SPIDER-MAN #237 BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, OSCAR BAZALDUA, AND BRIAN REBER
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
SPIDER-MAN #237 prepares Miles Morales for Bendis' final issue. Bendis tells an emotionally resonant tale of multiple families reuniting, for better or worse. The art makes the issue all the more resonant. A must read for Spider-fans.
90 %
EMOTIONS RUN RAMPANT

Even with the end in sight, SPIDER-MAN #237 proves that Bendis isn’t running out of steam any time soon.

The issue, written by Bendis, with art by Oscar Bazaldua and Brian Reber, features a few interesting reveals and a nice subversion of a longstanding trope. Bendis writes the issue with his usual panache. Bazaldua and Reber provide art in SPIDER-MAN #237 that rivals Bendis’ deft dialogue. Why is this one of this week’s best books? Find out below!

Miles and Aaron, Together Again in SPIDER-MAN #237

Last issue, Miles Morales learned the identity of the new Iron Spider: his uncle, Aaron Davis. But wait, you may ask, “Wasn’t Aaron killed way back in 2012’s ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #13?” In SPIDER-MAN #237, Miles and Aaron both have the same questions. Aaron remembers dying and waking up in a new universe afterwards. Readers of the SPIDER-MEN II miniseries may know why, but I won’t spoil it. In the meantime, Aaron wants to reconnect with Miles, the same nephew who inadvertently killed him.

SPIDER-MAN #237
SPIDER-MAN #237 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Understandably, Miles’ suspicions run rampant. So he flees to warn his parents. Luckily, they’re used to Miles’ super hero shenanigans. They obey Miles’ pleas to leave town with barely any questions asked.

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Subverting Tropes in SPIDER-MAN #237

In this issue, Bendis smartly avoids a longstanding superhero comic cliché. Too many comics include the trope of a supervillain learn a hero’s secret identity. Then, they immediately go to attack the hero’s family. Much of the time, the hero gets there too late. The villain either captures the family or kills a member. Bendis makes this issue stand out by having Miles’ parents get out of town before Aaron can harm them. It becomes a refreshing change of pace, and it makes the final confrontation between Miles and Aaron all the more personal and private.

A Heartbreaking Subplot in SPIDER-MAN #237

Recently, Miles’ supervillain-turned-hero friend Bombshell learned of her supervillain mother’s release from prison. Her mother confronted her and attempted to blackmail her into becoming her villainous sidekick again. She even threatened harming Spider-Man. In SPIDER-MAN #237, Bombshell wakes up to her mother drunkenly telling her to obey her. Her mother physically assaults her while toying with her emotions. She tells her that she’ll be responsible for Spidey’s death if she steps out of line.

Why Brian Michael Bendis Leaving Marvel Isn’t a Bad Thing

Bombshell caves with a resigned, broken “’kay. Just leave him alone.” This moment transcends silly superhero fights. It portrays something very real. Physically and emotionally abusive parents don’t just exist on the comic page. Bendis may take it to an extreme. However, the idea of a parent threatening and toying with their child’s emotions exists in real life. Bendis powerfully shows how abuse can occur. It also shows why children are forced to put up with it. Especially, if they aren’t old enough to live alone. Hopefully, this will lead to a more empowering message as Bendis’ run concludes.

Emotionally Resonant Art

SPIDER-MAN #237
SPIDER-MAN #237 page 5. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Bazaldua and Reber convey the emotions Bendis writes in his dialogue adroitly. When Miles’ parents reunite after a brief separation, you can see the love they have for each other in their faces. Jefferson looks remorseful for the things he did in the past. Rio looks hurt, but she also looks like she misses Jefferson. She’s hurt because she loves him so much and was lied to in the past.

This works even if there was no dialogue. You can still generally glean what happened on this page. That proves that Bazaldua and Reber know what they’re doing.

Final Thoughts: SPIDER-MAN #237

SPIDER-MAN #237 shines as a solid issue. Bendis’ emotionally resonant writing and Bazaldua and Reber’s matching art make it one of the best comics of the week. Bendis not only tells an engaging story but also makes a harrowing statement with Bombshell’s subplot. I hope the rest of Bendis’ run stays this strong up to the finale.

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