SPIDER-MAN #240, the summation of Brian Michael Bendis' work on the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN series, is a truly touching finale. It draws upon real events in Bendis' life and he uses them to tell an emotional issue. If you love Miles Morales, pick up this book.
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Heartfelt Finale

This is it, folks. Brian Michael Bendis’ last issue writing Spider-Man. SPIDER-MAN #240 is the culmination of 18 years of storytelling, from ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 ‘til now. It’s a surprisingly understated issue that’s also deeply personal to Bendis.

For nearly the whole issue, Miles lays in a hospital bed, shifting in and out of consciousness, fighting a nasty viral infection. Throughout SPIDER-MAN #240, his various friends and family members stay with him and wish him well. This is probably the most touching way for Bendis to say goodbye to one of his most cherished creations. Oscar Bazaldua’s artwork this issue is, as with prior issues, a nice fit for Bendis’ writing, along with colorist Laura Martin. Overall, SPIDER-MAN #240 is a truly satisfying end to Bendis’ years-long Spider-epic.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead!

SPIDER-MAN #239 Takes Miles on a Latverian Adventure

Miles’ Hospital Stay in SPIDER-MAN #240

Last issue, Miles, with help from the Champions, stopped the Sinister Seven’s helicarrier heist before Lucia Von Bardas could get her hands on the ship. In SPIDER-MAN #240, Miles recovers from the injuries he sustained during the fight, but at the same time is stricken with a viral infection. It’s not some dastardly plot from a villain. It’s just a regular infection that anyone could get. He just so happened to get it right after this battle. While bedridden, Miles is visited by a number of important people in his life: Tony Stark, the Champions, Ganke, Peter, and even his uncle Aaron. Each character gets their own little moment with Miles, and each feels heartwarming, even Aaron’s.

SPIDER-MAN #240 page 16. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

We get to see Ganke tell Miles about the girlfriend he’s been courting for nearly the whole series and Miles’ positive reaction to it. We see the Champions tell Miles how valuable he is as a teammate. Aaron even tells Miles that perhaps he was right. Maybe Aaron could do something better with his intelligence and cunning. This part especially felt really touching.

Aaron’s death has weighed down Miles since his first adventures as a hero. Now, not only is Aaron back, but he’s also telling Miles that he’s considering a change in morality. It’s so satisfying to finally see that. I could practically feel Miles’ excitement at this news. All of these appearances felt really reminiscent of THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, where all of his allies, and even his archenemy, show up to pay their respects at Mar-Vell’s deathbed.

However, this issue was also inspired by something a little more personal.

Art Imitates Life in SPIDER-MAN #240

For those who may not know, a few months ago, right before he wrote this issue, Brian Michael Bendis fell ill with a particularly nasty case of the MRSA infection. As he wrote in the fantastic afterward to this issue (which you should absolutely read — it’s very emotional), Bendis was bedridden for an extended period of time, and he was visited by all of his friends whenever he’d gain consciousness. It’s quite clear where Bendis drew inspiration for this issue and, in my opinion, I feel like that gives this issue a huge boost of pathos. After all, Miles is close to being Bendis’ child. The large majority of his appearances were written by Bendis, and, of course, Bendis co-created him. Bendis tells such a personal story, which touches greatly on a harrowing personal ordeal. He basically poured his soul into this issue.

I’ve said in prior reviews that I found this final story arc a little plodding and slow, but this issue more than makes up for that. It’s clear that Bendis truly does still care about Miles. It’s not just some throwaway final issue that says nothing. It allows Bendis to not only say goodbye to Miles; it also lets Bendis say “thank you” to his friends and colleagues at Marvel in a meta way. It shows how much he appreciates them for visiting him during some of his darkest days. Without that personal core, this issue would have been a nice — but too understated — finale. With it, it feels like one of the greatest issues of SPIDER-MAN Bendis has written.

The Art in SPIDER-MAN #240

With this issue, Bazaldua proves that he’s a worthy successor to the amazing artists who drew Miles before him. In SPIDER-MAN #240, Bazaldua is able to convey emotion even when most pages consist of characters simply sitting in a hospital room. The best scene of the issue, both in writing and art, is when Aaron shows up. You can see the first page of the two-page spread in the first section, and the second under this paragraph. Bazaldua shows the rollercoaster of emotions Miles feels while saying no words. He goes from alert and perhaps a little scared, to shocked and surprised, to dazed bewilderment. Bazaldua accomplishes this all visually, which is just amazing.

SPIDER-MAN #240 page 17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

In addition, Laura Martin (who covered for regular colorist Justin Ponsor since he fell ill) adds the final touches to this beautiful scene. The dark coloring and heavy shadows makes this scene look stunning. The purple, late-night color of the room adds a moody touch to the scene. Instead of filling the page with drab hospital lighting, Martin makes the scene look memorable.

Final Thoughts: SPIDER-MAN #240

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This is certainly a bittersweet issue. I’m sad to see Bendis leave Miles, but at the same time, SPIDER-MAN #240 is just a beautiful issue. The deeply personal writing, the emotional artwork, and the sense of some finality make this issue so enjoyable. Who knows where Miles goes from here? Hopefully he gets his own series again soon. While nothing has been announced yet, it would be a waste not to give him his own title once again. The issue leaves his future open ended. For now, even if you haven’t been following Miles in a while, if you know the character, pick up this issue.

One Comment

  1. Bob

    May 16, 2018 at 12:19 am

    You have it wrong, look at the picture, look at the hand on the crotch, look at the comment, little miles, then shocked look, then darkness, clearly something sexual happens. It’s pretty disgusting really, and like we’re supposed to say nothing.
    Look at the pictures, tell me I’m wrong.


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