"You Get To Discover What You Can Really Do"
Remember how I was worried about Miles being written too similarly to Peter back in Ultimate Fallout? Bendis has completely proved me wrong. Miles is his own man, mostly because he lacks the confidence of Peter and especially lacks the desire to be different, stand out, or be a superhero.
Beneath the surface of his personality, Peter always wanted to fit in and be cool. Almost everything about Miles' body language (beautifully drawn by Sara Pichelli) suggests that Miles wants to blend in and just exist. He is drawn as super shy and, without Ganke, he lacks the initiative and confidence to put his powers to the test or even use them. I never got the impression that Peter was scared in early Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles is terrified in action without preventing him from taking action. The most striking page in the book happens after he saves two people from a burning building. Miles throws up and just sits there crying. He doesn't want anything to do with this and it scares the hell out of him.
Pichelli's art is my favorite part of the book. Everything that Bendis has the restraint to not say, she conveys through gorgeous facial expressions. Unlike all of Bagley's art in early USM, everyone in the book dresses like normal, modern kids. Gone are the ridiculous midriff-baring halter tops on MJ and Gwen that NO SCHOOL IN AMERICA would allow girls to show up in. Good riddance. I always thought they made the book look ridiculous and hopelessly 90s.
USM is a chatty book, for sure. It's Bendis, after all. Despite that, I feel like Bendis is exhibiting tremendous restraint in his writing. These characters talk and act like real kids and that includes how much they would talk and how much they would say through unspoken looks and gestures. The dynamic between Ganke and Miles is fun and you can see why the two would be friends.
I can see where people might be complaining about Bendis decompression, but I don't mind the pacing of USM. What's the rush? Just because it's a cape book doesn't mean we need all kinds of action. The groundwork for the rest of Miles' series is being laid and I'm loving every panel of it.