Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Nico Leon, Marte Gracia, and Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 6 out of 10
The fog of Civil War II continues to creep over the 616 in Spider-Man #10. Miles Morales recounts the latest development in the long and bloody struggle to his closest friends in an emotional but ultimately threadbare issue. Brian Michael Bendis keeps the story intimate, delving deep into Miles’ outlook on the war and the boiling anger that sometimes lurks behind the mask. While that adds an emotional hook to the issue, as a tie-in, it amounts to little more than a recap issue for those that have kept up with the main event.
Adding a hazy, almost dream-like quality to the issue is artist Nico Leon, along with colorists Marte Gracia and Rachelle Rosenberg. Leon’s tight pencils lend themselves well to the close quarters palaver that makes up the issue’s bulk, but when Miles’ talks about the battle, Leon shifts into big, bold hero shots, backlit by demanding colors from Gracia and Rosenberg. Though inessential, Spider-Man #10 is a slick character piece that adds another layer to the Ultimate castaway.
Spider-Man has gone missing, and it's up to his friends to find him. Brian Michael Bendis, an old hand at event tie-in storytelling, smartly starts small and gradually works his way up in his trademark dialogue-heavy style. Miles is eventually found by Ganke, secluded in their academy dorm, and it's there that Miles gets his friend up to speed on the recent superhero throwdown.
What follows is the kind of script that Bendis excels at: providing a human face to superheroes and their exploits. This is both a great and bad thing. What’s great is that it allows Bendis to show a new side of Miles that we haven’t seen before, one that struggles with his power and his place in the world because of it. It isn’t exactly a new idea when it comes to Spider-Men, but it is interesting to see Miles getting to that stage in his career with the seismic events of Civil War II happening in the backdrop. One of the better things about Ultimate Spider-Man was Bendis’ attention to characterization and it is still refreshing to see that carried over into the main roster/universe.
But that brings us to the bad thing about Spider-Man #10: event tie-in storytelling, specifically Bendis’s. This issue adds absolutely nothing to the overall plot of the event, or Miles’ role in it. It is a common pitfall for issues that are branded with an event’s logo on their covers and Bendis often falls into it. Spider-Man #10 is no exception, which is disappointing given its compelling emotional hook. Bendis, in the past, has taken tie-in books and given them a life beyond their event, but this tenth issue is unfortunately chained to its event, making it little more than just another angle on what readers have already experienced.
Giving Bendis’ script an intimate point of view is penciler Nico Leon and colorists Marte Gracia and Rachelle Rosenberg. Leon, who shifts well between the mundane and superheroic, also starts small and gradually grows like the script itself. Starting with Ganke’s sparse search through the stucco halls of their school and gradually growing into a crowded dorm full of teens and teen heroes, Leon delivers a nicely-rendered stage for Cory Petit’s elongated lettering of Bendis’ wordy script. But when Miles starts to talk about D.C., Leon displays a taut eye for superhero theatrics, starting with Miles’ standoff with police and ending with an epic tussle between Captain Marvel and Iron Man, seen through the mask of Miles. Bolstered by blinding yellows and deep blood reds from Marte Gracia and Rachelle Rosenberg, Leon’s pencils deliver an energy that the recap-heavy and emotional script needs.
Though not exactly a cornerstone of the Civil War II narrative, Spider-Man #10 still provides an interesting, if a bit airy, look into the mind of its leading man. Brian Michael Bendis, the architect behind this latest event craziness, delivers a nice, but inconsequential character study as the war reaches its long coming final stages. Nico Leon, Marte Gracia and Rachelle Rosenberg inject some much needed flair into the proceedings, but keep their work relatively reigned in to match Bendis’ low-key scripting. The human cost of war is always the steepest and Spider-Man #10 shows that Miles Morales may be the one paying it once the bill comes due for the Marvel Universe.