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The new Spider-man is black

By Jamil of Jamil's Comics

Mike Morales, a young teen has taken the mantle of Spider-man when Peter Parker died a hero's death last year in the Ultimate Universe of Marvel. He is inexperienced, has different powers than Peter (Camouflage, Venom Strike) and he wears a new costume.

The focus of this change, however, is the colour of his skin.

Seriously, you can go through the various blogs regarding this, and it will confirm this statement. Comments in one such blog was “Why can't the black community come up with its own Superheroes?” and “Marvel should not patronise us black people by making an icon coloured. If you really care about us, have more black people in the creative process. Learn what makes us tick, and write about us.”

Reading the first 3 issues of the new Ultimate Spider-man, I thought I was reading about the black community. I find a teenage person who feels responsible for his world interesting. Mike's dad is the new Ben Parker. New times mean new teachings. New challenges mean new values. The updates by master writer Brian Michael Bendis is on the money.

Brain Michael Bendis is white. His signature style is slow paced, well-constructed, heavy dialogued story telling. His style gives an impression you are reading a novel, rather than a comic. His is not the classic dramatic dialogues or the in-your-face action filled story telling of 'the man' Stan Lee. And the fans will definitely be disappointed if they want a recreation of those classics. But if you have enjoyed the stories of J. M. Straczynski of Amazing Spider-man in the recent past, you are in for a treat.

Mike Morales' father is an ex-thief, who has served jail time. He sits with his only son, explains how he was driven to crime because he was stupid and could not see the opportunities open to him in his youth. Brian does not explicitly explain why Mike is a hero, but somehow you know he is a hero. Bitten by a radioactive spider from Osborn Corp., he gains spider powers. Yeah, isn't it the hoot? But hey, this is comics. And you will be surprised how Brain has delivered the story and DIDN'T make this seem corny.

The art work by Sara Pachelli is fabulous! I cannot remember the last time I saw such detailed backgrounds in comics. Two thumbs up. The series is packed with drama and solid story telling. You know it's a good story when you are enjoying reading it and it ends so soon. The real life feel to the story is of course the trademark of the Ultimate universe (This is sort of the Earth-2 of the Marvel Universe). The stories are highly recommended for the advanced readers of ages 15 and up.

I wish Mike Morales good luck. I hope in the future the reservations about the colour of his skin will become secondary and he will establish himself as a great role model for the younger audience. Peter Parker was a young, rash hero when he made his debut in 1962. He has proven his worth. If we give Mike the chance, maybe he will do likewise.

Last week, we had an open topic. Needless to say, people took full advantage of the freedom and wrote some truly brilliant pieces. The write up selected below, intentionally or unintentionally, fitted in with the situation we're in. It's the end of winter. It's a time of resurrections, of new beginnings. For next week, our topic will be: Conscience. As with most of our topics it can be twisted any way you like. You can use the word once in your write up and write any story you like. Or you can tell a story about guilty conscience, or even con-science, tale of a thief. The thing is, you guys have complete freedom over topics, like you did last week. The exercise is to extract that freedom. Submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before Sunday noon. Word limit: 500 words.


By Shaker Hossain

Time was at once the essence to the future. In here, my surroundings stood still. Time, the constant tick tock suddenly went numb.

My story checked out, the usual I guess, crash and burn. When I was behind the wheel - crossing the one hundred mark - adrenaline rushed through my weak veins, and I had nothing to lose, no family, no life, no money, no love. Never wanted to stop. This giant truck honked my ears tone deaf. Got distracted. Cursing and driving was never my strong suite. Wedged right in through the rear window; my entire life flashing before my eyes; moments are never forgotten.

In this subliminal reality, I am greeted by two familiar accomplices; life and death. Each pulling my wounded self, each to reclaim what is truly theirs, where I belong. The cause which we all stood for, gone, forgotten, destroyed. A little part of it died in me everyday, while the shadow of my former self hides away from the real face of terror. Lying helpless, weak and powerless on a hospital bed, wired up, my eternal slumber. There are no ways out. Insanity has a convincing pace; doesn't take too long overcome the mind. Although my body has been shaped to a demeaning physical state, the mind remained strong as ever. I was trapped in my own prison, a catastrophic limbo. So how low
could I go?

As I wander through this empty realm, my footsteps leave no traces. Lost? Yes, I keep coming back to the same place. Crunching and crawling, mumbling gibberish, deprived from the one thing that kept me in joy. The darkness is growing, but from the distance, there arrives a familiar face. It's like looking into a mirror, a shadow of my former self.

I get back on my feet, the love of all things, the pride of human kind, the power of purity and struggle rushed in me once again. I felt new, reborn, rising up from the rubble of ashes. I decide to wake up from this obscure nightmare, and claim my rightful throne. Doctors and nurses suddenly rush to my side; to help. I don't need help. My heart rate goes down suddenly, and everything around me becomes quiet and numb. They're about to pronounce me dead, the curtains are about to close. I remember the day I was born, the day I opened my eyes and embraced reality, the greatest feeling, a scary feeling, an old familiar feeling?

My eyes are no longer shut; my body is no longer bruised. Carved to physical perfection, I scream in joy, in vitality for the cause of a return to heroism. Put my feet down on the cold ground, and witness power again. I look around me; people celebrate as the hero they once knew returns.

I take one last look at the world, and fly away in everlasting joy. Freedom never felt so good.



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