Spider-Men II had a solid start a few weeks back. Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli followed up the first Spider-Men by bringing back the big mystery the first mini-series ended with: who is the other Miles Morales. Now with the Miles Morales we know as Spider-Man is in the Marvel Universe the mystery behind this other Miles deepens as to how their can be two of the same characters running around at the same time. Just from the brief appearance that showed the other Miles older and with a scarred face he does not look to be a good guy. Is Miles appearance more than what it seems? Or will he be the big villain of Spider-Men II? Let’s find out with Spider-Men II #2.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A week ago both Spider-Man (Peter Parker) wonders how Taskmaster came through a dimensional portal. Taskmaster threatens both Spider-Men to leave his sight. Spider-Man (Miles Morales) thinks that is a good idea.
Peter-Spider-Man asks more questions that get on Taskmaster’s nerves. Before Taskmaster can kill them the Spider-Men swing away.
Outside the building Peter and Miles come up with a plan for Miles’ to use his stealth ability while Peter confronts Taskmaster head on.
Spider-Man (Peter Parker) goes back into the building to find Taskmaster has disappeared.
Outside the building Taskmaster loads up his car with bags of something. He gets a call from Detroit. Taskmaster tells the person to tell Miles Morales (the other, older version) to honor their deal.
Spider-Man (Miles Morales) tries to launch a sneak attack but Taskmaster quickly counters and knows Spider-Man into a wall. Spider-Man (Miles Morales) recovers in time to make sure Taskmaster can’t open his car door.
Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Taskmaster fight for a bit with the latter easily having the upper hand. Spider-Man (Miles Morales) grabs Taskmaster’s mask and is instantly shocked by it.
Spider-Man (Peter Parker) webs the other Spider-Man off Taskmaster. Outnumbered Taskmaster decides to make a break for it, using an explosive in his car to distract the two Spider-Men.
While getting help recovering from Peter, Miles reveals that Taskmaster was talking about him before they started fighting. Peter thinks Taskmaster may have been trying to mess with Miles.
Miles asks Peter if he knows if there was another Miles before him. Peter hesitates at first but reveals that after their first adventure together he did look to see if “Miles Morales” existed in the Marvel-616 Universe but didn’t find anything.
The two Spider-Men swing away as cops arrive with Peter telling Miles he will check in with SHIELD to find out what Taskmaster is up to.
Six days ago, Miles is studying in the quad area of Brooklyn Visions Academy late at night. Barbara Rodriguez walks by and starts talking to Miles. They first talk about if they ever looked themselves up online. Miles then tries to ask Barbara out but is interrupted by a call from Peter.
The next day Miles meets up with Peter, who takes Miles to Alias Investigation’s office. They meet-up with Jessica Jones, who Peter has hired to look into the other Miles Morales existence.
Jessica goes over how she looked into every corner off Earth, even asking Spider-Woman, Viper, Moon Girl and Dazzler, but ended up finding nothing. Peter and Jessica bring up that Taskmaster may have been trying to mentally manipulate Miles by mentioning his real name.
In the present Miles tries to chase the plane Taskmaster got on down but it ends up taking off before he could even get close.
Inside the plane the other Miles sees footage of the younger Miles coming out of the wreckage and putting on his Spider-Man mask. The older Miles orders Taskmaster to kill both Spider-Men immediately. End of issue.
The Good: Spider-Men II #2 picks up where the last issue and continued to set the stage for what the big conflict of this mini-series will be. Brian Bendis continues to show his clear understanding in how one should write Spider-Man, both Peter Parker and Miles Morales versions. At the same time, some of the things fans give Bendis flack for does pop up again in Spider-Men II #2.
As with the first issue, the strength of Spider-Men II #2 is how Bendis is able to write the natural dynamic that Peter and Miles have with one another. Though we haven’t seen the two interact a lot, surprising since they now exist in the same Marvel Universe, Bendis is able to convey how there is a strong connection between the two Spider-Men. That connection is clear with how they are able to bounce off one another as if we are seeing two brothers talking to one another.
That brotherly interaction made the little things such as Peter telling Miles not to tell the others about webbing his head a funny line. That extended to how Miles feeling as if the world is hiding something from him even better. This is where we get to see the relationship between the two shine best as we see how Peter is able to understand that Miles is bothered by the possibility of another Miles Morales and got Jessica Jones to help out. The happiness that it brought Miles did more to show that Peter and Miles do have a big brother-little brother relationship.
Jessica Jones being brought into the mix also help build on the mystery of whoever the other Miles Morales is. Through Jessica we are able to get a better idea that this Miles is possibly an even bigger threat than just being a rich gang leader. With even the likes of SHIELD not having any information on this other Miles Morales it makes you wonder what Bendis will reveal about the character.
Having Taskmaster involved helped break up an otherwise talking heads heavy issue with some nice action. As with most of his appearances, whenever Taskmaster gets involved we are in store for some good action which is what we get in Spider-Men II #2. Seeing Taskmaster easily defeat Miles’ Spider-Man was a treat. His involvement with the older Miles Morales and the upgrades he has received does add a nice sub-plot for what is going on.
With how quickly Spider-Men II #2 moves Sara Pichelli does a great job in elevating Bendis’ story. From the fast-paced action she draws as the two Spider-Men fight off Taskmaster to dialogue heavy scenes like Miles talking to Barbara, Pichelli is able to create a strong balance between all the scenes. By far the standout of Spider-Men II #2 was getting to see Pichelli draw Jessica Jones investigation. Pichelli was able to tell a whole story with how she set up the various interactions Jessica had in one panel each.
The Bad: Spider-Men II #2 was still a lot of set-up for what is to come. The time jumping was something that actually hurt the story’s pacing. It would’ve been a much better choice for the story if everything happening was in the present rather than already knowing where Peter and Miles investigation leads them. It would’ve added more interest in how Peter and Miles find the older Miles Morales.
The older Miles Morales as a character also presented as a very vanilla villain. There is so far no depth to the character and with this being a mini-series only being five issues there isn’t a lot of time to build him up as a credible villain. Spider-Men II #2 would’ve had more depth if the older Miles was focused on a bit more since he was almost nonexistent in all of this. And just appearing at the end of the issue felt like we are in the same spot with the character since that is how he appeared in the first issue.
Overall: Spider-Men II #2 finds its strength in the interaction between Peter Parker and Miles Morales. Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli do an excellent job developing the two as different types of Spider-Man who also share a big brother-little brother relationship. Developing the older Miles Morales more will be key in making Spider-Men II as good as its predecessor.