I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Peter Parker is dead. Long live Spider-Man.
This story is about Miles Morales, a black kid living in a poor neighborhood who finally has the chance to make something of himself when he wins a lottery to enter a fancy charter school. When he visits his Uncle Aaron to tell him the news, though, Miles gets bitten by a spider labelled with a the number 42 - a spider that originated in the Osborn laboratories, and that crept into Aaron's bag when he was doing his thieving there.
Miles is a new Spider-Man for a world that has been left Spider-Man-less. He's got his own set of problems, and while his parents are still alive, his father's backstory - which includes jail time - plays a small part in sharing this story. Mostly, though, Miles spends time with his friend and roommate at the new school, and it's friend, and Gwen Stacy, who convince him to become Spider-Man in the end. In fact, at Parker's funeral, Miles manages to get close enough to Gwen to ask her why Peter did it, and she relays the classic 'with great power comes great responsibility,' line as she relays the story of Peter Parker's origins as Spider-Man.
It's a new take on Miles Morales - who I hear was another version of Spider Man, Spider Man 2099, but I never read those series. It's also a new take on Spider-Man in the Ultimate Marvel universe. And I like it. Bendis keeps up his humor, and many of the one liners made me laugh out loud. But he also plumbs the depth of Mile's character: he doesn't want to be a hero, but his own sense of justice and right and wrong force him into the role when he gets his new powers. He hesitates long enough to see Parker die, though, and feels that responsibility. Perhaps if he'd gone out as soon as he'd figured out he was super-powered, he could have helped, and saved Peter Parker's life.
The running gag about him originally heroing in a bought costume exactly like Parker's is fantastic. It's worth mentioning on its own.
Docked one stars because the last issue - a fallout issue - made one mention of Spider-Man but seemed to be filler to me.