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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: The Gift

Brian Michael Bendis reveals a major moment in the life and career of Miles Morales!


By Jim Beard

With great power comes great responsibility—and funky-cool web-shooters!

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14 preview page by David Marquez

The day’s finally here when Miles Morales, heir to the Spider-Man name in the Ultimate Universe, receives the late Peter Parker’s web-shooters, and as they say, his life will never be the same again.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis explains that the events of ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #14, on sale now, come as part of the young hero’s ongoing development, a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.

Marvel.com: Brian, why the web-shooters at this point? Why is this the right time for this change in Miles’ life?

Brian Michael Bendis: Miles has proven himself. He’s been out and about a little bit. Aunt May’s been keeping an eye on it and sees that Miles is getting some bad press. Miles is being blamed like Peter used to be blamed. SPIDER-MEN was a very healing thing emotionally for Aunt May, Gwen, and everyone in Peter’s life. So it’s a little easier to let go of the things from Peter’s life. What would Peter want? Peter would want for Aunt May to give the web-shooters up. Aunt May gets a hold of Miles and says, “Here, I’m giving these to you.”

It’s the coolest thing—it’s like getting Excalibur.

Marvel.com: So it’s very much an inheritance. Do the characters see it like that?

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s a passing of the baton. It’s an inheritance. Do you know the Bill Murray movie where he inherits an elephant? And it just comes with all these problems? That’s the way I see it. “It’s really wonderful that you left me something, but now I ran out of web-fluid.” Miles has got Peter’s hand-scratched web formula, but he’s 13 and he doesn’t know how to make web-fluid. So Miles and Ganke try to make web-fluid [and] that’ll be a whole thing. He’ll be treating the webs as if they literally cost a million dollars, because they do to him. Every batch of web-fluid is a miracle. There’s a Chris Rock joke where he says that if bullets cost a thousand dollars, people would stop shooting one another. That’s how Miles is gonna be with the web-shooters.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14 preview page by David Marquez

Marvel.com: So at first it’s a blessing and then it’s a curse?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, it’s the best thing in the world. It’s like being handed Clapton’s guitar. It’s the coolest thing in the world.

Marvel.com: What else is in store for Miles in the near future?

Brian Michael Bendis: People are going to be aware pretty soon, or are aware already, that the Ultimate Universe is a gigantic disaster. It’s a huge mess. Civil war has broken out all over the country [and] New York is in martial law. Miles has an opportunity here to declare what kind of super hero he is, and he’s desperate to do it because he’s haunted by his uncle and the past of his family. He’s trying to do the right thing and be the right person. He runs to Captain America and enlists, for lack of a better word. He says, “I’m in. I want to be an Ultimate. Let me in.” And Captain America lets him in and what Miles discovers over the course of the next issues, which guest stars Spider-Woman and the rest of the Ultimates, is what it’s like to be an adult super hero.

He’ll have to decide on his own if he’s ready or where he belongs in the universe. We’re gonna have some real, old-fashioned, but very rare for the Ultimate Universe, continuity. The books are gonna touch upon each other which is something I’ve always wanted but never got to do with Mark [Millar] and Bryan [Hitch] because of their scheduling. But Sam [Humphries] and the guys over at ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES have made it very easy to bounce Miles back and forth a little bit, to really discover his place in the world of super heroes.

After that, starting in our very cool ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #16.1, an issue that David Marquez is drawing, we’re going to be introduced to a brand new Ultimate Venom. That’ll lead into issue #19 which will be the return of [artist] Sara Pichelli to ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN and it’ll be a big Miles vs. the Symbiote issue. The first very big Spider-Man villain that Miles has had to deal with.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14 preview page by David Marquez

Marvel.com: Miles has had a huge impact on a lot of fans, on you and a lot of others. Do you feel that with decisions like giving Miles the web-shooters, you’re more careful with making these changes?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’m hopefully careful with everything. With Peter, there’s a shared knowledge of what he should or shouldn’t do, and what he can or can’t do. With Miles, there’s this gigantic arc of discovery; he’s much younger and there’s much more going on with him with regards to who he is and what kind of man will he be. With that come these moments that are a bit more mythological, for lack of a better word. I’m not joking—when Miles is handed the web-shooters, it’s like getting Excalibur. This is your Bar Mitzvah pen. This is it. These moments matter a great deal, they just have a different wrinkle to them because it’s someone who’s never had these moments before. Peter has had these moments.

But you’re so right [about his impact], because I’ve been out of the convention circuit for a while, but at these summer conventions there are so many pictures of people dressed as Miles, doing cosplay. Just today on Tumblr, there was some girl who couldn’t find a Miles shirt in her size so she made it herself. There’s a real passion that is the greatest thing that any comic book creator could ever hope for. Me and Sara and David love Miles so much, and I’m so happy that the love is making it onto the page. We’re feeling it back and it’s making us feel like it’s doing something worth doing. When SPIDER-MEN #4 came out a couple of weeks ago, there was such an outpouring of emotion. It was so wonderful. I’ve never had a day like that in my career.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14 cover by Jorge Molina

Marvel.com: So would you say the reaction to Miles is even more than what you ever expected when he was created?

Brian Michael Bendis:  There are two ways that Miles could have gone and I’m not being cheeky. There is a version of Miles where that’s the jump the shark moment of all jump the shark moments. You took the book that everyone likes, killed the lead character, and replaced him with someone nobody knows. You’re an idiot. That spot was in my head as well. It just felt like I had to do it. But if it didn’t work out, at least it would have been a gigantic crash and burn the likes of which we rarely see. I’m too savvy of a pop-culture professor not to know that this is some crazy-territory stuff. The fact that it worked out is a huge relief. I know some people are baffled by why we made him so young, but he’s a very emotional character. When you’re that young, everything matters. It’s the first hurt, it’s the first heartbreak, it’s the first time you figure out the world’s messed up.

Marvel.com: And it’s the first web-shooters.

Brian Michael Bendis: Exactly. You always remember your first web-shooters! [Laughs]

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