In its role as a penultimate issue in a story arc, Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #5 fulfills its goals of having enough twists and turns to set up for a real doozie of a final issue. But Brian Michael Bendis manages to stick in as much character development as possible for Miles and supporting cast members, like Maria Hill and J. Jonah Jameson, who are real allies to him in various ways. Dave Marquez continues show how different a character Miles is from Peter Parker from an early chase sequence to even how Miles acts out of costume. From the first page on, Marquez to experiment with layouts to make action scenes more polished, make character interactions more poignant, or just build suspense. Colorist Justin Ponsor is in his element contrasting the bright lights and deep shadows of New York at night. My one real criticism of Miles Morales #5 is that the secondary villains, who are twins dressing like Spider-Man to rob banks, are underdeveloped even though Bendis and Marquez connect them thematically to Peter Parker and Miles’ duality as Spider-Man.
Miles Morales #5 has a steady balance between action and character beats. Bendis and Marquez give readers a frenetic chase scene with guns a-blazing and Spider powers thwipping or whatever Miles’ venom stings and invisibility powers sound like. Then, there is a full page scene of Miles just processing and freaking out about what has been happening over the past story arc in the snappy inner monologue that Bendis has perfected with characters, like Miles, Peter Parker, and Jessica Jones back in Alias. Justin Ponsor turns all the lights off on his color palette for that page, which is the anchor for the rest of the issue’s plot and also a great reflection on Miles’ career as Spider-Man. From this foundation, Bendis and Marquez craft the rest of Miles’ adding supporting characters along the way. Maria Hill and J. Jonah Jameson have some character defining moments, which I won’t spoil for you and shows how they have evolved with the rest of the Ultimate Universe. and the overall plot is full of twists and turns with well-choreographed action from Marquez, who showcases how dynamic these web-slingers can be especially paired with the buildings and streets of New York. There is also a splash of humor to help alleviate some of the more thrilling or bleak events of this comic.
Justin Ponsor’s colors really impressed me in Miles Morales #5. He puts Miles’ red and black costume to good use as he tries to evade the police and get home safe. Ponsor also plays up the brighter reds and yellows of police sirens and other things to build an atmosphere of fear and tension for the young fugitive superhero. Marquez adds to this tension with his panel layouts as short, sharp panels with Miles or another character’s face in focus makes it seem like something catastrophic is going to happen. This works well with Bendis’ choppy dialogue for Miles. Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #5 is a thrill ride of a comic with thematically relevant panel layouts and gorgeous colors that takes from its busy day to show some new insights about Miles Morales and his supporting cast.