Review: Spider-Man #2

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Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man, is the best example of what classic Spider-Man should be. Grounded in real-world dilemmas while still humbled by the other heroes of the world, he’s the boy trying to be a man that had been Peter Parker’s backbone for so many years.

Miles Morales, aka Spider-Man, continues to find his way through his new world. After stepping in to save The Avengers from the demon Blackheart last issue, he wins a little one-on-one time with his hero, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. As Blackheart continues to make fumbled attempts at world domination, Morales and Parker revisit the subject of a world containing two Spider-Mans, with young Morales desperately hoping to receive Parker’s approval.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis once again proves to be the voice of any Spider-Man. While breathing the innocence and fun that made Spider-Man so endearing into Morales, he also effectively distances Peter Parker from that same role. That’s not to say Peter Parker is less Spider-Man than before in this issue, only that Parker is now bordering on the unlikeable, showing up to chastise Morales about the financial consequences of his actions. Parker’s transformation into Tony Stark is complete and Miles Morales is in heart and spirit the Spider-Man we all fell in love with.

What’s best in this issue is Miles’ reaction to internet fanfare about a the new “black Spider-Man”. Rather than Marvel or Bendis being self-congratulatory about their racial and gender diversity in recent years, they allow Miles to make the excellent point that qualifying a person first by their race is not the point of equality. If you call Miles Morales the “black Spider-Man” or Sam Wilson the “black Captain America”, the entire point of appreciating someone for their inner-worth or contribution is missed. He also addresses racial simplification, another sign of people missing the point of diversity. Though Miles is half Hispanic, he is often labeled “black”. It was such an enriching moment for the character to distance himself from a self-congratulatory culture of faux-acceptance and remind readers that the point of his character should not be tokenism but rather demonstrate the potential of all people, regardless of their racial background.

Though this social commentary stands out strongly, Bendis is really returning to some of his glory days with this title. For a long time, the fact that he seemed to be writing half Marvel’s catalog on top of his other projects was diluting the quality of his work. The sharp dialogue that had always been his calling-card began to feel contrived and his stories began to fall more towards cliché. Whether as writer he’s returning to his former glory or simply rejuvenated by a character he is deeply connected with is unclear. Still, this book, in particular the cartoonish recollection of the previous conversation between Miles and Parker, offers great potential to give the reader the best Bendis has to offer.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Sara Pichelli
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

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