'Generations: Spider-Man' #1 Review: Genuine, But Some Worrying Undertones

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Alternate cover to Generations: Spider-Man by Olivier Coipel and Laura Martin
Generations: Spider-Man alternate cover by Olivier Coipel and Laura Martin

As the Vanishing Point claims Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, he finds himself in the college of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, in his younger days of yore. He continuously runs into Parker, eventually following him home and discovering the crisis that Peter Parker is currently going through: Aunt May is sick, and Peter is waiting to figure out if she will recover.

This comic comes so close to working so well, but there is a particularly glaring issue that holds it back. We'll get to what that is momentarily.

Let's start with the positives. Miles finds his younger self getting to meet Ganke for the first time, and it's a sweet scene. The two immediately connect, and you get to understand how they became best friends.

When the Miles goes to finds Peter Parker at his home, Peter is on the borderline of a breakdown, and Miles helps him get through the night. Peter doesn't have to go it alone; he has a friend when he really needs it.

If you haven't guessed, there isn't really any action in this comic. That'll turn some people off, but I thought it could have worked. Again, it comes really close to working.

Here's the problem: Miles admits that he's not the "real" Spider-Man, and that is part of the "lesson" he learns from the experience. He says that it "belongs" to Peter Parker. It's "his" because Peter made it "personal." It's supposed to apply to Miles because he's been drifting away from the role, and this is supposed to teach Miles that he should embrace the role. But that's undercut by the fact that he says he knows he's not the "real" Spider-Man.

Yes, Miles Morales is not the first Spider-Man, but that doesn't make him any less Spider-Man than Peter Parker. This comic feels like it's kowtowing to the more… spirited audience who doesn't like the characters like Miles, Kamala Khan, Jane Foster as Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Riri Williams, and Moon Girl. And that sucks, because many of these characters are great in these roles, and it's disappointing that Marvel looks to be phasing most, if not all, out. You can have both; just look at, well, Spider-Man.

This comic feels like it's saying: "Don't worry, Miles knows his place." That's…a worrying sentiment, to say the least.

No, it feels kind of racist. I'm not going to coat this one in meekness and playing coy. It's kind of racist. It looks like the black guy is telling the white guy that he knows he will always be second place.

I'm not sure if Brian Michael Bendis intended this message. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Things like this do happen unintentionally, but the message is still there and not hard to read.

Interior art from Generations: Spider-Man by Ramon Perez and Msassyk
Generations: Spider-Man art by Ramon Perez and Msassyk

Ramon Perez's work here does not disappoint at least. It has a classic feel that matches the era of Spider-Man it's tapping into with the story. It still has its own identity and has a unique flare to it. Msassyk's color work complements this classic feeling with a pseudo-sepia chromatic scale. Overall, the artwork looks great.

This comic almost works, but then it gets a bit into racist undertone territory. I can't really get past that. It sucks, because I was really grooving on it until then.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.