Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Javier Garron
As much of a huge Spider-man fan I am, I’ve never been very attached to Miles. Now that Bendis left the book to go work for DC, I found myself even more unsure of the character’s longevity. I was unsure that he could thrive under anyone else’s pen. If there’s one name that could inspire some confidence in me, it would be Saladin Ahmed.
A common pet peeve of mine in comics is an introduction starting with “My name is blank”. This issue has that, but interestingly enough Ahmed actually weaves it into the plot. It makes a tired trope feel fresh and was a nice surprise to start the book with. The plot is well-constructed beyond that, though a bit predictable. It’s obviously very Ultimate Spider-man inspired, but with real-world current events sprinkled on top. Without this cultural relevancy the book might feel like a retread, but luckily it ends up feeling as refreshing as it is familiar. Plus, it’s got an out-of-touch Rhino. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?
The character-work is all very solid. We are given quick introductions to Miles’ supporting cast, who all feel distinct despite their limited screen-time. Well, maybe besides Miles’ girlfriend who is, so far, a piece of cardboard. Miles’ characterization is also some of the best I’ve seen from him since his creation. It sold me with this line from his narration, “I’ve never been more sure of my power, but I’ve never been more unsure of my responsibility.” This is, in its context, a very powerful moment for Miles. It gave me a sense of who he is better than almost anything from the Bendis runs. On the other hand, some of the dialogue isn’t great. Sometimes it feels like a 43-year-old man imitating what he thinks teenagers sound like, which is exactly what’s happening, but it certainly shouldn’t feel that way. That’s not to say that the dialogue is all bad. It usually feels very natural, but it can just occasionally lean too far into “fellow kids” territory.
The art by Javier Garron is nothing short of spectacular. It’s extremely expressive even when Miles is in costume. His line work is impressive, and he’s crafted some very thoughtful page layouts. There’s one particularly impressive page in which Miles is web swinging across three different panels, and it all just flows so nicely and naturally. Garron understands motion in comics, and he’s clearly got a strong eye for storytelling. I’ve never read a book of his until today, but I’ll certainly be on the lookout for him in the future.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is an impressive display of everything I love about Spider-Man tales. While it is a bit predictable, it manages to rejuvenate its simplistic plot with a heavier focus on current events. A solid cliffhanger and wonderful art will leave you wanting more from what may end up being Ahmed’s best work since Black Bolt.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1
A solid cliffhanger and wonderful art will leave you wanting more from what may end up being Ahmed’s best work since Black Bolt.