What’s crackin’, gang? Hope you’re all strapped in and ready to go, because Pulp is ready to take you on another rollercoaster ride. I’ve just spent the better part of the last week in Sydney for a work event, so you can bet your ass I’m ready to kick back and relax with a good comic!
This week’s comic pick was directly inspired by my viewing of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a few weeks back. If you haven’t already seen it, see if you can scrape a last-minute viewing, or pick it up on BluRay when it comes out, because holy shit is it a great movie. This week’s comic – Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man volume 1 – was one of the direct inspirations for the film, alongside the great 2014 crossover Spider-Verse. Written by Marvel stalwart Michael Brian Bendis (Daredevil, House of M) and drawn by Sara Pichelli (Guardians of the Galaxy), Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man is a different take on the Spider-Man story we all know and love.
Miles Morales is a pretty normal kid. His life is filled with school, music and family, and even though his favourite uncle Aaron is the black sheep of his family, Miles still loves spending time with him. Unbeknownst to Miles, there’s a good reason why Aaron is shunned by his family; he lives a double life, operating as the cat burglar and villain the Prowler. When Miles visits Aaron as he relaxes after a successful heist of Oscorp, his life is changed forever – he is bitten by a radioactive spider that had stowed away in Aaron’s duffel bag. Like Peter Parker before him, Miles develops the powers of Spider-Man, but due to his family’s criticism of the hero, chooses to hide his abilities and live the quiet life. When Spider-Man is killed by the Green Goblin in front of him, a guilt-ridden Miles realises that he could have helped, and his journey as a hero begins. After a fateful meeting with Peter Parker’s loved ones, Miles decide to take up the mantle of Spider-Man and honour Peter’s legacy.
Man, I really like Miles as a character. Into the Spider-Verse only solidified my love of all things Spider-Man, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the inspiration for the movie is just as good. While it lacks the stylistic flair of Into the Spider-Verse, Miles’ origin story is compelling, and sets up his run as Spider-Man brilliantly. It’s easy to see why he became such a fan favourite, and why he has persisted even after the destruction of his home universe. Miles was and is a great riff on what makes Spider-Man great – he has enough common characteristics with Peter that the standard beats (e.g. youth and school dramas) are still hit, but is different enough that there’s no re-treaded ground. While the series is a bit dated now – Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man debuted in 2011 – it’s still a great part of Marvel’s history. The Ultimate universe may be no more, but its alternative takes on some of Marvel’s most famous characters outlived it – Miles included.
All up, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man is a really solid alternative take on the Spider-Man mythos. If you haven’t checked it out already, give it a read – and then go watch Into the Spider-Verse!
Written by Alastair McGibbon