Spider-Man #4: I've never considered Bendis to be the most nuanced of writers, but damn if he doesn't somehow manage to have Miles and Ganke argue about race and size in a way that didn't make me roll my eyes. Bendis really conveys the pain that Ganke feels over his weight, and I was disappointed in Miles that he couldn't at least validate that pain, even if he's not wrong in saying that he's still pretty sure that he's got a tougher road to hoe as a blatino kid. When Ganke outs Miles to Goldballs, Miles is convinced that he did it from a place of anger, whereas Bendis lets us know that Ganke did it from a place of concern: he wants Goldballs to become Miles confidant, since he worries that Miles is struggling to balance being a hero and a teenager. But, Goldballs might not get a chance to have that chat with him, since Hammerhead captures Miles on behalf of the Black Cat at the end of the issue. I still have no idea why the Cat has singled out Miles for her ire, but Bendis does a great job showing us what it must be like suddenly discovering that you're the target of heat-seeking missiles while swinging over Midtown.
Spidey #6: I was skeptical of this series at the start, but, honestly, I think that it's my favorite one on the market right now. Thompson has elevated writing a teenage superhero to an art form, as Peter struggles over asking Gwen to the Winter Formal. Thankfully, the Vulture stole some blue prints from Stark Industries, so Peter gets to ask Iron Man for dating advice. (Wouldn't you?) I think the secret to Thompson's success is a real mastery of the smaller moments that convey characterization and tone. He plays with the fact that Iron Man is still known as Tony's bodyguard in this era. It's a thinly veiled secret, one that even Tony isn't all that committed to keeping, as seen in his conversation with Agent Coulson. But, Tony marvels at the fact that Peter is a kid, and he treats him with those gloves, urging him to be careful but then taking him to fight Fin Fang Foom to take his mind off Gwen's rejection. (It's probably why it's a good thing Tony isn't a parent.) Again, despite the light tone of the series, Thompson's characters express a wider range of emotions and feelings than most other authors can manage. It's my favorite Spidey-related series on the market right now, and we're in boom times.
Uncanny Avengers #9: I didn't read "Avengers: Rage of Ultron," so the references to Hank Pym sacrificing himself to defeat Ultron have been news to me. (That said, I am happy to see graphic novels serve as part of continuity. I'd love to see Marvel revive its graphic-novel line. It was always so exciting in the '80s and '90s when a new one got issued.) Duggan does a great job in not only filling in the details, but showing why a Pym-controlled Ultron could be a problem. Duggan reminds us that Hank's pretty healthy ego already made him feel like he was above humanity, even before he merged with Ultron. As such, it's clear why Steve is treating Hank as a threat, not an ally. The entire story is kicked up a notch thanks to Larraz's pencils. I'm not familiar with him, but I hope he stays on this title for a while. He seems a perfect match for Duggan.