Marvel’s Ultimate Universe has changed significantly in the wake of the terrible event known as the Cataclysm. Many of the greatest heroes are dead and there are many new heroes and new teams on the superhero stage. Leading the charge in all of this are the All-New Ultimates, a new Ultimates team formed of several young superheroes and chief among them is Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man succeeded to that identity after the death of Peter Parker at the hands of Norman Osborn some years ago. In his new series, Miles has struggled with some big revelations so far and it doesn’t look like things are slowing down at all.
After the fairly good start from the first two issues, this week’s Miles Morales #3 goes the distance to really setup Miles against one of the biggest threats of the Ultimate Universe, an unshackled Normal Osborn who is out for revenge against those who have wronged him, all without the controlling and contesting force of SHIELD. As if Miles’ personal problems weren’t enough, he has to go up against Osborn and he is not having an easy time of it at all.
We’ve seen in the first two issues of this new series that Miles has been struggling to reveal his identity as Spider-Man to the people closest to him. His father ran away when he was told the truth and for now only his best friend Ganke knows, though Miles wants to tell his girlfriend Katie Bishop as well, and that is something that been very prominent so far. As happens with any superhero however, this isn’t the only crisis that is facing him, for he has to unknowingly deal with a couple of Spider-Man imitators and also with Norman Osborn, who escaped from his SHIELD prison and is now out to complete his revenge. Why exactly he comes after Miles isn’t clear to me, since I haven’t read the previous Miles series or even much of the Peter Parker series before that, but I won’t deny that the entire setup is most thrilling, combined with Miles’ great inner dialogue, which is just too good.
Set in the wake of the Cataclysm, this new series shows that there isn’t much time for everybody troubles, for the normal things that define a person, especially a superhero. Miles has to deal with tons of different things, taken together, and each challenge is really going to test him to his limits. After all, what chance does he have against Osborn, the man who killed Peter Parker of all people, a hero that Miles seemingly admits was a greater hero than him. Add to it that Peter has also seemingly returned from the dead and that Miles has already had a tussle with him and things just keep getting weirder.
We know already that Osborn isn’t a clone, for his death was faked and he’s been kept in prison by SHIELD since his big to-do with Peter Parker, but what about Peter himself? Is he a clone or what? And why has he returned now, after all this time? Has the Cataclysm opened the way for some really freaky stuff like spontaneous resurrection of dead heroes? Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t provide a whole lot of answers here, and I can kind of understand why, but three issues in, I’m really wanting to know what the big mystery is.
Bendis navigates all the different plot points quite well, and it is even interesting to see that Maria Hill is now a Detective in the NYPD. No longer a SHIELD agent, she is now openly in the public sector, opening up a lot of narrative opportunities.
David Marquez, Justin Ponsor and VC’s Cory Petit are the artists here as with the previous issues and the big action scene involving Osborn and a bunch of FBI special ops commandos is quite thrilling and even graphic. The… monstrous side of Osborn isn’t something that I’m familiar with, but he is drawn well and his villainy pretty much rolls off his shoulders there. The art overall is quite detailed and crisp, so that helps as well and I liked that Marquez’s expressions are really good here, so Miles Morales #3 ends up being a pretty good book, visually, after all, just as expected.
Things are heading for a big showdown soon, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue!