Miles is a character who I’ve given a lot of grief in the comics. Mainly because he comes across as a little overconfident, but not in a fun Kirito kind of way. It’s hard to differentiate, but there are many characters who act overconfident, but simply can’t pull it off as well as others. Maybe it’s because Miles also tries to act inexperienced and gets upset constantly at the drop of a hat. He’s too all over the place. That’s not the case here…but is that a good thing or have we traded personalities for another negative one? All that and more in the review!
It’s been a year since Miles gave up the Spider Man mantle. His mother was destroyed by a stray bullet and his dad was injured so Miles just figured that it wasn’t worth it to being a hero. A lot of other characters have gone through this decision in the past and it’s always wince worthy, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not a Miles specific issue. That being said, the issue is presented in different ways based on who the character is and the situation. Here, everyone is telling Miles to get back on the horse. Whether they do it through blackmail (practically) or peer pressure, they eventually force him to get the costume back on.
Two new vigilantes have appeared by the names of Cloak and Dagger. They are hunting a meta human who has explosive abilities. SHIELD isn’t looking into the matter since this relates to an evil partner of theirs, Roxxon. This is why Jessica Drew needs Spider Man back in action to help her take this group of scientists down. The scientists aren’t purely academic geniuses, but they can also fight when necessary. The final pair or issues is where the bulk of the action is in this volume and the fights are pretty good.
I enjoy the art for this series for the most part. I feel like the humans can look a little odd at times. It’s like they’re always pouting. That all goes away once the action scenes start though. The art really looks vibrant during the meta battles like when Cloak and Dagger first appear. The final group fight against the scientists was also well done and Taskmaster’s bout was a nice hand to hand fight. It’s why I’m always open for a good comic book fight after a long period of dialogue. Dialogue is good as well of course and the first half is still solid, but I was certainly pleased with the ending.
I was actually worried a little that the heroes would lost to the scientists, which would kick off the next arc, but luckily that didn’t happen. The villains were decently tough with one of them even looking like the ultimate Sinister, but Spiderman’s group has this. I don’t care for Cloak, but his powers do make him decently OP. (Overpowered) Spiderman’s venom shock still proves to come in handy in just about every fight and it’s a power that would really aid the original as well. It’s a great ability for escaping from a tough situation or for launching a quick attack.
This is Cloak and Dagger’s debut so it was interesting to see them. They both seemed like decently likable character before the switch. After that…I can’t say that they looked too good. Cloak went from being a respectable fellow who seemed like a very nice guy to someone who didn’t really care if he destroyed someone. He casually puts people into his cloak even though he knows that they could blow up or be seriously injured. Dagger seems more grounded in that respect as she wants vengeance, but not for it to be fatal, even if she hasn’t really thought about how to accomplish this. Cloak is certainly stronger since his all consuming cloak can really cause a lot of damage, but Dagger’s no lightweight either. The way that they quickly assumed that a metahuman was working with the villains was very iffy though. They seriously didn’t have much of an excuse to go after the bomb user.
Bombshell was easily a more likable character than Cloak and Dagger. She didn’t ask for these strange powers, but took them really well. She wasn’t panicking or on a quest for vengeance. Bombshell just kept on living her life like usual until she was attacked out of the blue. She doesn’t really have anywhere to go, but it seems like SHIELD’s got their eyes on her. Bombshell could certainly be a valuable asset to the team and was one of the heavy hitters here. Spider Woman’s role is mostly that of a mentor to Miles here. She finally lets him know that she was a clone of Peter Parker this whole time. Jessica Drew can certainly still fight and she does well against Taskmaster, but without Spiderman’s venom sting, she seems to be at a bit of a disadvantage in these fights. She needs some kind of extra edge, but her hand to hand experience will suffice against most opponents.
As for Miles, he’s still not the greatest of main characters for me. He’s not as bad as he was in other comics, but deciding to stop being a hero for a whole year is a little iffy. Particularly when he decides not to step in when Bombshell was getting double teamed by two new figures. It’s one thing to not actively suit up, but another to just watch as a fellow super human is being attacked. It feels like he is always wondering about whether he should tell his girlfriend that he is Spiderman or not. I reviewed the first graphic novel of the sequel series to this one so I can safely say that he does make a choice soon. His friend isn’t much help though and that guy’s pretty annoying. It doesn’t help that the comic decides to randomly have two characters tell Miles that his friend was actually never his friend and one thought that they were actually together. Why do we need to keep on adding politics to our comics? Miles denies this which is good, but I wouldn’t put it past the comics to try and make this happen. Let’s hope not. I don’t think Miles needs to be in a relationship with the girl either though. Comics don’t need romance, I just want to see some action. Now that Miles is finally back in costume, that should happen soon.
It’s always something to think about just how different this Ultimate Universe is. There’s no Peter Parker, but he’s actually known as a hero here. He managed to really help a lot of people in his final acts and even Jameson accepted him. There aren’t Avengers around typically and the X-Men are hard to find as well. The flip side is that super villains aren’t a regular occurrence like in 616 and the world isn’t ending every other week. It’s definitely a more grounded universe and it’s a fun alternate universe that has been developed. It’s just a shame that most of the titles typically aren’t that good.
I do hope that Miles tells his Dad about his secret identity soon though. The guy seems pretty reasonable and I’m pretty sure that he would take it well. Even if he doesn’t, Miles has SHIELD to fall back on, but at this point, he should probably consider that it’s a necessary step or he may end up having some regrets soon. With the drama mostly tucked away, I’m ready for some more action packed volumes coming up although this was the last one for this series so back to the sequel or to the older titles.
Overall, This was a solid Ultimate collection. A little light on action, but the final 2 issues had enough action to cover the volume. The first half’s drama wasn’t that bad either. It can be a little annoying to see Miles give up on the costume for a whole year though since that’s no small stretch of time. I like his Dad, but the other supporting characters aren’t so good. I can’t say that Gwen’s great here either, but Aunt May’s decent. It would be hard for her to be an unlikable character I suppose. Miles seems to be less overconfident now so in costume he’s good now. He just needs to work on the alter ego now. Writing out his friend from the series would be a great start. I’d recommend checking this volume out and it’s a good jumping on point if you’ve never read Ultimate before.