Hulk kill

Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II has taken its lumps in terms of fan interest and sales, but the story is helping to define Miles Morales. Spider-Man #7 features the young man trying to determine whether he will stand and fight alongside Tony Stark in a war over the Inhuman named Ulysses, or if he will sit on the sidelines and let the veterans sort it out for themselves.

Here is what you need to know for Spider-Man #7:

  • Miles is having nightmares about the potential future he experienced, where the Hulk goes completely off the deep end (even by the Hulk’s standards), and kills everyone.
  • Miles’s parents cannot sleep. His mother knows that private investigator Jessica Jones is keeping information about Miles from her. Jones had to use her superhuman strength to carry Rio out of her office…and send a message to stay away.
  • Miles’s father wants the investigation (launched by his mother-in-law) called off, but the two parents seemingly don’t have the power to make it happen.
  • Miles web-slings around New York to clear his head and runs into Lana Baumgartner, aka Bombshell. After she stops a robbery by blowing up a van, Miles says her behavior is symbolic of a lot of other superheroes: “You stopped a robbery, but you started a fire.”
  • The two teenagers talk about the upcoming war between superheroes and Lana says that Miles is being manipulated by the “rich white dude” known as Tony Stark to do something against his will. Her reasoning — that’s what “rich white dudes do.” (Note: Don’t expect Bendis to ever have Miles Morales sarcastically reply: “You mean like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Elon Musk?”)
  • Miles has a nightmare during class and is forced to leave the room. He goes up onto a roof as Spider-Man and is confronted by Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

All things considered, this was a pleasing issue for Bendis and it was made even better by strong work by artist Nico Leon. Whether one likes Civil War II or not, one of the long-term benefits of the tale is that it serves to define young characters like Miles.

SpiderMan Bombshell

The challenge for Bendis, however, will be to adequately show the “now what?” — the follow-through that often seems missing from his work. The writer has a habit of toying with big ideas and then placing them aside to focus on something else.

Whether Bendis is writing Tony Stark in Invincible Iron Man or Miles Morales in Spider-Man, in many ways he keeps them in a holding pattern. He occasionally dips and swerves the plane to the left or the right, but at some point in time his passengers realize that they have been deceived — they’ve just been flying in circles.

After seven issues of Spider-Man, readers want to know “Who is Miles Morales?” While it is true that he is a young character who is finding his voice — and part of the fun is going on that journey with him — it seems as though Bendis is being stingy with key aspects of the hero’s personality. Either the writer doesn’t yet know what the character really represents, or he is scared that readers will not like what they hear.

If you planned on checking on Spider-Man, then Bendis’ seventh issue is a good jumping-on point. Potential customers just need to know that  Miles Morales’s character development has been frustratingly slow since the series first launched. Perhaps the conclusion of Civil War II will change that.

Bombshell SpiderMan

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

11 comments

  1. My problem is that Civil War has moved waaaaaaay beyond “The Hulk might be a threat.” Bendis needs to move beyond his ‘one conversation takes 12 of 23 pages per issue’ style or I’m going to jump ship.

    1. “My problem is that Civil War has moved waaaaaaay beyond ‘The Hulk might be a threat.’ Bendis needs to move beyond his ‘one conversation takes 12 of 23 pages per issue’ style or I’m going to jump ship.”

      Yes, I agree with you that this can become tedious. It’s fine on occasion, but it’s like he never sees the need to pick up the pace. He’s a smart guy, but his writing often leaves you feeling like you’re trying to wade through quicksand.

  2. So it sounds like Lana, as written by Bendis, is a very racist character. She has no problem lumping all white, wealthy men together by the color of their skin and the amount in their bank accounts, as manipulative people who try to get you to do things that you don’t want to do. Her statement gives no room for consideration of you as an individual. Ergo, if you are a white male, the only thing that keeps you from being a manipulative SOB is whether or not you are rich. Therefore, all white males, according to Lana, are innately manipulative and are just waiting to get rich in order to be able to implement this characteristic. If you are white, male and rich, then you are manipulative, as ” that is what rich white dudes do “. So tired of Bendis and modern Marvels double standards. It is why I have switched to DC and by nothing from the House of Bad Ideas any more.

    1. “So it sounds like Lana, as written by Bendis, is a very racist character. She has no problem lumping all white, wealthy men together by the color of their skin and the amount in their bank accounts, as manipulative people who try to get you to do things that you don’t want to do. Her statement gives no room for consideration of you as an individual.”

      Exactly. And here’s the thing — if Bendis or Marvel were equal-opportunity offenders, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The rhetorical wrecking ball always seems to hit “white men” … over and over and over again. If Bendis weren’t married, I’d swear he was just doing it just to hook up with fangirls at some comic book convention.

      “So tired of Bendis and modern Marvels double standards. It is why I have switched to DC and by nothing from the House of Bad Ideas any more.”

      You are not alone, Thomas. The guy who owns my local comic shop said he has seen a bit of an exodus away from Marvel. It’s this kind of junk that speeds up the process.

  3. And meanwhile Marvel’s attempt to sell us the Inhumans as “X-men but better” is failing more and more each day, including the complete inability to write Medusa as a decent character, the Guardians of the Galaxy are drawn into this Civil War II dumpster fire.

    The Tony Stark is just a rich white dude feels so forced because we have the MCU-universe that shows us that Tony Stark knows that all his money isn’t worth a thing when the next big bad comes to enslave and/or blow up the planet. Meanwhile i have to listen to Bombshell, a character that was introduced in the Ultimate Universe doing heists, lecturing us about white guilt.

    1. “Meanwhile i have to listen to Bombshell, a character that was introduced in the Ultimate Universe doing heists, lecturing us about white guilt.”

      I thought that was the case, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure. Haha! That’s classic.

  4. Hey! this may not be too bad. Boom-Boom…I mean, Jubilee…err…Bombshell here, for most writers at marvel, would probably be leading us down a long rope that leads to some liberal sociological point that we wished we never had to see.

    With Bendis, there’s a better than even chance that the rope is free floating in water and pulling on it goes nowhere!

    There’s more too! That’s a lot of ropes. Makes sure you come up for air.

  5. I believe Bendis is a good writer but he decompresses too much and tends to write all characters as interchangeable when he is writing a team book. Miles is an interesting character but I think they removed what made him special when the moved him to the 616 or whatever it is called now. Having Miles in his own universe made him special, now he is in a lump of Spider- “person of the week” club.

    I find it sad that the writers are such blind SJW’s to the fact that they say and write racist things and don’t even see it. Their moral compass makes them think that punching is okay as long as it has their view of the proper target. Marvel has been succeeding in one thing, pushing more readers to the competition. Is it just me or does the reboot, renumber, change gender, change race, and other tactics seem to be losing its impact on sales?

    Marvel is so bent on the short term that they are throwing away loyal long term readers for new and possibly only temporary readers. They don’t understand the fact that you don’t have to remove major characters to make replacements for new ones. Marvel is out of ideas or just lazy, to think that their writers cannot come up with another iconic character is rather telling, and sad. Maybe rather than changing long term cherished characters they should change writers.

    1. I think the character replacement is more ego than activism, in fact, I think the activism is just something that makes them feel better about themselves when they are essentially wrecking the things their audience loves. These guys see themselves as the next Kirby and Lee. They want their own characters and their own legacy, when the truth was that the masters of the past were just trying to please their audience and make something they themselves would like to read.

      Chuck Dixon already said it: The core comic book audience is gone. Guys like me came back after leaving in the nineties. The stories are sometimes pretty decent, but for the most part, the pageturners of yesteryear are gone. Even the good stuff takes me a few minutes to go through if I’m moving slowly…at the price they are sold at, they have very poor value. Going through a TPB now feels like one comic book in the 80’s. The 2 issues of ‘days of future past’ however feel like a complete short novella

      Comics now are a lot like manga, but for the Japanese audience, followers of a certain story will usually buy a magazine with assorted stories in it packed together, or purchase a collected edition. It’s just a better value, not necessarily of money but of invested time. So you already have economic and social problems with comic books that alienate the audience.

    2. Well said! I often tend to wait and purchase large runs for cheap off of ebay or the quarter bin at the comic show, AKA the Marz bin. With that said almost anything Marz or Slott in there is still hardly worth purchasing. I think the ego of the current generation of writers is astounding, just disagree with them on any topic and watch the response.

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