Spoilers After The Break: Spider-Man #3 Review

Spider-Man-003

I think I’ve read every appearance of Miles Morales.  I’m working on reading every appearance of Peter Parker.  But now that the Ultimate and 616 universes have been blended together, it brings up some questions.  More on this and Spider-Man #3 (with spoilers) after the break.

Most of what I’m about to geek on has nothing to do with issue #3 of the new Spider-Man series.  But reading that issue got my mind running on something Tom Kelly would tell me not too think too much about.  Continuity.

Current Marvel continuity, at least in terms of Miles Morales, is in a word: fusterclucked.  (I try to keep things PG.)  The problem is that for the most part you can ignore Secret Wars ever happened and each character and series show a natural progression and history.  This holds for Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Captain America, Iron Man, Captain Marvel,  Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and everyone else.  But there is one difference between Miles and those other characters.  His history took place in the now extinct 1610 universe.

Does Miles remember the events from the 1610?  From what I recall from interviews with writer Brian Micheal Bendis, he does.  This has to be a huge head trip for him.  But it also puts him into a state not dissimilar to Wolverine at the end of the movie version of Days of Future Past.

There seem to be two timelines at work here.  (Well, three, the 616 Miles timeline that we know nothing about and can “safely” ignore.)  The 1610 timeline and the timeline of events that have occurred on the new Prime Earth in the “don’t call me the 616” universe.  Does Miles have memories from both timelines?  This seems like it would drive him insane.  If he only has the memories from the 1610, how does he have any idea what happened in the new timeline.  He must be in a perpetual state of confusion.  No wonder his grades are suffering.

So let’s forget that Bendis says that Miles remembers the 1610.  (And if I have that wrong, please let me know.)  That means that Miles only remembers his new history.  Which is great for him from a “I’m not going to go completely crazy soon” point of view.  But as far as the readers go, nothing in the 1610 “happened” to Miles and for all intents and purposes, this is not the same Miles Morales.

We have all this background information on Miles from the 1610, but all of that has to be brought into question.  Miles mother is still alive, so obviously those events didn’t happen.  But Miles uncle is dead, so that (or some version of it) did happen?  What else is different?  Even Miles origin has to be brought into question.  The recap page for the book simply states that Miles was “bitten by a genetically altered spider that gave him incredible arachnid-like powers”.  True, but intentionally vague.  That spider that bite him?  A product of Oscorp.  But not the 616 Oscorp.  So where did it come from?

Also, one of the key factors in Miles putting on the webs was to take over for and honour 1610 Peter Parker after he died fighting Norman Osborn.  While many of Miles 1610 supporting characters seem to have made the jump to Prime Earth, I doubt very much there are another Peter Parker and Norman Osborn out there.  So if they didn’t exist and their battle never inspired Miles, what did?

This whole thing has given me a very New 52 vibe and not in a good way.  When DC rebooted their continuity they fell into the same trap by not starting from scratch.  No one (readers and probably creators) had any idea what had happened in continuity and what did not.  Made even more confusing by the fact that DC tried to have its cake and eat it too by leaving the Batman and Green Lantern continuities mostly untouched…until they turned around and contradicted that on multiple occasions.

Will Marvel ever address this?  I have my doubts.  We’re probably just meant to accept it and be happy that Miles is in the main universe and move on.

(On a side note, why is the 1610 destroyed anyway?  Not that I want it back, but if <redacted for Secret Wars spoilers> why can’t they recreate the 1610?)

If you think that Spider-Man #3 touched on any of this and that is what made me think about it, you’d be wrong.  There is no mention of Secret Wars, incursions, 1610 or Miles history…oh wait…maybe one thing…

There is a key sequence between the Black Cat, Felicia Hardy and long time Original Recipe Spider-Man foe Hammerhead.  For some reason Felicia has decided that she wants Miles out of the picture.  She has come to Hammerhead for help in doing that.  But here’s the thing, Hammerhead has no idea who she is talking about.  Felicia wants to put a bounty on the head of “this new Spider-Man”.  Hammerhead asks, “There’s a new one?”

Just how long has Miles been around on Prime Earth?  It’s definitely months, but how many?  And it seems to be a short enough time that a mob boss like Hammerhead has never heard of him.  Did Miles only appear on Prime Earth after the incursions (which I believe the people of Earth remember, but I don’t know how they think it was resolved).  That would mean Miles has been around for at least 8 months or so thanks to the timeline jump post Secret Wars.  Probably long enough that Hammerhead should have heard of him, but forgiving that, it still brings up the question of what happened previously?

(Editor’s note: Jimmy.  Let it go.)

Ok, ok.  Just think about it.  Actually, don’t.  I think I’ve given myself an aneurysm doing it for you.

As for this issue, you know who doesn’t appear?  Spider-Man.  And that team up with Ms. Marvel that is teased on the front cover?  It occurs in Miles bedroom.  And before you get your minds in the gutter, Miles can’t leave to go out on reconnaissance because he is grounded.  “It’s so embarrassing.”

But you know what, it holds up.  Even without any punches being thrown or any action whatsoever for that matter.  The writing is smart and crisp and touching.  And Sara Pichelli’s art looks great, even if she’s limited to drawing people in street clothes and getting “huggies” from their grandma.

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