Miles Morales shook the comic book world a few weeks ago when it was announced he was going to be the new Ultimate Spider-Man. The first issue has arrived on stands, and we get our first look at the new kid on the block.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Cover: Kaare Andrews
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99
Note: This review is based on the digital comic edition available via the comiXology app, and read on the iPad.

Previously in Ultimate (Comics) Spider-Man: Peter Parker was just an ordinary kid with above average intelligence who got bit by a spider, and thus became the web-slinging, all-crawling Hero for the Common Man – SPIDER-MAN!

Then he died…


Have you seen the documentary called Waiting for Superman? Brian Michael Bendis seems to, and he wants to make sure you know about the struggle families have while trying to get their kids into charter schools via lottery. While the documentary is engaging and does bring out the emotion, what Bendis does in the few pages devoted to Miles Morales getting into Brooklyn Visions Academy is intense. While you know the eventual outcome (he gets in), that hold your breath moment is drawn out to the point the reader will celebrate the grand announcement.

Of course the bigger problem for the Morales family isn’t Miles getting into a quality school, but the possibility that they may not be able to afford it in the long term. Again, the way Bendis delivers this information isn’t the smack in your face exposition you’ll see in some books, it’s more underhanded than that. When young Miles visits his uncle to share the news, readers learn all is not well between Uncle Aaron and Miles’ father. Uncle Aaron is more than happy to lend a few dollars should the need arise, but the reason good ol’ dad doesn’t want anything to do with his brother is because Uncle Aaron is a thief, and likes to bring his work home with him.

One of the places Uncle Aaron recently burgled was one of Norman Osborn’s abandoned labs where the super solider spider research was going on. While lifting a valuable bauble, one of the escaped spiders makes its way into Aaron’s bag, and when Miles arrives at his apartment to share the good news, the spider crawls out and bites the boy on the hand.

If Norman Osborn knew that a spider bit Peter Parker and turned him into Spider-Man, why did he inject himself with the Oz formula instead of letting a spider bite him, too? Norman doesn’t seem to be that smart after all…

Like the last kid who got to play Spider-Man for real, Miles also passes out, which freaks out the uncle, who in turn calls the father, who shows up, and the two brothers shout it out. It’s a verbally loud exchange and causes Miles to flee. When daddy goes after him, he walks right by Miles hiding in the shadows of the stoop. Miles wonders why dad didn’t see him until he realizes that when he is in the shadows, he’s invisible. NEW SPIDER-MAN POWERS ACTIVATE!


The art in this book is incredible. Sara Pichelli does a masterful job in staging the action and drawing out the moments with panels that simply draw you in. I read this issue day and date on the iPad, and though I tend to avoid guided view like the plague, the multiple double issue spreads forced me into G.V. mode. The experience reading this issue in guided view heightens the tension and drama Bendis serves up, but it also highlights how great Pichelli’s art is because you’re able to really zoom in on a single panel.

It’s jaw dropping.

And even better than Pichelli’s pencil work, is the coloring by Justin Ponsor. I love how he combines traditional coloring techniques with old school Zip-A-Tone/screentone patterns used in the backgrounds and in the highlight areas of the panel. It’s different and refreshing and brings an extra bit of energy to the page.


Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 is yet another number one you should pick up this week. The art is brilliant, and Bendis does a fine job of once again combing the appropriate amount of schmaltz and interesting character dialogue to create characters that seem alive on the page. This seems fresh, this seems new, and… I liked it! Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is a great read, and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Jim Perry
    September 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm — Reply

    I just can’t bring myself to pick it up. It isn’t a Spider-man title without Peter Parker.

    I got the entire run of Ultimate Spider-Man run, up till this. I’m going to pass. If it continues to be phenomenal, I can always pick it up in a collected set.

  2. deruku
    September 16, 2011 at 12:46 am — Reply

    I feel the same, its not spider man without peter parker, is just some dude in a tight suit

  3. Trick502
    September 16, 2011 at 1:18 am — Reply

    I respectfully disagree. When bucky took on cap’s mantle as Rhodey to Tony Starks, as Dick Grayson to Bruce Wayne etc etc , the idea was to bring something new to the table. Ofcourse its not spider-man without Peter Parker, but what else you gonna call a man with spider powers? This is actually my star point for the ultimate spiderman serires because its even more different from the original continuity. The only thing that stays the same in this universe we live in… that things will change.(However, I do recognize change isn’t always good)

    • Seneca
      September 16, 2011 at 9:18 am — Reply

      I think change is good but the problem is that -people- don’t like change. It naturally makes us grumpy and unwilling to accept anything outside of the norm.

      • websnap
        September 16, 2011 at 10:22 am — Reply

        Well, it’s healthy for people to learn to accept change… so consider it a public service.

  4. September 16, 2011 at 9:41 am — Reply

    I’m genuinely curious why it isn’t Spider-man without Parker. I mean, the “real” Peter Parker is still in 616, so this was never the Parker most people knew anyway. How’s this different?

    • websnap
      September 16, 2011 at 10:21 am — Reply

      Agreed. Loved this book, the pacing, art, dialogue… even the powers set looks different, all these things hooked me.

      So it’s not Peter, so what… it’s not like he isn’t around in every second comic marvel puts out. Plus, what Slott and Ramos are doing in Amazing with Peter is awesome and different and evolved, it’s a great time to be a Spiderman fan. Hating on this is just… selfish. What you like and what you want has been done to death (literally… ba-dum-tish!!). You have back catalogues that span years. For us fans who have never though something different could be possible, now have something to get behind. The BALLS to put a minority character in the shoes of one of the most recognizable fictional roles… I’m a DC guy but Marvel just got two on my monthly pull list. Never thought THAT would happen.

  5. justanothergeek
    September 16, 2011 at 11:55 am — Reply

    When I read the last page a said out loud “NOO, DAMN YOU DECOMPRESSION”, but what was expecting it’s Bendis writing Ultimate Spider-Man origin story (Duh!), but that just show how good the story is, I was just so enthralled by it that I forgot what I should be expecting, I just wanted to keep on reading. Ultimate Spider-Man still on the pull list.

  6. September 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    I have to say I wasn’t thrilled about picking this up. I have however enjoyed ALL of the Ultimate Marvel universe so far. (So yea I have that going against me.)

    When I did read it though I was pleasently surprised. I really thought there would finally be an Ultimate title that I was going to stop reading. Turns out I was wrong. If they keep up this level of writing and art… well I’m just blown away on the setup they’ve done so far.

  7. Brad
    September 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm — Reply

    My rant is that there’s not enough different warrant such a major change. Miles is a moral kid (he feels bad about getting into the charter school) just like Peter. How does he get his powers? He’s…um…bit by another spider. Not very inspired. How many spiders are there and how many Spider-men can Osborn create? Is Ultimate Spider Island close?

    The pacing also bothered me. Miles passes out for a couple minutes, wakes up fine and BOOM a spider blending power (which he handles a little too well). I dunno. The whole thing felt thin to me.

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