Spider-Man #5: Bendis gives Miles new power … because god-like Miles

Miles SM3

Brian Michael Bendis wants “Spider-Man” readers to know that Miles Morales, one day, will be the most powerful superhero in the Marvel universe. How do I know this? Because the kid can take down anyone with a single touch, turn himself invisible, regenerate limbs, he’s (allegedly) immortal, and now he can randomly project giant bursts of energy.

It’s dumb, lazy, and just screams, “My Spider-Man will be the best Spider-Man ever and you will respect him!”

Spider-Man #5 exemplifies everything that is wrong and everything that is right with the title. On one hand Mr. Bendis excels at planting seeds for future conflict, but on the other his efforts are negated because there is no conflict with an immortal being with an endless string of powers.

The situation is so embarrassing that Marvel Wikia lists Miles’ one weakness as … inexperience.

Translation: Miles Morales is Marvel’s Big Dog — and and you, dear reader, just don’t know it yet.

Miles Morales powers

Here is what Bendis said in a recent interview with CBR about criticism about Miles’ powers:

I already got an e-mail tonight from somebody in England who gets their comics a day early b****ing to me, and I was given this a little bit in the last volume too, that some people don’t like when Miles wins a fight with his venom blast. They think it’s bulls**t.

That’s like saying you’re mad because Thor won a fight with his hammer. I don’t understand that criticism. He has a tool and he used it. It’s not like the readers didn’t know he could do it. We’ve known since the character’s first appearance. So I’m calling bullshit on people calling bulls**t on this particular thing. It’s a very weird criticism.

Note to Brian Michael Bendis: The validity of your argument is not positively correlated with the number of times you say “bulls**t” and “b***h.”

If Miles Morales only needs to touch an opponent to beat him (e.g., the demon Blackheart, Hammerhead), then he becomes boring.

If there are no chains that can hold Miles Morales because he might decide to become a levitating burst of god-like energy, then it is kind of lame.

When the message is: “You cannot defeat Miles Morales — you can only hope to contain him!” then the book becomes a snooze-fest. That is not “bulls**t.” That is the truth.

Here is what you need to know about Spider-Man #5:

  • Miles Morales is held in a warehouse by Black Cat, Hammerhead and his crew. He uses a Venom Blast on one of the goons and Hammerhead before projecting an “energy burst” to escape.
  • Miles’ annoying grandma decides to hire a private investigator, Jessica Jones, to figure out what the teenager does when he is not in school.
  • “Goldballs” takes Ganke up on the offer to live with he and Miles.
  • Black Cat tells Miles not to interfere with her “business.” She threatens to “ruin” his life if he crosses her.
  • Maria Hill meets with Miles’ father. There is an agreement made to look after the boy and she says, “Welcome back to S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Am I interested in seeing what happens when Jessica Jones tails Miles? Sure.

Does it pique my interest to know that Miles’ father is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent? Sure. I think it’s weird for a husband to have giant secrets from his wife and son, but for entertainment purposes I suppose it works.

Miles Morales Grandma SM

The problem Spider-Man has, however, is that it appears to be trying too hard to establish Miles Morales as “the” Spider-Man. Unfortunately, just adding power after power after power to the kid actually ends up doing him a disservice.

When it becomes apparent that a writer is desperate to have his pet creation immediately enter the upper echelons of Marvel greatness, it becomes a turnoff for readers. This reviewer may be jumping off the book soon if the trend continues for much longer.