Morales Morales wasn’t always in the 616 Marvel universe, but after some multiverse tomfoolery and a heck of a lot of popularity for the character he joined up. Who better to start that adventure than his co-creator Brian Michael Bendis? Armed with Sara Pichelli who has the sharpest pencils in the business, the two set out to normalize Miles into the universe we know and love.
It’s almost hard to believe Miles Morales has integrated into the 616 just over six years ago during the “All-New All-Different” era of Marvel. As Chris Hassan put it with the first issue review, “‘All-New, All-Classic’ would better describe Spider-Man #1.” The first issue recaps how everyone in Miles’ life, from his mom to his teachers is disappointed in him. That’s because he’s a superhero when needed and schoolwork, or other parts of his life, waver. It’s classic Peter Parker Spider-Man stuff and a nice way to remind us Miles Morales lives a similar life.
There are a few staples of this collection that collect Miles Morales #1-11 that carry through the story arc. That doesn’t count Miles trying to be a normal teenager, which is impossible at every turn. One involves Black Cat and her rise in the criminal underground. It’s a plot that ends up mattering quite a bit in future Amazing Spider-Man stories. There’s also the inclusion of Goldballs, another character Bendis co-created. His integration ends up feeling like a means to make Goldballs matter more than anything else, but he does supply a unique teen hero element. That includes a heavy dose of Hammerhead.
The art in this book is nothing short of excellent, split between Pichelli and Nico Leon in issues #6-10. Environments and vehicles are hyper-realistic. Character acting is some of the best you’ll ever see. That’s important because most of this collection is characters talking without costumes on. The art team keeps things interesting, but you might also wish for more superhero action. That really isn’t Bendis’s bag for most of the book, but if you’re even slightly familiar with his work you probably already knew that. There are plenty of cameos and those characters look good too. From Sam Wilson to Luke Cage, it’s a sharp-looking book. Miles has tons of spring in his step and Pichelli is a master at capturing that kinetic energy bound up in webs or Miles’s muscles.
This story also treads some big moments, like the death of Hulk, Civil War II, and the foreshadowing that Miles would kill Captain America. Reading this collection today, it’s fair to say Marvel meant integrating the Miles Morales series in a big way.
This was an interesting time for Miles Morales that is almost hard to remember due to the character before being so thoroughly integrated into the Marvel universe. At the time, shifting this character from the Ultimate Universe to the main one was risky and hard to swallow, but due to the work done here and how well it integrates Miles Morales into the universe, it paid off.
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