Miles Morales – Spider-Man #1
By Saladin Ahmed, Javier Garrón & David Curel
With Into the Spiderverse very much turning out to be a hit it’s only natural for Marvel to have a new Miles Morales comic on shelves (he’s also having his time to shine in the hit PS4 game as a playable character) and this solid debut from talented writer Saladin Ahmed is very much a palate-cleanser that introduces newcomers to Miles as a character and his role within the Marvel universe as Spider-Man, thanks to a handy journal. Keeping a journal is not entirely a new device for characters to have but it works here, as we get an insight into Miles’ life balancing school with his life as a costumed superhero.
The book is fun, fast-paced and engaging to read. Ahmed introduces us one-by-one to the key characters in Miles’ life, Ganke et al all feature, and readers who have never even read a Spider-Man comic before regardless of whether or not it is Peter or Miles behind the mask and jump in just fine. It flows smoothly, ending on a cliffhanger that establishes both the roles of the villain and Miles. Miles Morales – Spider-Man #1 is a perfect example of how to introduce new readers to this corner of Marvel’s world.
Having Miles as a character rather than Peter allows readers to fall into that familiar cycle of balancing school and super-heroism in a classic way. There’s no feeling of a ‘been there, done that’ as this issue still feels remarkably fresh. Its tropes are not the be all and end all, using them in the best way possible. The book does a good job at exploring the differences between Peter and Miles too when Peter was at school, with Miles being more respected and not as socially awkward. He’s a creative writer, too – and it plays into his character nicely.
Javier Garrón and David Curiel are on pencils and colours respectively and their art works nicely together, bringing Spider-Man’s world to life in a vivid, exciting way. The action scenes are well drawn and clear, easy to follow. We also get a nice look into how Miles is feeling thanks to the artists’ superb grasp of characters and their emotions. It’s also interesting to see their approach to Rhino, and the fight scenes between the two characters are easy to follow.
Rather than simply cast Rhino as a one-dimensional villain there are early signs here of Ahmed giving the character some much-needed depth, which is a welcome one and represents a clean break for the character. There are nods to Rhino’s status as a classic Spider-Man villain, with Rhino still being so out of touch that he thinks everyone uses a Sega console. Their back and forth banter is fun to watch too in true Spider-Man fashion, with Rhino at first being disappointed that the original Spider-Man was a no-show.
2018 will go down as a fantastic year not just for Marvel but also for Spider-Man and in particular, Miles Morales. Into the Spider-Verse and the PS4 video game have done wonders at re-establishing the character at the forefront of Marvel’s roster, Miles Morales – Spiderman exploits that popularity to great effect, introducing the character in style for a whole new set of readers in a way that’s a surefire bet at becoming one of Marvel’s best new series. The front cover bills this book as being your new favourite series, and it might very well be right.