Welcome back, Bulleteers. This week, I’ll be reviewing Miles Morales’ first solo adventures in the Marvel Universe, and discussing a book from last week I didn’t get to talk about: Valiant’s plucky, plus-size superhero, Faith, who now stars in her own solo limited series.
Welcome to the Marvel Universe, Miles Morales
Secret Wars is finally over and the changes have been wrought. One of those changes puts Miles Morales in the Marvel Universe after the destruction of the Ultimate Universe. For those of you who may actually not know, Miles Morales was Spider-Man in the Ultimate U. after Peter Parker was killed and Miles took up the mantle. He’s crazy popular, which is understandable since Miles is a well-developed character. But now, our new Spider-Man is in the Marvel Universe, with all of the challenges that come with it.
This first issue is more of an introduction to Miles’ everyday life, to benefit those readers who may not know who Miles is. In a nutshell, he’s a high school student with everything that entails, plus trying to be a web-slinging superhero. He’s doing the best he can, but he’s definitely falling short. And that’s where a lot of this book’s emotional punch comes from. Because Miles is trying to juggle everything, and just not pulling it off, even having to take pointers from beleaguered bystanders who are veterans of this sort of thing. And this introductory take is okay with me. I don’t like when a book leaves the reader hanging. There should always be some sort of jumping-on point. Comics are hard enough to follow and elitist as it is.
Spider-Man is a teenager, and readers of Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man know that that was some of his best work. Even when Ultimate Spidey wasn’t figuring out how to be a hero, Peter was inundated with teenage stuff, and lots of times that was as involving as a major fight with a supervillain. And we have a lot of this here, since Bendis is writing the new Spider-Man’s adventures. But Spider-Man‘s strength also serves as a weakness. Bendis’ readers are familiar with these stories, while, again, new readers may not be. The downside is that those of us who have followed Ultimate Spider-Man for years may see this as same stuff, different universe.
Longtime Bendis cohorts Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor deliver some great art for the first issue. There’s some fun stuff with Pichelli indulging herself with an animated, over-exaggerated style when Miles pictures his life going a little differently. Artistically, Spider-Man #1 is a knock out of the park.
Spider-Man #1 is a really solid start to a new series, which plays to brand new readers rather than Miles Morales fans who have been around since the start. This feels a lot more like an introductory issue to the character since this issue does retread a lot of what the previous two Miles Morales volumes set up. However, the art on this issue is worth the price tag, and I think Miles is off to a decent start, with plenty of room to grow.
Heads up, Los Angeles. Sometimes you just gotta have Faith.
I’m still bouncing around the Valiant Universe getting a feel for it as a new reader, catching up on Unity, and X-O Man O’ War, so any first issues that Valiant releases, I get. I had to do research on Faith Herbert before her book came out last week, but with Valiant touting their plus-sized superheroine, I thought, “Well, how cool and fun would that be?”
Faith #1 is the limited series solo adventures of one Faith Herbert, former member of the Renegades and the super team Unity. The Renegades broke up after a fight with a psychopath with world domination aspirations, and Faith headed out to the Left Coast (that’s California, y’all), to set up shop in Los Angeles. After establishing an alter-ego as a journalist at a Buzzfeed-like, click-baity website, Faith, also known as journalist Summer Smith, who really wants to be called Zephyr, tackles crime in the City of Angels.
So. There’s the gimmick. Valiant has talked you into spending $3.99 on comicdom’s first plus-sized hero. Does Faith have any depth? Any character? Oh my gosh, yes. I love her. Writer Jody Houser tries to answer this question by making Faith an every woman just trying to find her way. She’s a confessed sci-fi geek. Throughout the book, she drops several references to Spider-Man, Red Dwarf, and Angel, which seem to be her primary reference points in life. As a matter of fact, her adventures thus far are so boring and unglamorous that she has time to daydream about a more colorful life, one where she fights Daleks and rescues a shirtless Chris Evans from certain doom. But her up-to-now boredom and dreams of rescuing hunky movie stars gets a kick in the pants when a friend/informant of hers going by the name @x sends her on a missing persons case, which leads to an explosive cliffhanger.
Valiant has put out another good book. It certainly makes me want to go back and check out Zephyr’s adventures with the Renegades and her connection to Unity. Plus, like Ms. Marvel from Marvel, Faith is a new kind of character who doesn’t have an agenda. No anti-obesity or girl power rhetoric here. Just a fun, plucky, superheroine who happens to be overweight. I like her for the same reasons I like CBS’ Supergirl. In a world with shadows, she provides a little light. Definitely a favorite.