So, it finally happened.
Spider-Man #1. Miles Morales is the lead.
This isn’t the Ultimate Universe. It’s not Miles Morales’s Spider-Man. It’s just Spider-Man. And Miles Morales is the lead.
There was little doubt in my mind I was going to enjoy this. In the same vein that if I see J.J. Abrams or Jonathan Nolan on a credit list, I’m going in all smiles and high expectations. On this one you had Brian Michael Bendis who’s one of my favorite dudes going (next to folks like Rick Remender and Brian K. Vaughan), and you’ve got Sara Pichelli who did work on Guardians of the Galaxy, Ultimate Spider-Man and Runaways. I don’t pay much attention to colorist but in my constant desire to appreciate these guys more, I’m totally gonna keep the name Justin Ponsor in mind because he’s great here too.
Spider-Man #1 basically lays out all the foundation (ALL OF IT) for the future. We get a glimpse at the troubles Miles Morales faces as a high school superhero in 2015/16. A troubled love life (he’s too busy saving New York to get to his dates on time). Sinking grades (more of that saving people thing, though I wish I had that excuse). Disappointing the people he perhaps respects like his parents and his teacher (oh, time to save the city some more).
For newcomers, it’s also an easy intro into his life. You get a good measure of who he is (which is pretty much just an ordinary black male teenager) and then you learn about the surrounding cast. His friend Ganke who knows about his superhero life which is great for so many reasons I don’t need to explain (just look at the myriad of millions of ‘let me keep my secret from my best friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/*friend). His father also knows his secret but his mother’s been left in the dark. I sort of wish his mother would also know, seems silly to have his father know it and not his mother know it though I wager that if his mother’s anything like mine (which she seems), she’d be completely against the idea of teenage superheroics… or superheroics period. And my dad would probably be cool with it. Okay, maybe I sort of understand it.
We also get a glimpse at his… uh… professional life? Blackheart, son of Mephisto, terrorizes New York and easily gets through most of the Avengers until Spider-Man comes along. Aside from standard awesome Spider-Man banter, the biggest moment was definitely Spider-Man picking up downed Captain America’s shield and getting that perched atop a mini-cliff moment. It’s pretty marvelous. I need to get a poster of that. Despite Spider-Man’s pleas for a monologue so we can know why he’s demanding people bow down to him, we don’t get one, only the solemn knowledge that he’ll be back.
It ends with the final shot of Techno-Spidey popping up and asking him how he beat (or at least did away with) Blackheart. Perfect timing.
Look, this is an awesome issue and series on so many fronts. A black Mexican (insert Archer picture, please tell me one of you guys gets the reference – oh and he’s actually Puerto Rican/African/American but black Mexican worked with the reference) is the lead for one of, if not the, biggest Marvel superhero. It looks like its going to have a diverse cast (it could probably use a non-mother Morales female lead) and has already the building blocks for it between Miles, Ganke and Miles’s parents. I can only hope this means that we’re not far from getting Miles Morales a principal role on an animated show/movie (with Donald Glover returning his voice acting role because he’s awesome) and gosh, dare I say it, maybe one day we’ll get him on the big screen (alas I’ll probably be at least 30 by the time that happens).
Aside from this being an awesome series on the diversity front… it’s just a plain awesome series, period. If you like Spider-Man this is more of everything you like about Spider-Man. This is what had me reading the entire Ultimate Spider-Man series after it had come out. It’s more of what first got me into comic books. And I really hope we get something even 1/6th as long as the Amazing Spider-Man out of Miles Morales.