revolving team of artists significantly hurts the book’s visual flow.
As Miles starts growing accustomed to his new responsibilities as a superhero, his Uncle Aaron, who is also the notorious thief called the Prowler, re-enters his life. Though he’s been warned by his father (who is unaware of his new spider powers) not to trust his uncle, Miles cautiously finds himself being mentored by his less than angelic uncle. Things only get more complicated when Miles gets dragged into the Prowler’s feud with a terrifying Mexican gangster called Scorpion.
What this book longs for more than anything is Sara Pichelli. One of the first things we see in this book is Miles Morales swinging through New York City in his black Spider-Man suit for the first time. That’s a huge payoff moment from the last book, which was pencilled entirely by Pichelli. But when we open this book, Chris Samnee is at the pencil. Samnee is a fine artist in his own right, but considering we’re still in Miles’ origin story, it feels especially awkward to suddenly switch pencillers, particularly when their styles are as different as Pichelli and Samnee’s. Pichelli only handles one issue in this book, and it’s sandwiched between two by Samnee and two by David Marquez. Thankfully, Marquez’s style is so similar to Pichelli’s that some of that awkwardness dissipates by the end of the book.
Still, we never stop missing Pichelli. I was hoping she’d get a lengthy run on the book, and really define the look of Miles and his supporting cast before bowing out, much like Mark Bagley did for the original Ultimate Spider-Man title. Granted, Pichelli did just pencil Spider-Men, a miniseries which saw Peter Parker and Miles Morales meet. But taking her away from the stories that are essentially laying the foundation for this new character seems wrong. With any luck she’ll be back on this title soon.
Brian Michael Bendis continues to write Miles’ origin so that it contains echoes of Peter Parker’s. In Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original story, Peter Parker became enthralled with fame and fortune to the point of being apathetic toward the criminal who would eventually murder his uncle. In essence, he succumbed to the temptations of evil, and paid the price for his mistakes before setting out on the path of the hero. Miles has a similar temptation in his life with his Uncle Aaron. But even as he echoes Peter’s origin story, Bendis shows us how different Miles is from Peter. Miles seems to be well aware that the Prowler isn’t a good person. He follows his uncle’s lead because he cares about him, along with a decent amount of youthful naivety. Miles doesn’t fall headfirst into the traps of evil the way Peter did.
Though the book isn’t quite as fun to read because of what happens with the artists, Bendis’ story continues break new ground, while staying true to the Spider-Man legacy. At the end of the day, that’s a heck of an accomplishment.
For more Ultimate Spider-Man, check out The World According to Peter Parker, Chameleon and Prelude to the Death of Spider-Man.
Front page image from i09.com. Image 1 from spidermanreviews.com. Image 2 from tumblr.com.