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Spider-Man #236

by Harlan Ivester on January 03, 2018

Spider-Man #236
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Brian Reber
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            Well, this is strange. I’ve been off the adventures of Miles Morales for a few months now; there was simply way too little happening in each issue for me to justify the $3.99 each month. But now I’ve found myself in his web yet again, and admittedly, I have missed him. Just…not the book. Let’s just say that I can’t wait to see what Bendis does at DC.

            Not much has changed since I dropped this series from my pull. What has is questionable. Very questionable. The real big kicker of this issue is something that the readers already knew about. Miles discovers the identity of the new Iron Spider, none other than Aaron Davis, Miles's uncle who died way back in Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 2 #13. It was a moment that was crucial to the thirteen-year old’s development as both a person and a superhero, and played a strong hand in making him a character that we the audience could be sympathetic towards. The reveal of his return would have been much more powerful if we had learned about it along with Miles, so here, I feel like the alternative wasn’t quite as effective. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t what so many people loved about the Ultimate universe was that death seemed to mean something? It certainly doesn’t feel that way now. It would be one thing if it were just Aaron, but it’s so much more than just him. Our hero’s mother, Rio, has also returned since Miles was moved into 616. Peter Parker, Miles’s own equivalent to Ben Parker, came back from the dead (along with Norman Osborn), died again with the Ultimate universe (thank you, Secret Wars), and then just last week was revived again along with his entire universe. Am I forgetting anyone? Granted, the circumstances of these all make sense, but dead or alive, can we please just make a decision and stick with it?

            As far as aesthetics go, this issue is mostly nice to look at. On the good side, artist Oscar Bazaldua defines everyone’s facial features very well. I can’t stand when I can’t tell who’s talking just by looking at them. Facial expressions and even hand gestures serve their purpose, showing emotion and giving you an idea of what mannerisms these people might have if we were to see them in motion. A little blur goes a long way in conveying chaos in action. As for the bad, my only gripe is one panel in which Spider-Man is crouching down, and his leg looks swollen. Other than that, proportions are in check. Even though he’s still wearing an undamaged mask, we get to see Miles’s eyes when he finds out who the Iron Spider is. To me, this feels like Darth Vader yelling, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, at the end of Revenge of the Sith. We see masked figures showing how they feel constantly in comic books, especially the spider ones, so why not now? The eyes of the mask growing joined by his momentary silence would have been considerably better and not distracting. Color artist Brian Reber makes costumes really stand out against sometimes uninteresting, sometimes surprisingly varied landscapes. As the conflict rises and the sun gets lower, things seem to get darker to elevate tension. Subtleties like this create a welcome tone throughout.

            At the end of the day, I’m pleased to feel like something actually happened when I read this book, even if the execution left a little to be desired. If you’re thinking of seeing what Miles is up to these days, I can recommend you give this a shot, but just barely. Brian Michael Bendis leaving the book is something that I think will be good for everyone involved, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Miles afterwards. 

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