So Spider-Men II has come to a close and with that one of Bendis’s Marvel books has finished. Finished before he leaves for a fresh set of characters over at DC. Now everyone’s already talked about how monumental the move is but I want to talk about this series, and issue five in particular as I believe it can represent Bendis’s final days at Marvel.
(Heavy spoilers for the series)
First of all my opinion of the series. It’s pretty much nonsense. Personally it failed to achieve the heights of the previous Spider-Men. An argument could be made that there was no reason for this sequel. That argument couldn’t really be disputed until issue five. Sure everyone wanted to know about the other Miles Morales but since Bendis himself didn’t even seem to know I was fine with it being a cheap cliffhanger.
To back up what I’ve just said, I believe issue five encapsulates everything Bendis feels about leaving Marvel. As such this single issue makes the series worth reading. Rather than write a long opinion piece in prose (which I’m sure will appear in Iron Man #700) about leaving his home, Bendis has constructed this story in particular to tell readers how he truly feels about leaving Marvel.
Now my evidence for this is a little all over the place so bear with me.
Consider Miles Morales as representing Brian Michael Bendis, and Peter Parker as Marvel Comics.
The issue (and by proxy the series) is about Peter Parker coming to terms with Miles Morales as an equal Spider-Man. The issue opens with Peter Parker interior monologuing before being interrupted by Miles who is wearing himself thin in trying to find answers. Like readers he wants to know about the other Miles Morales but all he’s done is fail so far. Sometimes, you just don’t get what you want. Miles claims that he hasn’t been himself lately since going on this mission. Now I feel (and this is obviously 100% my silly idea) that Bendis too, is looking for something that he can’t find. He wants something more creative and can’t find it in the Marvel Universe. Possibly because he’s already written several fantastic stories for several fantastic characters. But I read this as Bendis admitting he’s struggling to continue writing for Marvel, until big boy Peter Parker (Marvel Comics) sits him down and tells him how hard being Spider-Man is (sticking to one set of characters forever).
Some comic book nonsense ensues for a few pages before both Miles meet one on one. Everything has been building to this moment. And what happens? ‘Evil’ Miles shoots Spidey Miles and disappears forever. That’s it. Miles gets no closure, the thing he’s been chasing for so long just shoots him in the shoulder and vanishes. Now I believe ‘evil’ Miles represents the thing Bendis is searching for. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I see the parallel here. Possibly this series is Bendis’s other Miles. He’s been searching for this story for years given the gap between series and now that it’s arrived there’s little closure. Maybe Spider-Men II played a part in convincing Bendis that he wanted to move on to other things.
In as ‘on the nose’ a statement as possible, Peter even tells Miles “There’s no such thing as closure.’
So what does happen to ‘evil’ Miles?
He arrives in a new universe. One with an eerie resemblance to the Ultimate Universe. Mark Bagley guest stars as the artist for these pages in my favourite cute reference in comics. Morales finds his girlfriend and they hit it off great. Just as Ultimate Spider-Man and Green Goblin crash through the restaurant to make a cameo. This is followed by ‘the gang’ who appear to be a mixture of the Ultimates and Bendis characters, including Riri Williams. I see this universe as Bendis’s. Finally he has a universe all to himself, where Peter Parker never died and everything continued happily ever after. It’s all the best parts of the original Ultimate Spider-Man run, mixed with cameos of his other favourite creations. This is the peace for Bendis that his characters are alive somewhere.
Really, ‘evil’ Miles wasn’t looking for his girlfriend in another universe, Bendis was looking for his creations.
And with that ‘closure’ we return to our Miles Morales as he puts down his broken mask stating he’s going to “find out what else [he] might be.” This is as solid of ‘evidence’ as I have. This seems like a really obvious way of Bendis saying “I want to do something else.” His character, his Miles, is content with his past as Spider-Man but wants something different now. Bendis is looking for a new challenge over at DC, and he uses Miles Morales to say.
Now maybe I’m looking into this too much (I am) but for what it’s worth Spider-Men II issue five has entertained me more than anything else of late purely from these meta aspects. Picking apart each scene and their possible meanings has been great fun. I’ll miss Bendis in Marvel but I respect his decision and I look forward to his DC work with interest.
What do you think? Am I on something? Comment and let me know.