I am tired of reboots in the comicbook world, especially of Spider-Man. It’s not as if we don’t know the origin story: bitten by a radioactive spider, yadda yadda. We are subjected to it multiple times because it’s compelling, but also because there may be a lack of original storytelling in the movie world.
Enter Miles Morales: a young black boy in the inner city with a family who wants to see him make his way out of the challenges of drugs and crime in the neighborhood. He has an uncle he sees as a mentor, although the uncle is a known criminal. His father cautions him to stay away, but he’s family, and young Milos trusts his uncle. The family environment is well-described, from the art detailing the city and the apartments where people live, to the dynamic in the family of a mother and father trying to raise a child with temptations all around.
Two key events propel Miles into a life of fighting crime. The first is the inevitable spider bite (I won’t detail how that happens, because it is a plot point that resonates throughout the series, but I will say it is makes sense in the story flow of how a young minority child gets a spider like that in his environment.) The second is the true shocker: the death of a well-loved superhero. This hero is well-known in Miles’ world, and there are Youtube videos and other social media markers shared about him. His death and unmasking are major events in Miles’ world.
The author and artists weave Miles’ family, coming into his powers, school and the hopes and dreams of a young child with crime-fighting, encounters with S.H.E.I.L.D. and unexpected plot twists. You meet some new, lame villains, and a few of Spider-Man’s classic arch-enemies. In addition, with a new, improved story, there are some improvements to the new Spider-Man’s powers.
This is not a reboot; it’s a fresh look and a new story. Highly recommended.
Note: this describes the collection of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1-12, Spider-Men #1-5, and some material from Ultimate Fallout #4 in a single bound volume.