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Spider-Man Issue #2 deepens the character of Miles Morales, and brings back Peter Parker to meet with the new Spider-Man. ComiConverse Contributor, Sammy Rendon has a complete review.
Miles Morales has swung into the Marvel Universe after The Secret Wars and became a full-time resident of New York as Spider-Man. Since then, Spider-Man has become a member of The Avengers and stepped out of the shadow of Peter Parker.
Spider-Man has defeated Blackheart, or at least ran him out of this dimension. After he leaves, Spider-Man stands in the wreck and destruction of the battle between The Avengers and Blackheart. Who then shows up? Peter Parker! And he immediately questions Miles “what did you do?” Parker raises difficult questions for Morales such as: What happens when there is massive destruction that must be accounted for? Who takes the blame for that destruction?
Peter questions Miles and doubts his own judgment in letting Miles become Spider-Man. Will Peter Parker always question Miles every time something goes wrong? If he does, Peter is reacting to Miles the same way the city of New York reacted to him when he was active in the city. This issue is a very good follow-up to the premiere and allows new readers to catch up withe the plot and characters while keeping seasoned readers engaged with new ideas.
As excited as I was for the premiere of this run, the ending of issue #1 when Peter shows up concerned me. I wanted Miles to have the first issue of his series all to himself. Issue #2 has shut my mouth completely, exploring ideas that I never thought they would touch on.
Peter does question himself and his decision of allowing Miles to become Spider-Man. Usually Peter takes the blame and carries guilt for anyone who wears the name “Spider-Man.” While Peter and Miles are speaking, Blackheart returns and Miles saves Peter. Miles displays his ability to camouflage with his environment, which allows him to be invisible long enough to strike Blackheart with Venom Blast. A very clever way that writer Brian Micheal Bendis shows Miles’ abilities, rather than telling. Spider-Man defeats Blackheart and The Avengers wake in time to congratulate Miles on his first major victory. Peter Parker then calls up Doctor Strange and ask’s him to “banish Blackheart back to where he came.”
*If your curious as to how this demon as well as other mythical elements have been running free in the Marvel universe, click here.
Miles is starstruck by being in the presence of Peter Parker. He is also very grossed out by the idea that a demon touched him. These two character elements are a display of how Miles is inexperienced, and still new to the idea of being a hero. He is reacting first as a human, then filters that through his new identity of Spider-Man. I am glad the writing shows that Miles is a human first, and a hero second, at least at this point. Although that order of reaction and responsibility will definitely be challenged, hopefully by a new villain tailored to Miles human sympathies.
Now, not to steer too far away from issue #2, but I have to acknowledge one of the great subjects Spider-Man explores: race. Miles Morales’ race to be exact. During Spider-Man’s fight with Blackheart, Miles’ suit gets torn, and a vlogger records the whole thing. She then investigates the video footage and notices that Spider-Man’s skin is brown. She is very excited at this idea “we have a black Spider-Man!” Marvel has introduced a latino/black Spider-Man, a female Thor, Iceman being gay, and Ms. Marvel being Muslim. Yes, Marvel has adjusted to the modern world, and the increased diversity is great to see and read. As great as this is though, Miles’ reaction is as follows; “I don’t want to be the ‘black’ Spider-Man, I just want to be Spider-Man.”
If you read my review on Spider-Man issue #1, you notice that I don’t make one reference towards Morales’ race, nor the fact that there is now a “black” Spider-Man. I did this consciously because as big of a deal it is to have more diversity in comic books, Miles Morales is a great character first.
The reasonI did not mention his race is that if we overreact to there being a hero of color, it will make that a special event, rather than the way that comics should be. You should not be reading this title simply because Miles is black/latino, but because his story is intriguing enough to hold your attention. Miles has a great storyline and he is a great character. Plus his outfit is way cooler looking than Peter’s!
If you do take a step back and look at the big picture, we should also consider celebrating the diversity that Marvel brings. The way the vlogger reacted is how a lot of people reacted, Miles Morales’ premiere in the cartoon Ultimate Spider-Man had the highest rating ever for that entire series. It has been a long time coming for there to be better representation in the world of comic books. There are still some places where diversity is not embraced, but no one can say it is not being embraced by comics. As a latino man I feel very proud I could show my two sons who are seven and four that Spider-Man looks like them, the same way that mothers can show there daughters Rey from Star Wars, or storm from X-Men. My opinion might sound scattered, but when it comes to diversity in cultural representation, it is always very complicated with a long history that must be acknowledged.
We are living in different times where the need for race and gender diversity is being acknowledged where it was not before. Miles, the character, may be too young to realize why some react they way they do, but I understand his reaction. I can see why he doesn’t want to be known as “black” Spider-Man. Brian Micheal Bendis is doing an amazing job writing for this character and getting into his mind.
Back to the comic book: The issue ends with Miles returning to his best friend, Gank. Their friendship is a great way for Spider-Man to stay grounded. Gank bombards Miles with questions about his time with The Avengers.
We then see what New York reporters think during a broadcast that gets overshadowed by Black Cat being shown on panel at the same time one of the reporters on the news states, “What if this new Spider-Man gives an old Spider-Man villain some new ideas and second wind?”
After showering, Miles heads home and runs into his father who gives his son a fair warning. Awaiting him is a disappointed and angry grandmother from his Puerto Rican mother’s side of the family. Miles’ grandmother stands with her arms crossed and refers to herself in third person saying, “She’s here to straighten you out Jovensito!” Joven means young man. But when you add –sito to the end of joven…well that means your in some big trouble. This is likely a nod to The Amazing Spider-Man’s famous Mary Jane quote, “Face it tigre, your about to get a big ol’ kick in the culo (ass).” This, however, is the greatest cliffhanger Spider-Man will ever see, an angry grandmother.
A great follow up to the premiere issue with very subtle character development and ideas that challenge society’s perception. All while staying on track to the Spider-Man storyline, Its strikes the perfect balance fans look for in a Spider-Man book.