Marvel Comics’ latest Spider-Man series chronicle’s the former Ultimate Universe Spider-Man, Miles Morales, as he adjusts to life in the mainstream Marvel Universe. The fifth issue of the series, courtesy of Miles’ creators writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, follows up on the end of the last issue where Miles was beaten and abducted by Hammerhead and Black Cat.
The issue begins with Ganke and their new friend — the former X-Man known as Goldballs — discussing Miles’ anger with the former over talking the latter his secret. Their conversation comes to an end, however, when they stumble across internet footage of Spider-Man’s abduction. The story shifts to Miles captivity, which finds the hero tied to a chair unconscious, as Hammerhead and Black Cat discuss their surprise at his youth.
After Miles wakes up, he’s able to escape his binding and incapacitate Hammerhead and his henchmen. However, Black Cat is able to escape after warning him to stay out of her affairs. Later Miles is able to settle his differences with Ganke, seemingly ending the issue on a happy note. However, unbeknownst to any of them, they’re being watched by private investigator Jessica Jones.
Predictably the strongest part of Spider-Man #5 from a writing standpoint is the characterization work done by Bendis. He gives distinct and specific voices to Miles and Ganke that allows the conflict between the two to read very realistically. This, in turn, elevates what on paper sounds like a humdrum and predictable plot into a very entertaining read. This shouldn’t be surprising since Bendis created the characters and has been the only writer to consistency write them over since their introduction. Speaking of Bendis created characters, Jessica Jones’ involvement in the story definitely piqued my interest for future issues of the series going forward.
Sara Pichelli, along with longtime collaborator Justin Ponser, turn in beautiful art. For my money, there are very few artists in comics today who capture the human at the breaking point of physics way Spider-Man should move the way Pichelli does. There’s no greater example in this book than the sequence where Miles escapes from captivity. I also really enjoyed the artist’s take on Black Cat, particularly the costume design.
SPIDER-MAN #5 is a definite must-read for fans of Miles Morales and his supporting cast. Brian Michael Bendis brings his a-game to the characters, using them to elevate the material. Combined with Pichelli’s artwork, it makes for a truly enjoyable comic.