Review: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4

By | November 11th, 2011
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Sara Pichelli

In Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4, get your first look at Miles as he learns the hard way that being a super hero is a lot harder than it looks. What is the secret behind his new powers and how will he master them? No fan can miss Miles Morales hitting the streets of the Ultimate Comics Universe for the first time in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4!

The great Miles Morales adventure has been ongoing for four issues now. Am I loving what’s going on here, or am I growing increasingly nostalgic for the Peter Parker days?

Find out after the jump.

When Marvel first announced the Ultimate universe books, it seemed like an opportunity for them to introduce new characters as well. What we ended up getting were new – and often great – takes on characters that we already knew and loved, which was fantastic as well. Especially in the case of Bendis’ Peter Parker, who ended up being the Peter Parker we all knew and loved but with a fresh and exciting spin on him.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and we’re finally getting a new Spider-Man for this new universe, and one in the hands of Bendis once again. Miles Morales is a Spider-Man for a new era, for a new universe, and for a group I can only assume includes all readers. And by that, I mean all comic fans who enjoy good comics, because I feel comfortable in saying that this is the best thing Bendis is doing right now and it continues on the legacy of the Spider-Man character while also pushing him off into new directions.

This issue does an excellent job of making Miles realize that there is a lot more to being Spider-Man than just jumping around rooftops and having a good time doing it, as Bendis exquisitely frames Miles’ learning period against the tragic death of Peter. I would say the most ingenious thing that Bendis does here is his passing on of the core phrase of the character – with great power comes great responsibility – via Gwen Stacy as Miles looks on at the broken Parker family at the funeral.

It’s a well done sequence, and the emotions of their loss crackles on the page as Miles starts to grasp what it really means to be a hero. There are a lot of beautifully emotive moments in this issue, as well as a lot of straight up good times (Bendis deserves some sort of special Eisner for the way he introduces internal monologue to Miles and then quickly makes him question it). This is a fun – but powerful – book, and it captures all of what was great about the first volume of this book very well.

Artist Sara Pichelli worked in the last volume as well, but I swear, her art becomes better and better with each passing issue. The mannerisms and facial expressions she layers upon the characters make the more emotive scenes resonate all the more, while she really can make the web slinging moments pop with a palpable sense of joy. Bendis asks her to do a lot with this script, as it really goes through quite a range of scene varieties with a lot of characters popping up, but she handles them all with equal aplomb.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is a book that has had a proud legacy for its entire existence, and I can say that since Miles Morales became the lead of this book, it hasn’t missed a beat. It’s an impressive and fun book that has firmly entrenched itself as one of the first books I read every time it comes out, which is a sure sign of it being a book I love as much as ever.

Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy

David Harper

David Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).