Spider-Man #4: Bendis reveals Morales’ secret identity — to ‘Goldballs’

Miles Ganke

Superheroes tend to place a high value on their secret identities, and Miles Morales is no exception to the rule. Unfortunately, the fourth issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ Spider-Man shows the hero losing it due to a decision by his best friend Ganke. He spills the beans to ex-X-Man “Goldballs” of all people. (Yes, Goldballs.)

Like the surface-to-air missiles that target Miles after Ganke’s betrayal, this issues misses the mark.

Before we move on, here is what you need to know:

  • Miles and Ganke argue in the school lunch room whether it’s harder to be a black teen in America or an overweight asian (groan).
  • Ganke wants Miles to talk to the new kid, Fabio Medina (aka: Goldballs), because they both have superpowers.
  • When Fabio accidentally launches one of his “goldballs” into Ganke’s food, the three young men start talking and Ganke inexplicably reveals his friend’s secret identity.
  • Miles storms off and while web-slinging through the city he is targeted by four heat-seeking missiles.
  • Spider-Man is knocked to the ground due to the concussive blast of one of the missiles. Hammerhead steps out of a vehicle and says it’s time to call Black Cat and collect his bounty.

Miles Morales 3

The decision to explore a best friend’s betrayal in a book involving high-school kids is appropriate, but it seems quite a stretch for someone like Ganke to suddenly reveal Miles’ secret identity. A writer should spend a lot of time setting the stage for game-changers, but readers sadly did not get it this time. As a result, half the issue didn’t ring true.

Making matters worse is the fact that Miles says, “I have actually never been this mad at anyone about anything,” but we never see his anger. He web-slings around the city for a few moments and then his spider-sense alerts him to incoming missiles.

Try this out: Think of the angriest you’ve ever been in your life. What did you do? How did you react? Did you just say, “I’ve never been this mad” and then walk around, or did you punch, kick, yell or scream?

A few years ago an old Army buddy of mine said, “Do you remember that time that you got so mad at [insert name of horrible squad leader here] that you burst into our room, slammed the door, screamed, flipped your entire bed, and then took off for the motor pool?” 

I do remember that — and that isn’t the most angry I have ever been.

People do not think clearly when they are livid. Given that, it seems like a no-brainer for Miles’ to have been so upset that he didn’t notice his own spider-sense going off until it was nearly too late. Maybe he could have even kicked a garbage can as he exited the school and sent it flying 100 yards down the road. Something — anything — would be better than just telling readers that Miles is angry.

After the heat-seeking missiles magically miss Miles while in “cammo mode,” he decides to lure them to parts of the city where detonations will pose the least amount of risk to the civilian population.

Miles Parker Industries

Miles chooses to destroy a Parker Industries sign, which is funny given that Arachno-Rockets” (See ASM #9) filled with liquid hydrogen are stored inside the building.

We’ll just say that it was by the grace of God that Miles didn’t kill scores of people…

Spider Rocket

Our hero’s luck runs out and he is seemingly incapacitated at Hammerhead’s feet. Besides wondering how a has-been underworld thug like Hammerhead got his hands on some SAMs and then deployed them in the middle of New York City, readers must now ask the following question: Is Spider-Man worth it? The jury is still out for this blogger.

  • If you like Marvel’s new take on Black Cat (I don’t), then Spider-Man #4 is for you.
  • If you like Hammerhead (I don’t), then Spider-Man #4 is for you.
  • If you like Goldballs (Huh?  Why, Marvel?), then I guess Spider-Man #4 is for you.
  • If you like best friends who act irrationally, then Spider-Man #4 is for you.

Spider-Man certainly has potential, but as of right now it still feels as though Bendis’ search for Miles identity within the 616 Universe is coming through in the title.

How big is his stable of characters to pick from? If Bendis is forced to use Goldballs and Hammerhead this early in his run, then it doesn’t bode well for the future. Perhaps he is limited one what villains he can use because Dan Slott needs them for The Amazing Spider-Man. Whatever the case, Bendis needs to settle into a groove soon our readers will move on.