Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NB of the Week


Ultimate Spider-Man #22
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by Sara Pichelli

On a week that had 3 Avengers books, one Remender and two Hickman, Bendis wins out for the same reason most people complain about him: the spot-on character writing. Bendis has a tendency to write a lot of speaking and little story in his arcs, a tendency that makes people complain that his seven or eight issue series (like Secret Invasion) could easily be told in three or four issues. While this is true, his writing helps support his usage in that every issue is great and you tend to not notice it until after it's all said and done and you have a clear picture and even then, readers like myself can see that though it may seem long, it's all done for a reason. Enter Ultimate Spider-Man #22.
After the death of Peter Parker, Miles Morales found himself in a very similar setting: his uncle stole a lab experiment spider that bit Miles and gave him powers like Peter. Over the years, we have come to know this kid and most have come to accept him as worthy of the mantle. But through all his work, Miles hasn't had the one thing that motivated Peter: the death of a loved one and subsequent guilt from feeling responsible. Over this current story, a version of Venom has been hunting Spider-Man and still unknown reasons. Believing Miles' father to be Spidey, he attacks him. After being taken to the hospital, Venom comes looking again only to find Spider-Man trying to stop him. Realizing that it had the wrong person, a fight ensues with Miles' mother finding her son is Spider-Man and trying to stop it. "Swallowing" both Niles and his mother, something goes wrong and the symbiote falls apart, leaving Miles and his mother a a third, naked dude. The police bust in and begin shooting the naked guy and Miles grabs his mother out of the way. As Miles looks down, he sees blood across his mother's chest and begins yelling for a doctor before his mother tries to speak,
"Look at you. Look what you can do. Baby, don't ever let him know. Don't ever let your father--"
And with that, Miles holds the lifeless body of his mother as his friends enter just in time to see the horror. At the end of the issue, Miles wakes up in bed only to find his friend Ganke and Ganke's mother waiting for him. Realizing nothing was a dream, he runs back to him room, grabs his costume, begins ripping it up and claims "no more" over and over.
Bendis may like to progress with words over story but his words are so real and familiar that I savor each one. The death of his mother was heartbreaking. Over the last two years, you have got to know this family and you can feel the pain and anger with her demise. The next issue jumps forward a year in the story and Miles apparently was joking when he said "no more". I can't wait to see where Bendis takes this and I can't wait to see how Miles deals with his own Uncle Ben situation. Talk all you want, Mr. Bendis. You have my attention.

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