Miles Morales stands before Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. The young man is very nervous, especially when they call him by his real name. The two explain they are here as a professional courtesy of sorts, explaining how Jessica was hired by Miles’ grandmother after his grades were slipping. Though Miles is super uncomfortable about all of this, Jessica is actually doing the young man a huge favour. She won’t tell Miles’ grandmother about his secret life as Spider-Man, but it should be noted how easily Jones was able to discover this fact. She didn’t even know to look for this, and found out about it in only two hours.
It’s all a bit much for Miles, who takes a moment to shout at the sky. The two older heroes are encouraging, saying they checked around. Sam Wilson vouched for Miles, saying that the young man seems destined to be one of the greats… but he has a long way to go. Jessica also explains how Miles’ mother Rio tried to help her son, which has impressed all three of the heroes. Miles then remembers the call from Tony and says he has to go, which surprises Luke who is a little hurt he wasn’t called in, too. Before he leaves, Cage has one last message. Spider-Man is a kid of colour now. That’s cool. That’s important. Don’t screw it up.
And with that, Miles takes off. He hitches a ride with Nova and meets up with a massive group of heroes. They are all informed about the vision concerning Bruce Banner and the deal that has been made between Carol and Tony. Things are still very tense between the two, making the younger heroes Ms. Marvel and Nova quite uncomfortable. Miles tries to calm them down. Nothings going to happen. Nothing at all…
An hour later, Bruce Banner lay dead before them. This is… crazy. As Tony rants at Carol, Miles catches the eye of Ulysses, the cause of all of this. Nova listens to Stark and thinks he’s coming around to Tony’s side. Miles is quick to agree. The ride home was quiet after this. Kamala isn’t taking this well, having never seen anything quite like it before. She starts to cry, while Nova and Spider-Man panic over what to do. Not sure what to say, Miles simply holds Kamala’s hand. Nova joins in.
Meanwhile, Tony laments. They just killed somebody over the idea of something maybe happening. Who knows who is next? And now Banner is dead. Steve Rogers calms his friend down. But Miles says he is right. Who is next?
Well, this was kind of a home run, at least for me. And I’m not just saying that to proof this against those who didn’t like it. It’s very much the sort of comic that I really like, but only because I’ve read enough of Bendis’ work, I’m familiar enough with Miles, the other characters here, and the details of Civil War II, and I happen to like pretty much the entire cast of characters in this piece. It’s subjective, as always, but one of those times where it’s really just, yes, this comic is for me, so of course, I like and recommend it.
It’s a nice blend of some great elements. First, we get a familiar trend of writers using characters from other works they’ve done showing up in a new story. Bendis does this a lot, but so do most prolific comic book writers. Hickman, Remender, Johns, Snyder, Morrison, it’s par for the course for all of them really. Now this is done for many, many reasons. Not only do writers obviously have a good handle on characters they’ve written before, but it avoids the risk on screwing up other writer’s stories, the writers usually have a preference for these characters for a good reason anyways, and it creates this fun atmosphere of continuity within continuity. So there’s a certain Bendis legacy within Marvel just as there’s a certain Snyder legacy in DC.
Here, that’s really pronounced when Miles gets to have a full on talk with Alias stars Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. And Bendis works his way around these three characters, two of which he created, the way you’d expect – expertly. That conversation alone is so well done, so interesting and so smart given the circumstances and how these three work through their collective problem, that it really is holds up the entire issue on the whole. I thought things were going to wrap there and I was totally satisfied. If the dialogue is entertaining and interesting, I have no problem with a comic entirely devoted to it, like this one is.
But… things keep going, and we get an even more solid material. Seeing some of the events around the… Banner incident was great. Not only does it inform the Civil War II story a bit, but it was really touching. That moment where the three youngest Avengers hold hands after this big trauma, that’s Bendis at his best. Brian Michael Bendis is a very interesting writer. I think the smaller the story he is given, the better a job he can do. He’s great at dialogue, has some of the best character work out of any comic book writer… ever, and can put together small scale action in a memorable way, but seems to struggle with larger events. Aside from the ongoing Civil War II, I don’t usually like his bigger events, but stuff that is a bit smaller in scale – Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, this – he nails this stuff with moments like these, little human moments that stick in your memory.
I don’t know what to say about it. It’s very simple yet so natural and human. Compared to everything that’s happened so far in Civil War II, this is by far the most grounded and moving thing I have seen. It feels like a really authentic moments for these heroes, given their age and what they just went through. I think a big part of why this is great is Nico Leon’s art. He nails every facial expression and even gives a fully costumed Miles lots of emotion through the lenses and a whole bunch of body language.
It’s a solid comic, through and through. When Bendis is at his best, which he really is here, his comics work, and they work well. If you aren’t, now is a good time to start reading this run of Spider-Man. Because you know what these moments of humanity, of questioning morals and finding your identity as a hero remind me of? That’s Spider-Man. And no offence to Dan Slott, well, some offence to Dan Slott, but I don’t get that feeling very often these days. Let me know what you guys think in the comments section below. Did you like it as much as I did? I’m not sure if anyone could like this as much as I did, so feel free to voice your complaints! Lord knows they should probably be somewhere on this page, I just refuse to see them.