Sunday, April 21, 2013

365 Comics...111: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 2 (2012)

Spider-Man generally doesn't interest me and I've never really figured out why. I've only read perhaps 2 dozen comics in which Spider-Man was the lead character over 30 years. I watched both the 60's Spider-Man cartoon and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as a kid but few if any of the cartoons from the 90's onward.  I saw all three of the Sam Raimi films as a dutiful comics geek but didn't care to own them on DVD (the first was a good gateway for superhero films to gain credibility with mass audiences, but I don't think it holds up all that well) and I still haven't seen The Amazing Spider-Man with no immediate plans to. 

To me the '60's cartoon is the ultimate representation of the character, as Peter Parker has always seemed a  product of his era of creation that never acceptably outgrew it... he's the Archie Andrews of superheroes... not that I'm really in the experienced position to judge.  I just don't connect with Peter and Spider-Man's powers and costume and rogues gallery (or "deadly foes") have never resonated with me.  The closest I ever cane to "getting" Spidey was when Static emerged in the early- mid 90's and everyone called him a modern Spider-Man, a Spider-Man for the '90's. I loved Static (DC's mishandling of the character is criminal), and I like Spider-Woman and Peter Porker:Spider-Ham... so derivatives seen to work or me...

And wouldn't you know it, but I'm loving Miles Morales as Spider-Man.  If Static was the Spider-Man for the 90's then Miles is the Spidey we need for the twenteens (is anyone calling this decade that?).  It's not about skin colour... okay it's not just about skin colour.  Diversity is important and it's so often done blatantly and terribly in comics that its good to see the character of Miles Morales is the focus of the series far more than being Spider-Man is though the two are dovetailing more and more as the series progresses. But Miles and his family take the focus to the point where sometimes the costume stuff seems to get in the way of the more interesting and entertaining aspect of the character.

This volume ratchets up the intrigue of Miles' uncle, the master criminal the Prowler, who figures out Miles is the new Spider-Man and seeks to train him to be a smarter, better fighter and more helpful hero.  But is he just using him?  It's probably more complicated than that.  Miles is desperate for a mentor... and videos of Peter just dont cut it. Meanwhile the weight of keeping secrets threatens to crush him and learning to juggle two lives its a logistical nightmare. 

That Miles is only 13 is something Bendis is right to keep in the audience's mind since Miles is so small the danger level for him is that much higher.  Chris Samnee and Sarah Pichelli both have differing styles but are equally suitable to the exaggerated action of Spider-Man and the not-so-quieter drama of Miles' life.

1 comment:

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