Miles Morales has a lot on his plate. He's balancing school, a girlfriend, the ongoing search for his dad... and oh yeah, being Spider-Man. (Spoilers follow.)
In the last chapter, Miles told his girlfriend, Katie, that he was Spider-Man. Once she believed him, she fled in tears. Of greater importance is that Norman Osborn broke free during an ill-advised prisoner transfer. Moving a supervillain in public while he's conscious is never a good idea, for my money.
She's still crying when she gets home, where her sister Misha shows genuine, level-headed concern. (If they weren't talking about Miles, this issue would pass the Bechdel test.) Katie spills Miles' secret to Misha.
Thank god Misha's not going to spill it to anyone, but I'd be surprised if this doesn't have ramifications down the road. Misha advises Katie that she has to break up with Miles, because sooner or later, he's going to get her in danger, if not flat-out killed. (There's evidence to support this.)
So Miles is in Queens, face to face with the Green Goblin, in the exact spot where Peter Parker died. Gobbers is in full crazy mode, talking about how he birthed the new Spider-Man into the world. Miles is smart enough not to stay put while GG lobs cars at him, and goes invisible. Osborn is less than pleased.
The press are quick to jump on the story, and there's a great splash page of the different folks in Spidey's life, reacting to the dire news with the gravity it deserves. The new Spider-Man could get himself killed.
Then... the original Spider-Man shows up. It's a significant 'WHAM shot', at least for the folks who didn't know a clone of Peter Parker had recently come out of hiding.
The cops have set up their perimeter, and open fire. The Green Goblin incinerates them, for their trouble.
The scene also gives Morales a moment to shine. With Gobbers distracted by the 'original' Spidey, Miles gets in close and delivers a venom blast. GG charges our heroes, and Morales doesn't flinch. His only words? "Wait for it."
Knocked off his feet by the delayed-reaction of the blast, GG retreats. He leaps off the scene in a blaze of fire... leaving two Spider-Men for the surviving police to deal with.
The comic wraps up with both Spideys with their hands up, hoping to comply with the cops. The thing I'd hoped could be avoided hits us smack in the face: Aunt May and Gwen, watching on the news. "I know it's him," says Aunt May. "My Peter is alive."
While the UU version of Aunt May is nowhere near as fragile as her mainstream counterpart, I still think the shock of learning that a) 'her nephew is alive', followed up by the inevitable b) 'no he's not, it's just a clone', could crush her. How could it not? She's been given hope, and it won't be long before that hope is taken away.
Brian Michael Bendis is doing a bang-up job with Miles Morales, and I mean that in the best possible sense. With David Marquez' artwork and Justin Ponsor's colors, we've got a vibrant, important storyline that's heavily impacting its characters. My biggest (and only) complaint about the issue is that the cover art has nothing to do with the comic. But that's not a new sin to comics.
What do you think?
Casey Jones is a writer of comics and screenplays. He's never faked his death, nor died and been replaced with a clone (as far as he knows).