April 7, 2020

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Turning Spider-Man Into Spider-Men


Spider-Men
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Colors by Justin Ponsor
Letter by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics

It’s fairly well established that I gush over everything Spidey, and rarely do I make room for exceptions. As a child, I lost many afternoons daydreaming myself as the wall-crawler with all the best one-liners. He was awkward, sarcastic and an outcast (all of which I found easy access for relation), and very accessible as a childhood hero. This childlike infatuation followed me into my adolescent years while certain relatives insisted on gifting me Spider-Man toys instead of the typical gift a normal 20-something would get.

Fast-forward. I grow up, made a few mistakes, started a career, and had a family. So as did Peter (to a certain extent), and then, along came another spider: Miles Morales, a new Spider-Man to represent a new generation. This new version of a character I had grown up with came out of nowhere and caught everyone by surprise. A much-welcomed surprise, no less. I don’t think anyone saw this little hero coming, but why would we have because Earth-616 isn't able to see Earth-1610 with ease (confused? Read a comic). Thirteen-year-old Miles became the hero we never knew we needed, but here we are with a new perspective on an old idea to excite a new generation of kids as they bear witness to the Spider-Man wearing the cooler costume.




Miles Morales was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli in 2011 during the Ultimate Fallout series, and with the recent rise in popularity surrounding the character, there has become an overabundance of stories to consume. All of these stories are well received in their own right, but one that happens to be near and dear to my nostalgic heart is the one where the Peter from our Earth and the Miles from the other Earth meet and share pages and panels for the first time. This all takes place in the Spider-Men series written by Bendis and illustrated by Sara Pichelli. Everything you’d ever want from classic Parker mirrored with the Miles quip we’d all come to love makes this story heartfelt and tons of thwipping fun.

Here in this story, Bendis writes Mysterio as the main villain in an oft-avoided muted tone so that the main intent of the story is not lost in all it's...mysticism. His villainous act in this story is massive but simple with one very large trick up his sleeve (errr... helmet?). His intent is to get revenge on Spider-Man after all the times he'd spoiled the plans in his past. As simple as that premise seems, it roots a foundation perfectly to open a passageway for a team-up once unthinkable that ultimately leads to not only the passing of a torch but one of the most touching moments in comics I've ever read when Miles finally receives the blessing he thought he'd never get.

There are some pretty amazing visuals in this book too. Seeing Spider-Man swing over a New York cityscape alongside a new Spider-Man is something everyone needs to see. There is something specifically breathtaking seeing that when it is done right, and man-oh-man does Pichelli do it right. It took me a few moments to take my eyes off of what she did with the characters and how she made them look so three dimensional. I mean, the texture given to Miles’ mask was enough for me to pay extra close attention to the details given with her illustrations. The colors, the expressions given characters with only a set of spider eyes to do it, all play a role in a large part for the lasting success of this story.

There is no surprise as to why this is often cited as a new classic. This story will be one that's revisited often for years to come. For the little kid in your life, for the little one in your heart, find a way to pick up a copy of this book. Once you do then you will never NOT want to see these two doing periodic dimensional crossovers, and thanks to the Ultimate End series we don't have to wait for such seismic circumstance.