(Panini Books)

THE fledgling webslinger, aka 14-year-old Miles Morales, remains determined to honour the legacy of the late Peter Parker, despite obstructions from police and public alike, in this second volume focusing the adventures of the new Ultimate Spider-Man.

Unlike Parker, whose Uncle Ben inspired him to follow the lesson that “with great power comes great responsibility”, Miles’ Uncle Aaron is a far less positive role model, living a double life as the masked criminal The Prowler.

Returning to the States after crossing paths with Mexican crimelord the Scorpion, Aaron stumbles across proof positive that his nephew has adopted the identity of the new wall crawler, having played a decisive role in the accident which gave him his powers.

Meanwhile, Miles is caught up trying to juggle his personal life with his costumed career, including developing a fighting style which is an improvement on the random acts of jumping around and hitting things which has somehow kept him alive to date. The Daily Bugle’s revelation that there is a second Spider-Man patrolling New York just weeks after the death of Parker divides the city, even as Miles slowly proves his crime-fighting capabilities by foiling assorted muggers and super-powered thugs.

With the Scorpion hot on his trail, the Prowler threatens to expose Miles’ double life to his parents unless he helps him defeat the gang boss, leading to an alliance which is certain to have dramatic consequences for everyone involved…

The parallels and contrasts between Parker and Morales are sure to merit further examination in the months to come, but here it is the obvious differences between Uncles Ben and Aaron which propel the narrative in unexpected directions.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis has achieved the remarkable. He killed off the incredibly popular Ultimate version of Peter Parker and replaced him with a new character who has not only already won over readers, but has proved there’s scope for a variety of fresh and fascinating stories to be told featuring this incarnation of Spidey.