Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider Man Volume 1: Revival Review

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I haven’t read a lot of Ultimate comics compared to their 616 counterparts, but I could clearly see why it was known as a missed opportunity. The concept behind the Ultimate Universe was great. The characters would undergo a reboot and we could take a step away from the complex threats of multiversal scale for a little while. After all, how can Scorpion be a threat when Spider Man consistently fights foes like Thanos and the Phoenix? Unfortunately, the universe couldn’t live up to the hype. The Fantastic Four comics weren’t bad and the Spider Man ones were a bright spot amidst all of this. Here, we get to meet the new Spider Man!

The graphic novel brings the final Ultimate Spiderman issue before we launch into the first 5 issues of Miles’ new series. (I believe that this is already his second one) Miles is still learning to cope with his identity as a super hero as it is a tough job. He decides to tell his friend so there are no secrets between them, but she doesn’t take it too well. Things go from bad to worse for him as Peter Parker (Is it really him!) comes back from the grave and wants to be Spiderman again. Not to mention that the original Green Goblin is also back and he wants to destroy both of them.

You can see why things are a little tough on Miles right now. It’s certainly a lot to take in. Miles has a lot of fans, but I have to say that I’m really not one of them. His personality is just unappealing to me. For starters, I feel like he is constantly in shock and quickly starts swearing at every opportunity. This is a Bendis comic so it happens constantly by many different characters. All of the words are censored of course, but it’s still rather unnecessary and just shows us that Miles has a potty mouth. It makes it hard to identify with him as a character and likewise, it can be hard to root for him.

Handing out his secret identity so casually just doesn’t seem like a good move. He’s new to the superhero gig so some mistakes are to be expected, but he also tries to sound tough and/or confident, which is a mix that really doesn’t work. His Venom’s sting is certainly a good ability to have though and he’s a decent fighter. I’m sure that he could take on a lot of the opponents that the real Spiderman has faced throughout the years. He is not as strong as Spiderman physically, but his other abilities help to even the playing field.

He has two friends, who serve as supporting characters throughout this ordeal. One of them freaks out when she learns about Miles being Spiderman and it is certainly a cringe worthy scene. I don’t think people would react like that in real life and especially not in a world where superheroes are at every corner. I just don’t see it, maybe if Miles had said that he was the Kingpin or something, but certainly not for being Spiderman. As for the other friend, he is really just a generic friend. There’s really nothing to say about him and I don’t care for the character.

The Ultimate Universe may have a lot of heroes like the 616 one, but not nearly as many. As such, the civilians seem to have responded to them much differently. People actually don’t seem to fear Spiderman and they looked to him as a hero at one point. The cops are still trying to capture them and do their jobs of course, but it is an improvement. The universe is also a lot more down to Earth so you could almost call Spiderman a heavy hitter here. Gwen Stacy is still alive, which is a major change and just about everyone was friends with Spiderman. I definitely wouldn’t trade this universe for 616, but it does remind you of how the universe once held so much potential.

When Spiderman died, I’m sure that Ultimate fans were fairly disappointed. The final issue of the run is included in this collection as everyone attends the funeral and thinks about what could have been. I already read that one during Free Comic Book Day a while back, but it was still interesting to check out once again. With the “Revival” happening in this collection, that was surely going to be a big chance to the Marvel universe. Could it possibly be the real Spiderman or is it all a trick? I have a feeling that this is a fake, but at least he seems to be cool so far.

Peter is fairly unreasonable when he first appears though. He just barges into the house and tells Miles that the real Spiderman is back. This sounds nothing like the Peter Parker that we have known for so many years, which is sketchy. At least he does come back to help out against the Green Goblin and he looks tough enough to be the real deal. He handles the threat well and doesn’t fight against the cops. If the true Spiderman is back, then it’s a bright day for the ultimate universe.

The second half of the comic really stepped it up as the action scenes were a lot of fun. We also got to see the Green Goblin again and he proved why he is one of Spiderman’s greatest villains. Even 2 on 1, he was putting up a great fight and he hadn’t been prepared. For round 2, things could get hairy for the heroes, unless Jameson’s plan ended up succeeding. It was a fairly shocking ending and it’s hard to see how Osborn would be able to react in time, but that could be a reaction time feat. Miles is also about to get some “answers” from Peter, which should be interesting.

There’s a lot of ways that the comic can go with this so it will be interesting to see what happens. Right now, the series is mainly lacking in the characters department. Adding in someone likable and experienced like Spiderman could really help to shake things up. That being said, Spiderman has to actually be likable so we’ll see if that ends up being the case here. If not, then it certainly defeats the purpose. I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Green Goblin and the Ultimates should have something to say about Spiderman being back unless they’re currently gone. I think it was mentioned that Captain America may have vanished or something like that. I know that the Galactus event already happened, but I know almost nothing about it beyond the fact that Shadowcat had a big fight with him.

There’s even a reference to the Secret Wars event as the cops think that someone is crazy when she starts to babble about it. It’s a neat bit of foreshadowing as this comic came out quite a while ago I believe. If the Ultimate Universe had acted on this knowledge they could have thrown the 616 guys for a loop. I suppose that the cops just didn’t realize how important those vague references were at the time.

While the writing may not be up to snuff, the art is decently good. Only decently though as it really varies and some pages do end up looking pretty bad. The artist has trouble with the faces at times so the battle scenes are what stands out. The big fight with Goblin was a lot of fun to look at. Hopefully, the art will improve in the next one, but it’s still clear enough that you can easily tell what is going on and follow along with the action. The faces may just make you smirk at times.

Overall, Revival is a solid Spider Man story. Seeing the original Spiderman meet up with the new one was something that we had been waiting for. We got to go one better in Spider Men and in the Ultimate Spiderman TV show, but this got to be a pure Ultimate meet up. I don’t know if I’ll be checking out another Ultimate comic for quite a while, but at least I got to add another one to my reading history. As far as alternate universes go, Ultimate was definitely fleshed out more than most. It simply didn’t work and a reboot of it will probably be necessary. At the end, a new FF series for Ultimate was being teased so maybe that will end up being good. It’s hard to hold out too much hope for it, but you never know right? I recommend this comic if you want a quick action story and don’t really need much of a deep plot behind it. Then, you’re all set for some fiery action! (No guest stars showing up when the heroes are fighting Goblin in front of such a large crowd in a public neighborhood is a little sad, but most of the heroes may be busy at the moment since the Ultimate Universe is always in the middle of a fight somewhere)

Overall 7/10