Getting to meet your heroes is amazing, but not living in their shadow is also important. That’s the central theme of the long-awaited Spider-Men II, coming in July from Marvel Comics. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, the original creative team behind Miles Morales/Spider-Man, are teaming up again for this five-issue sequel to 2012’s Spider-Men, where Miles Morales and Peter Parker met for the first time.
For those who haven’t read Spider-Men, the series ends with Peter doing a Google search to find out if there’s a Miles analogue in his universe. Spider-Men II, Bendis said, will reveal: “What did Peter Parker see when he Googled Miles Morales of the 616?”
Of course, since Miles now lives in the main Marvel universe, “Miles and Peter are dealing with each other more often.” Bendis said, “The legacy that Peter started as Spider-Man is in his face a little bit more. When [Peter] started being Spider-Man, he didn’t have the idea that other people would pick up the mantle. This premise, this theme, gets analyzed from different perspectives, and Miles and Peter are at the center of that.”
In addition to finally revealing Peter Parker’s Google search results, Bendis divulged that Spider-Men II explores the emotional impact of the first series, which dealt with “growing up looking at someone else’s legacy, trying to achieve what they’ve achieved.” It’s an issue that haunts many of us and, perhaps as a result, pervades much of Marvel’s output today; for instance, Ms. Marvel starts out as a devoted superhero fan before getting her own superpowers. In this self-awareness lies the problem of living up to one’s own legacy, both on the page and behind the scenes. How do you follow a story like Spider-Men, the impact of which still reverberates throughout the Marvel universe?
By having good artists, for one. Bendis promised that thanks to Sara Pichelli, the artist who co-created Miles Morales, and colorist Justin Posner, who worked on Spider-Men, Spider-Men II will be “as gorgeous and emotional and beautiful as the first series.” Pichelli, he continued, is “one of the best comics artists on the planet right now, and her biggest statement as an artist is Miles…I’m so happy that she said yes.” You can see what he means from this preview black-and-white art below:
But although the old team is together again, this doesn’t mean Spider-Men II will be any less original. Instead, the series asks what it means to create your own unique legacy and move away from the influences that helped to make you who you are. “Over the years,” Bendis explained, “[Miles] has come into his own, and with that comes the question: all right, that’s my hero, but maybe what I love about my hero is that they’re unique to themselves. What about me is special that I am standing here doing this?”
In this context, what does it really mean to have great power and great responsibility? Bendis wasn’t able to give too many details, but he did hint that Spider-Men II will show how “you can apply it in so many different ways to so many different characters. That’s the journey that we’re going to make a pretty big statement with at the end of this series. I think people will be surprised where we’re going with it. I really do.”
For readers who want to catch up with the action, you can get the original Spider-Men for free in the Marvel app or Marvel’s Digital Comics Shop. In the meantime, let the speculation flow. Who’s the mysterious figure in the middle of that cover? Is there another Miles Morales in the 616? Sound off in the comments!
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