Alright, now that I’ve strayed away from Marvel for a little while, I feel the need to come back.  Guilty conscience, it’s a terrible thing.  But fear not DC fans, I have a copy of Batman & Robin #1 left to review that I’ll post soon.

After the 160 issue run of the original Ultimate Spider-Man, I was expecting nothing but greatness out of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli for this run.  I would love to say they delivered, but frankly, I think it’s too early to declare this a hit yet.  There isn’t enough in this issue to go by.

If you’re a fan of the original Ultimate Spider-Man, you will immediately recognize the opening scene and dialogue of this issue.  It’s nearly word-for-word the same as that very first issue from eleven years ago; Norman Osborn in his lab discussing the Greek myth of Arachne with one of his employees while looking over his genetically enhanced spiders.  However, that is where the similarities to the original Ultimate Spidey end.  The story shifts focus to Miles Morales, a bi-racial kid from Brooklyn (who readers of Ultimate Fallout will recognize as the new Spider-Man) unenthusiastically trying to make it into a prestigious charter school via a lottery with 700 other kids.  As is usually the case, his parents want him to get in more than he does; Miles just wants to go home.  I don’t want to get too far into the rest of the story for fear that I might spoil some of the surprises in the issue.

As usual, the writing by Bendis, is fantastic.  He really is one of the best writers in comics today.  The aspect of this story that stands out the most to me in this issue is how human, and normal, and close to home it feels.  Miles and his family are just normal people, like Peter Parker and Aunt May were before them, but Miles isn’t Peter.  You don’t see any Spider-Man in this issue because Bendis wants to take a lot of time to focus on Miles and get his audience to really know him as a person before he puts the costume on and becomes a hero.  He also wants us to know Miles’ family and the relationships that they have between one another so we know what motivates him later on in the series.

Sara Pichelli’s art is also really good in this issue.  She really understands how to draw emotion into the faces of her characters, and it makes the story that much more expressive.  Interestingly enough, her art style is somewhat similar to that of Mark Bagley, the original artist for Ultimate Spider-Man, so for long time fans of the series, there is a sense of familiarity there while you’re reading.  She puts a lot of detail into her backgrounds but also draws the main characters of the scene in a way that makes them stand out from the rest of the people in the panel.

Overall, this issue is a great way to start the rebirth of the Ultimate Spider-Man series, but I have one big, glaring problem with it; it’s too short.  Just as the story really gets going, it ends.  Essentially, it really is over before it begins.  Other than that it’s a great book that, like its predecessor, shows a lot of promise for the rest of the series to follow.

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